December 10, 2007

Goodbye party

El Jefe's beef tenderloinEl Jefe's beef tenderloin
The only photo of the night because I was just too busy!

We had a great party on Sunday with the family. It was a going away party for El Jefe's brother. He gets to come home once a year from the slave ship, er, cruise ship where he has been working for more than 10 years, like many Hondurans who can't find work. This year he had almost 3 months at home. Every year since I've been here, they have called him back after 3 or 4 weeks and cut his vacation short. Since he works basically 7 days a week all year long, 3 or 4 weeks isn't as much as it sounds.

Gawd! What work it was. I made the mistake of not doing much food preparation ahead of time on Saturday and killed myself to get everything done on Sunday. I always forget how much more work it is to prepare food in such large quantities, e.g., four racks of pork ribs, a gallon each of potato salad and cole slaw, 50 deviled eggs. I sat down maybe twice over a 12-hour period.

Even with Nora helping, I had to rope in El Jefe, too. Luckily, he enjoys learning how to prepare things, especially his favorite things. I let him help with the deviled eggs, the Ranch dip, and the meat, all under constant supervision, of course, especially when it came to adding the hot sauce to the egg yolks for the deviled eggs.

Nora was my savior! I was a whirling dervish in the kitchen, dirtying what seemed like every bowl and pot in the kitchen two or three times, not to mention slopping stuff everywhere in my rush to complete. She must have washed dishes for 8 hours. She stopped for about 3 minutes to eat lunch and ate dinner while we were eating but other than that she worked like a dog all day. It's days like this where I appreciate how my patience with her has paid off. (Fingers crossed for the future!)

Thanks to Nora helping me to serve the food and drinks, I actually got to eat part of my dinner while it was still warm, and to spend a little time sitting talking with the family. We were talking about cooking and recipes and cooking techniques, believe it or not. Not having been exposed to cookbooks, recipe magazines, good restaurants, and cooking shows, it's all somewhat of a mystery to them. I agreed that if you have never seen something prepared or at least had seen step-by-step photos, it would be very difficult to figure out some things just from recipes. One brother asked if I had been trained by a chef. (Heheheh!) El Jefe told them that I had been trained by Martha Stewart. (Heheheh!)

I always try to sneak in some veggies to just try to give them the idea that vegetables can taste good.
It's not that I'm trying to force N. American ways on them − They are constantly saying that they need to eat better but don't know how. This time we had some raw sticks of carrots, zucchini, broccoli and celery with Ranch dip as an appetizer, and some broiled red, orange, and yellow chiles with the meal. They did good! Surprisingly, everyone, even the kids, ate their chile, but no one wanted anything to do with that raw celery even if it was the only way to get that Ranch dip to their mouths. (Heheh, I never put a spoon in the dip − on purpose, so that the only way to get it is to use a veggie-utensil for scooping. Sneaky, huh?)

The main course was 'barbecued' ribs and beef tenderloin. When I finally sat down, I noticed that no one had touched their ribs and a couple were struggling with them with a knife and fork. (Heheheh) I boldly picked
up my rib in my hands and started chowing down. Everyone soon followed suit, looking much relieved.

I invented a cake for the occasion. Pineapple custard filled genoise cake. Oh, man! They loved it. Even though some said they were too full for dessert, when the first person started going "MmMmmMmm," everyone had a piece and several had seconds. If you are really nice to me, I may give you the recipe sometime. ;-)

(Okay! Just one thing: What's the new deal with people playing extremely loud, scratchy, obnoxious music on their cell phones while everyone else is trying to have a conversation?!)

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