Monday, April 12, 2010

Birthday Boil and Bread Pudding

Saturday night we went to a real New Orleans style party. Karen’s fiftieth birthday
bash was held at a stately uptown mansion that is now used as a function hall. The food was all the stuff that made New Orleans famous for its food, oyster patties, mini-muffalettas, jambalaya, real Italian meatballs in red gravy, shrimp Bienville and gumbo over rice, to name a few of the items on the buffet tables. Karen and Mickey are fabulous dancers, and the band they had hired was up to the task of playing all manner of music for swinging and swaying.

When we arrived back at Elaine’s, her newly wed son Briton and his wife Jeanne were at her waterfront resort with plans to accompany us to Scott’s house for a birthday boil in my honor. We woke Sunday at a leisurely pace, sipping café au lait and reading the newspaper while luxuriating in the sight of the sun on the water.

The scene that greeted us at Scott’s house in Mississippi was a pool full of people playing with children of many ages. Melanie had her babies in the tanning ledge that they use as a baby pool. Mel’s husband, James, was tossing Miya’s new neighborhood friends into the air to the great gleeful sounds of laughter and splashes. Nick, Cole, and Clayton played tag around the pool’s perimeter.

When Miya’s friend Dakota came to me with word that Miya told her that I play board games, I told her we had much more important games to play in Miya’s kitchen. We headed inside where Miya and Dakota helped me measure eggs, sugar, vanilla, and milk into a Ziplock bag. After making sure that the zipper was very securely set, the girls tossed the bag back and forth to mix the ingredients. They then tore the bread into a bowl, at which point the whole mess was mixed together and poured into a pan. Thankfully, we didn’t have any disasters like the time that I was doing a similar kids-in-the-kitchen caper on television with another of my nieces, Alyssa.

I labeled the cooking demonstration “Mexican Hat Dance Bread Pudding” because I was going to have Alyssa assist me in breaking up the stale French bread by dancing on a bag of bread. All went well until the bag broke and bread was sent flying all over the studio set.

I knew that Julia Child had dropped much worse, like a whole raw turkey on the set of her show, so we simply picked up the bag with the remaining bread and proceeded to the kitchen. I told this tale to the girls as they played toss with the bulging bag. I figured that Dakota just as well find out up front that Miya’s Granny “ain’t right.”

We had all come together for the celebration of three birthdays. Fun in the sun and a backyard boil are the best ways we know how to celebrate on the Gulf Coast.

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