Saturday, March 16, 2013


Un-Superbowl parties may be few and far between, but ours was fun and we had a nice evening together, having our party-food dinner on trays, with a favorite old movie we hadn't seen in years---Quigley Down Under.
First menu item, by concensus, was a Muffaletta, that paragon of sandwiches, made on good heavy bread, stacked with all sorts of good Italian cold cuts like salamis, pale curls of thin pink ham, Tony Soprano's beloved "gabbagool," Provolone, roasted peppers, and slatherings of wonderful Olive Salad, and the two cut sides of the bread anointed with an Olive-Oil-Herb Vinaigrette.     The whole thing was weighted with two heavy books for a couple of hours, to get all the parts acquainted and into perfect harmony.
 The bread was a marvelous foccacia, studded with herbs and thin tomato slices and olives, and it could have stood as the ONLY dish at the table, all by itself.   It was Caro's idea, and she made it perfectly.   Our Deep-South, Land-Locked roots have surprisingly encompassed quite a few cuisines from other places---the good-sized Armenian and Syrian and Greek and Italian communities settled in our area a century ago and more have contributed to our taste for many exotic herbs and combinations, and even the smallest towns seem to have their own Chinese restaurant, whether store-front or actually IN a store.

When I was perhaps six, two of my Daddy's cousins---gorgeous, outgoing girls with bright, gum-snapping personalities, wonderful clothes and fabulous perfume---married two young men who were brothers from a big Italian family, so we all learned early of the charms of latougies and ravioli and muffalettas---those gems made with the quick gnarled fingers of the Grandmother, dipped dripping into the roasted-peppers dish and and sliced olives and marinated vegetables, with all the meats being handed into the kitchen straight from the slicer in the store a room away. 


The table---strictly infomal, as befits a non-event.   When the hot stuff's set on the table, there's no time to go get a fancy bowl for the sour cream.

Chris' straight-off-the-grill chicken wings, sweet and tangy and smoky with Baby Ray's Sauce.

Guacamole by Sis's recipe, with minced onion and tomato.   I'm absolutely addicted to those tee-ninecy baby English cucumbers, and also to the POP of a grape tomato.

Caro's Crave---hunks of sausages simmered in that cliche' old Southern stand-by sauce made of Ketchup, Plochman's, and melted Grape Jelly.

Potato skins, baked and scooped and scattered with cheese, bacon and green onions and re-baked to crisp and melt.   Sour Cream to come later.

My Plate.

A little plate of Fudge, Peanut Butter Fudge, chocolate-striped macaroons and Caro's wonderful homemade caramels in the wrap.   She made POUNDS of the things, and got requests for more.  We just passed the plate around the chairs from time to time, booing dear Snape and cheering for Quigley.
And so---the backward flight (plod) and a bit of catching up.   All I have right now to write about is  Family Gatherings, for those are the major occasions for us.
Next, back to January 1, for our New Year's Gathering with DS#5, our DDIL and their wee one---his first-ever visit to our house, and such fun.   
Don't give up on me---I'm still here, and still trudging along, late as usual.


mississippi artist said...

I love a good muffaleta! And of course you used Baby Ray's sauce-is there any other? I have an oil cloth/vinyl tablecloth like that-of course they are vinyl now instead of oil cloth-but I love one in my kitchen.

jeanne, backyard neighbor said...

I have not given up on you Rachel and let me say your non celebration food looks so delicious. We just don't like Italian food, we love it. I am drooling over the wonderful spread. Sour cream in a bowl??? It tastes better in the carton. HA! dish to wash.

We had lovely food for the shower and I forgot to take a single photo. I'm slipping. I did take pics of the tables. Once Jessie (my adorable great niece and bride to be) arrived the excitement left me and everyone there without much thought of photos. I'm so mad at myself. Such is life.

Thanks for sharing your family gathering of lovely food and celebrating the fun of un-Super Bowl.
Love, Jeanne

jeanne, backyard neighbor said...

Hi Rachel. I am so happy you are my friend as well. I stopped by to wish a HAPPY EASTER to you and your darling family. I know Sweetpea will have a grand time on Easter morning with her Easter bunny fun.
Blessings and love,

Kim Shook said...

Oh, my goodness, those gorgeous muffalettas! Did Caro actually make that bread or was it from her bakery? If she did make it, PLEASE ask her if she’ll send me the recipe! We have some olive salad left from our mutual friends and I’d love a wedge right now! All the food looks so delicious – I’d love to sit down to that spread and talk all afternoon!

Rachel, dear, we might be relatives! Seriously, all my family down there was Italian. Tirellis and Loprestos – Shelby/Little Rock/Rosedale.