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Posts Tagged ‘party’

First Holy Poutine Ladies Night Communion

Posted by crowbiz on May 11, 2010

Who says I don’t get out (other than me)?  Last Saturday was a veritable barnbuster, crammed with both a First Holy Communion party – whoa!  AND – AND – AND – another poutine party, this time a ladies-only affair.

Part 1:  Body of Christ.  We attended the First Communion party for the son of some old friends, though there’s not a lot to say here, other than I had a good time seeing folks, noshing, and watching others drink what seemed to be about 87 pitchers of beer (blood of Christ, etc…).  We ended up staying far longer than anticipated, as things got funnier and blurrier by the hour, so I actually had to dash between events – and fit in a little supply shopping – before the Ladies’ Poutine Party.  Our lovely hostess, eager to unload massive amounts of First Communion sheet cake (which prompted my ultra fabulous quip, “Holy sheet cake!”), sent departing guests home with platefuls of wrapped slabs.  Whether by subversive design or divine intervention, we ended up with the following piece:

The Chosen One

Sure, others may have walked out with “Bless” or a chunk of frosting crucifix, but can you blame me for feeling smug?  Naturally, no one in this house dares eat it for fear of being stricken with paralyzing guilt and a sudden urge to tithe.

(Special hello to my most supportive blog fan, Miss Rose, who was in attendance.  I promise that when I find the photos, I will blog about the hole-in-the-Speedo.  Not to be missed!  Actually, it would have been really hard to miss.)

Kitchen Action

Part 2:  Ladies Poutine Club. Given my mission to promote poutine to the masses, I was especially pleased to be included in a let’s-try-this-at-home gig.  It only took several months of planning, since finding an open weekend evening among us in-demand jet setters is a task worthy of an MIT graduate student.   Theme names were adopted, among them, Fryda Kahlo, Grace Slick, Olive Oil, and the like.  In honor of my grandmother, Viola, I guess I’ll just be Fryola.  Our mascot was Daisy the Westie who’s job was to ensure that the souls of any dropped fries did not come back to haunt us, or cause a slippery accident with five drinking women scurrying around the kitchen.  Perhaps unwisely, I wore what I thought was “relevant” clothing, namely, my red CANADA polar fleece zippered jacket and my synthetic fur scarf, or as I call it, my “neck weasel,” which the Poutine Pup eyed all night.

Fryda Kahlo's classy joint - a significant upgrade from a picnic table

Fry, baby, fry

Grace Slick brought her brand new deep fryer – see similar occurrence here – and after a confused start, a phonecall to a family frying expert, and an internet search, we fired it up.  O! for a fryer to lose its virginity to a batch of potatoes destined for poutine!  There is surely a tier in the Appliance Afterlife where such service will be amply rewarded!

Daisy ...waiting for a moment of carelessness

Yet another version

My first serving

Without purists to interfere (other than me, but I shelved all judgment), we were free to mix and match our poutine toppings with abandon.  Though standard cheese curd served well, we were all pleasantly surprised by a sprinkling of gorgonzola – brought by ME, so see, I wasn’t being a cranky purist.  Both homemade and jar gravy were used, as was a bewildering array of ethnic condiments.  Stealing the show were Indian coriander chutney and Belinda’s Smokey Chipotle Ketchup (hot, but I’m a weenie).  My beverage of choice was a framboise lambic, with a touch of wine in between trips to the kitchen.  French music played – no, not Canadian, because no one in the universe wants to hear Anne Murray, especially when eating, and Leonard Cohen would have been too depressing.  Since we ate from plates like civilized ladies, we did lose the roadside quality of the poutine experience, but at least there was no danger of bees.  Also, with poutine flat on a plate, the lower fries do not get soggy, which is either good or bad, depending on your perspective.  I was willing to trade the usually desirable sog for the good company and china.  Really, it all goes back to “there is no such thing as a bad fry,” except perhaps the one for which you are battling a dog on the kitchen floor….

Which leads me to my feigned poutine overdose pose, sprawled on the floor as if in need of medical assistance.  We tried the shot over and over, hoping to get just the right look of bloated excess, unconsciousness, and desperation; I lay face down with a few stray fries strewn just out of reach of my slack-jawed face, a few more fries clutched in my crabbed hand.  Daisy, however, could not suspend her duties as floor monitor, and thus kept diving in, as terriers do, for the quarry.  Rats, fries, whatev.  After clunking heads and coming lip-to-lip many times, I realized it wasn’t working as planned, and it  was also unfair to tempt the poor dear with floor fries next to an apparently dead body.

