Since the weather wasn’t cooperating, we moved the cooking of the seafood boil into her garage. One thing to note: be sure to have the garage door open as the burn off from the propane gas burner needs to be vented.
I started the boil about 2:30pm thinking it would be enough time to have everything done by 3:30. What I hadn’t realized was it takes a while for 20 quarts of water to come to a rolling boil. So one thing to adjust for my big party is to allow time to get the water boiling for my big 40 quart cooker.
About 3pm, the water started to come to a rolling boil. Another ten minutes later I started to add the first of many ingredients.
At this point her mom and dad arrived and that’s when I noticed a change in my special lady friend’s body language. I read in her a tension that wasn’t there the first time I met her parents. But then again, the setting was at a sporting event. It’s interesting to learn about families and the dynamics of the family unit. We all have skeletons in the family closets and it looked like one of the skeletons would reveal itself tonight.
Her father was carrying a roasting pan with the Easter ham. He paused a few moments to say hello and then went through the garage to take the ham inside the kitchen. Her mom was a quick step behind her husband but lingered with me in the garage. After dropping off the ham in the kitchen he returned to the garage to watch me with the boil.
It turns out no one in their family had ever experienced a seafood boil. So now the pressure is higher to ensure all tastes good. Or maybe the advantageous for me as it’s okay if it doesn’t quite taste right. How would they know, right?
The last ingredient was added about 30 minutes after they arrived. Then the most important part of the cooking process was the much needed soaking time.
It turned out my seafood boil was not as spicy as the atmosphere was in the house. Apparently after my final pull, about 30 minutes, I walked into the kitchen where some heated, or should I say passionate, conversations were exchanged between my special lady friend and her mom and dad. Her oldest son and her twins were also involved towards the end. I was interesting to say the least.
Now maybe they stopped because they noticed I had walked up to the table where they sat. Or maybe there were a silent signal to turn down the heated debates. Whatever it was, the heated talks died down as suddenly similarly to when I cut the propane off on my seafood boil. Just like the soaking process I’m sure the spice would show itself somewhere else.
I found a place at the table and began eating with them. I asked, “So what do you all think?”
Her dad was the first to respond. It’s great and reminds me when I was younger when we had Sunday family dinners.” That was unexpected and nice to hear. The rest of the family joined in and also said it was good.
As usual I was the last to finish eating. Not only because I joined last but it’s also because I took my time to relish the flavor and made mental notes of what to change for the next test run. Her father continued to graze which showed he truly loved it. They hardly touched the ham or my lady friend’s homemade macaroni and cheese.
When I finished eating, I did what I typically have done… I began washing dishes. My special lady friend was outside hiding Easter eggs for her kids, her mom were inside talking with her kids and her dad continued to graze on the remnants of the seafood boil – I guess he really liked it.
I continued cleaning up our mess when my special lady friend came in and announced the Easter egg hunt was ready. Their tradition was different than mine as each of her children had assigned colors, which again was odd to me. In my younger years, my siblings and I just hunted the eggs then shared our bounty with each other. There was no sharing in the tradition I was observing.
Jumping to the end of the family togetherness, it turned out the kids were spending a night at their grandparents. However before leaving, her younger son gave me a hug. Her mom also gave me a hug and told me, “Thank you for cooking for us. You’re a good cook!” She then looked over to her daughter and said, “He’s a keeper!”
We all laughed…
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