(10 minutes later)
Yep, it was Becca. A quick look through my emails confirm that she not only suggested the theme, but also sent links to three of the six recipes we would include on the menu. Though it appears that most of our work was done for us, I recall it still took Rachel and me weeks to create the menu, even with Jason’s relentless nagging. I’ll chalk it up to nervousness about topping the first feast.
Handicap two: That Rachel and I didn’t share the same bed, much less the same zip code, meant that the second feast would once again take place at Casa Nath/Campbell. Thus far this feast wasn’t very “Moveable,” was it? So, Becca and Jason, a belated thank you to you both for letting us borrow your pots, pans, plates, silverware, home, computer for the playlist, bathroom, water and utilities, cleaning supplies, probably some good bottles of wine, and your ideas.
Handicap three: I always think I'm the boss in the kitchen, and clearly, that's not so. As we set out to Creole fry our chicken, I distinctly remember being relegated to dish washing as Rachel stood over the fryer. But maybe that’s a good thing, as my frying experience was limited to only ingesting fried food. But with Jason’s experienced hand and our “Cajun Injector” fry oil, the chicken turned out delectable.
Other notable dishes included Jason and Becca’s near-professional quality crab cakes (another oversight: Rachel and I hadn’t realized how expensive crab for 12 people would be. Again, sorry guys.), Cara and Rick’s crispy calamari, and Adam and Jen’s perfect gumbo. Rounded off with Elise and Philip’s rice and beans (which no southern meal is complete without), the meal was a fatty, carby, oily success. I knew we had something special when Jenny pronounced, “There isn’t a vegetable anywhere on my plate—and I love it.”
But the best was yet to come. I’ve never been to the South, and I’ve come to conclude that it’s simply another world full of secrets I know nothing about, but desperately want to learn. One such secret is King Cake. A Mardi Gras tradition, King Cake is decorated with the customary purple, green and yellow icing, and—get this—always includes a hidden ceramic baby. No joke, look at the recipe. It calls for “1 ceramic baby.” I recall receiving this “ingredient” with confusion and annoyance, then shrugging it off because once I sent the menu out, the baby was Jenny and Ethan’s problem, not mine. Miraculously, they FOUND A CERAMIC BABY (somewhere in Silverlake, naturally), and the cake was authentic and complete. We decided whoever was fortunate enough to receive the piece with the baby would either choke, or be the next host. Luckily it was the latter, and Rick received the lucky piece.
On to Chez Franson/Underwood!