My bucket list is small. Few things get me more excited than the idea of cooking for a large crowd (long-term dream of turning my pole barn into a teaching/cooking/dining barn). Since my husband Matt & I married in 2013 [closer and closer to a decade ago- unreal and amazing simultaneously] we've both had
"roast a whole pig for a party" 📝
on our individual and collective lists. Deciding to raise a family on one full-time salary has it's limitations, and spending cash on an entire hog is about the cap. However, thanks to those of you that allow me to support you nutritionally, we've saved for this particular occasion. With the rise and decline of Covid-induced quarantine, this seemingly never-ending vacuum has taken the oxygen out of the idea of gathering. BUT. The end of May brings warmer weather and the ability to be outside with those we love.
There is no better reason to celebrate.
I spent all last week prepping. Monday I made my list and my beautiful mother (Mimi) helped me lug 6 watermelons home among perhaps twelve other bags of miscellaneous things. Time spent alone with her at the store in and of itself was worth it.
About a week prior I made a fermented habanero citrus hot sauce. This stuff is no joke. About three days after that I made a smoked fermented sauce that tasted like BBQ sauce and ketchup fell in love & got married, producing the most delicious babies.
Tuesday I made a South Carolina Mustard Hot sauce that I am unashamed to say I ate with a spoon.
Thursday I made roasted vegetable baked beans- from scratch.
Friday I made coleslaw with a mustard seed vinegar-based dressing.
Anybody else beginning to feel a Eric Carle book in the making?
Friday night rolls around and I can't sleep. Christmas Eve for someone like me.
I'm up at 4:30 Saturday morning, adrenaline ready.
My dad picks the kids & I up at 9:30 AM to drive to Richmond (about 35 minutes away) to pick up a trailer upon which a 50 lb pig has been stuffed with tropical fruit and put on a spit. A spit with a motor. This pregnant Momma was ALLLLL about the automatic spit.
There are two things I want you to catch from this entry (if nothing else), and this is the first: Any day I get to spend with my dad is priceless. That entire day was as much fun as it was because I spent 80% of it with him.
- Coffee on the way to the shop in Richmond. ✅
- Repeating everything Aiden said (which was not a small amount) because he wasn't wearing his hearing aids. ✅
- Meat sticks and jerky from the shop the kids got the try for the first time. ✅
- Explaining how a pig gets on a spit and that Aiden (in her words) is a vegetarian and won't be partaking. ✅
The list goes on. The time investing in one another is worthwhile, regardless of the turnout.
Point one of two. Moving on:
On the way home, it begins to pour. Not just rain- pour. We had no contingency plan. It's the end of May, Spring should have sprung and it should be 70 ish and beautiful.
We pull into the roundabout by my garage and not only did my husband cut, weed whip, organize & everything else possible to make our yard incredible, but he cleaned out our garage so we could have an alternative location. If you have ever sen my garage you are well aware of the amount of work it took. 🥰
So. My husband working in the rain. My dad (Bapa) setting up the roaster and starting it.
The middle of the day was a blur. Little things getting done, a tent going up, finishing touches on everything. People begin to arrive. We'd set up a tent for people to put their lawn chairs under, but people decided the stairs on our back deck were better, and the sight was something imbedded in my memory forever. This was the intention of building that deck, and its purpose was being realized for the first time since the pandemic.
The pig was good. The BBQ sauce was better. The watermelon even more delicious than that. But guys, the company was great. Looking across the lawn my husband worked so hard to groom and seeing the people we love relaxing, eating and laughing was worth every penny and every moment spent prepping. That's really all my heart longs for- the presence of those I love in a communal space with a similar desire.
Here's the second thing I want you to catch:
If there's one thing of which I'm convinced, it's that life is a series of stamps imprinted upon us by those we allow to surround and influence us, for better or worse. I have to say, I have been imprinted by some of the best stamps around.
Did I mention my daughter dropped trow in the middle of the party and decided to pee? Butt toward the crowd, curly hair and all. It was her own yard after all!
Cheers to 30- you've been great to me thus far, and we've only just begun. 🎉