leave your inhibitions at the door
This Thursday, September 22nd marks the official last day of summer, but we all know it really ended a few weeks ago on Labor Day. I’ll always be happy to take a day off of work but, beyond that, Labor Day is really a downer of a holiday. For the pieholes, it means the start of another school year. For all four or five of us fashion-conscious people in Ann Arbor, it means we can’t wear our white linen capris anymore. OK, I probably shouldn’t say “we” in that example…. Because I rock those fuckers ALL YEAR ROUND.
Most depressing of all, Labor Day marks the last day of the pool.
It was even more depressing this year because Labor Day itself was 60 degrees or so and that’s parka weather for yours truly. The last few nights at the pool kinda sucked too because, when we weren’t being eaten alive by mosquitoes, we were walking through a dense fog of gnats. Not to mention I lost my chiseled physique when I couldn’t work out with the bum knee. And all of August was sort of dead because a lot of people were either away on vacation or just got tired of the pool. Ok, maybe the pool’s overrated. But I’ll still take it over sitting inside in January because it’s 2 degrees outside.
What I will miss is cooking and dining at the pool and enjoying the company of friends, all while leaving our kitchen unscathed. I’ve developed a bit of a reputation at the pool with some elaborate meals, and I think I’ll miss those compliments as much as anything. A lot of families settle for ordering pizza or grabbing sandwiches from Subway – a place who’s healthy choices make it only slightly more appealing than Arby’s. But many families do actually take the time to grill up some good burgers, chicken, etc. Me? Well, here’s some of the stuff I’ve made or brought there:
– Steak salad using homegrown mixed greens and grilled fennel
– Whole roasted snapper
– Bison porterhouse with blackberry gastrique
– Foie gras and steak/bacon sausages from Sparrow Market
– Caprese salad
– Aged T-bones with sautéed mushrooms and smoked bleu cheese, and fingerling potatoes with roasted leeks
In retrospect, outside of the gastrique, everything was pretty much heat and serve. Maybe it’s a little more complex than tossing a Hot Pocket in the microwave, but in terms of technique, not much. So instead of real talent, maybe it was really just a willingness on my part spend some extra money on cool ingredients. Maybe I need to expand a bit and make more ethnic food. Maybe I need to come up with ideas that show some true culinary mastery. Or maybe that’s all there is to it – anyone can be the envy of the pool, all it takes is willingness to go for it.
Lots of maybes. One thing’s for sure – I’m going to have eight or nine months of piss-ass weather to think about it…