July 18, 2011
On the last night at camp, Urban Sophisticate Sister decided she was going to make a gourmet meal. She is, after all, a world famous curry blogger and winner of a never-televised Islands Chef contest. She had curry in her suitcase: she packs curry the way someone else would pack bandages or aspirin. A bunch of family members had gone home to their jobs, and we’d only have 11 people at the picnic table for dinner. That’s a small group in my family.
Urban Sophisticate drove confidently to the little north country grocery store, where she picked up several packages of chicken. “I need some tofu for the vegetarians,” she said, looking around.
The teenagers in red shirts were busy bagging groceries for the usual tourist-heavy July crowd, but a tanned older woman with a grocery cart noticed her scanning the aisles and said nicely, “Can I help you find something?”
“Yeah,” Urban Sophisticate said. “I’m looking for tofu.”
The woman burst into laughter and threw up her hands.
“Honey, I live in Sedona during the winter,” she said. “The store there carries three types of tofu. But here? In the north country?” She shook her head, amused.
So the great curry chef adjusted her recipe and bought cauliflower instead of tofu.
Back at camp, Dandelion Niece offered her services as a sous chef and began chopping vegetables. Blond Brother-in-law, our usual grill master, had gone home but Tie-Dye Brother-in-law stepped into the breach and cranked up the grill. Urban Sophisticate spent all kinds of time making some kind of fancy curried glaze which she brushed onto the chicken and the veggies, and she’d brought sweet corn for a side dish. My mother raced back and forth to provided utensils.
By the time the meal was ready, it was getting dark. Fancy cooking takes time. Thankfully, a light wind kept the mosquitoes away. My mother disappeared into her cabin and returned with a handful of stubby white candles. She lit the first candle, dripped melted wax on the picnic table, and then affixed the candle to the table by pushing it down on the melted wax. Red-haired Sister produced a vase filled with wildflowers, which she plunked down on the peeling paint of the picnic table.
“This is wonderful,” my father said as he took his spot at the candlelit table and began eating. “Where did the candles come from?”
“They’re our emergency candles,” my mother said. “I figured that this was an emergency.”
Posted by jo(e)