Thursday, February 11, 2016

BryonySeries Throwback Thursday: Green Spaghetti, Bacon Dust, and Pie on the Floor

Monday, May 7, 2012

Green Spaghetti, Bacon Dust, and Pie on the Floor

Yesterday, we feted my oldest daughter, Sarah Stegall, Bryony's online administrator, at fellowship hour at St. Nicholas Orthodox Church in Homewood.

For many years and during more prosperous times, we as a family, would cook a buffet lunch on the average of once a month and always near one of the children's birthdays (I have six children and three stepchildren, so you can easily see how quickly this works out to a monthly deal).

Once, an enaged couple asked us to prepare a wedding brunch for their out-of-town guests; this would serve as our wedding present to the couple. We did, after spending all night running papers, changing clothes, and attending a funeral, then racing home in the pouring rain to again change clothes, and begin advance food preparations, then (again) changing clothes to drive an hour away for the wedding, skippping the reception in favor of sleep since we had newspapers to run that night, coming home, changing back into good clothes, and packing up the food for the breakfast.


Somewhere, in those preparations, an entire chocolate pie had landed on the floor, but we had brought so much food, no one, but us, noticed the lack thereof. You know the food is good (or your pastor is starving), when he picks up entire wedges of your cheese ball and eats it by hand.

So, with Sarah celebrating her May 4th birthday with us this year, my oldest son Christopher Baran of Channahon Computer Repair ( sold a laptop and proferred the cash for the festivities. Rebekah Baran, Bryony's online assistant, contacted Sarah for her menu requests, which were thus:

   *  imitation crab dip and Ritz crackers
   * broccoli salad
   * a fresh fruit tray
   * garlic bread
   * green spaghetti

I protested this last item, a family favorite since my children's toddlerhood. It's spinach pureed with cream, parmesan cheese, and broth, then served over whole wheat pasta. It's not the typical post-Sunday services potlock item.

"No one at church will eat it," I insisted.

Sarah didn't care. She'd happily claim any leftovers.

"The blender's broken, and I don't have money for a new one," I added.

Well, Sarah shipped her old one for a one-time use (part of the lid was missing, and the pitcher leaked). Besides, Christopher had been pestering me to make green spaghetti, so on the list it went. I added the following:

   *  juice (two kinds, kid-friendly)
   * our famous sausage, potatoes and kraut

Sarah's dessert requests were these:

   *  cheesecake bars
   * lemon bars
   * caramel brownies (We reserved these for another time since Rebekah had just made Sarah a brownie pie. The leftovers became "brownie bites," which we served on the buffet with the remaining frosting, recycled as "chocolate gravy").

Saturday, of course, turned upside down on us, so we never began food prep for Sarah's big day until seven o'clock that night. Luckily, we no longer run papers. Rebekah, our pastry chef in training, and her best friend, were "manning" the desserts. My youngest son, Daniel Baran, sixteen, and I would do the rest.

Daniel cooked all the meats, guarded the sauteeing onions, and kept up with the mounting stacks of dishes. Now Daniel cooks some pretty decent bacon, but never to the point where it could be crumbled, and we needed that for the broccoli salad. So how could he know one couldn't dump it in the frying pan and leave the kitchen to swap movies for my four year old grandson?

"We can't use this," I said, surveying the black mess on the paper towel.

"Why not?" Daniel said, crumbling it to prove his point.

"Because it will make the entire salad taste scorched."

We alternated a few "will nots" and "wills," before Rebekah offered to run to the general store near the house for more bacon. She soon returned with half of the amount, all the store sold, and had paid a small fortune to secure it.

After carefully instructing Daniel on proper bacon cooking technqiues, I moved to another room to assemble the garlic bread. A burnt smell soon reached my nose, and I ran to the kitchen. Daniel was nowhere to be seen.


He flew up the stairs. My grandson had needed another movie. Daniel looked at the black mess in the frying pan and said, "I failed."

I tried to sound encouraging by saying, "We can fix it," and began separating the black pieces from the usable ones. "It's mainly for flavor, so let's crumble it really fine. Instead of bacon bits, we'll have bacon dust."

Daniel found the term "bacon dust" somewhat amusing, so that was that. Again, the next day, no one noticed, and no one cared. As for the burnt bacon? It gradually "disappeared" while we finished the cooking. Why waste perfectly good bacon?

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