For me, there will always be a next time.

Poutine Coma, Take 1

Poutine Coma, Take 2

Poutine Coma, Take 3


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Poutine Party!

Posted by crowbiz on December 18, 2009

Wow, talk about an unexpected intersection of culinary slumming and winter sports!  After one of his late night “senior” hockey games, Mr Crow and cohorts went for their usual drinks and tavern chow and chat.  It was here that Mr met the friend of a friend – a transplanted Canadian – who joined the game that night and (O, Fate!) they got talking about poutine.  Anyone unfamiliar with this topic and my feeling for it needs to do some homework by reading THIS first.

Welllllll, as they say, one thing led to another, and after more back-slapping, beer-swilling and explanation of “poutine” to middleman Rob, it was decided that a homemade poutine party was in order, and that Marc, as the home-country expert, would cook.  Naturally, Mr Crow did the right thing by waking me at 2:00am to tell me about this wildly fortunate turn of events – and he didn’t even have to repeat it 6 hours later when I got up.

Calls were made.  Supplies were garnered.  And to help the gig, Marc got an early Christmas present from his wife, Amy:  a double basket Presto ProFry Deep Fryer.  Look, creating and raising beautiful children together is one thing, but the gift of a deep fryer is a level of love and understanding that few couples could ever hope to achieve.  Can’t you just smell it now?

Double trouble


(Incidentally, the frying was done outside on the patio, because despite one’s abiding love of fries, it’s not something you want to smell wafting up from your couch three weeks later when you plop down to watch the idiot box.)

Of course, real cheese curd was used, not shredded cheese.  Here’s Mr Crow getting handy with the curd chopping.  It’s not often that you can appreciate when your mate cuts the cheese, but there you go…..  And Rob, whose culinary expertise is best realized with cold cereal and milk, does a bang-up job stirring the packaged beef gravy.  Yes, packaged.  This experience was meant to replicate the fry truck experience, and therefore, ingredients and prep followed the humble route.  You don’t see roadside fry slingers rendering and reducing stock, fer chrissake.

How many men look this good when cutting the cheese?


Whisk, Rob, whisk like the wind!


Before the party assembled, Marc hand-cut a huge batch of fries using Russet potatoes.  I cannot offer critique here, and thus defer all tuber matters to Marc, who hails from a small Ontario town and is steeped in poutine heritage.  The man speaks French, folks; it’s not for me to question.  

There's nothing like a poutine grin


They turned out fabulously.  Initially, Marc was concerned that they were coming out too crispy, normally a desirable quality in fries.  But the best poutine manifests as flabby but intact  once the gravy works its magic – and so it was with our group effort batch.  Without reservation, I can say this rivals the best I’ve ever shoveled into my poutine-hole; in fact, I should say it surpasses it, since it was made by people I know and trust to touch my food, whereas normally, poutine from fry wagons are delivered through a tiny window that offers no view to the food prep area, probably for good reason. 

Here are a few close-ups, which – unless you’re the kind of person who claims to like sorghum and ToFurky – should get your heart beating fast.  Or stop it entirely.  Though I can be sated entirely with poutine, I inexplicably also consumed a chili dog and a heaping bowl of chocolate bread pudding.  We swung by Gates Circle Hospital on the way home for some drive-through angioplasty and never felt better.

And I defy any  wanna-be food writer to use “flabby but intact” as a superlative.

Hot gravy melts cheese curd and softens fries - perfect!


Ideal consistency: yielding and still hot

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A Wide Margin of Error

Posted by crowbiz on May 6, 2009

Fat CellsAt a recent family gathering I had some reason for recounting to my niece this Halloween story from many years ago ~~ insert blurry flashback ~~~

Mr Crow and I made a last minute decision to attend his brother’s Halloween party a few blocks away.  We were told it was indeed a “dress up” party, and without having planned anything, we took action that still haunts.

Now, hold my hand here and pity my middle-age.  Remember the old Wide-Ends skit from Saturday Night Live?  Astoundingly, there is nothing to which I can link – no You Tube clip, no still photos, nothing (that is, nothing worth spending more than 8 minutes digging for).  Just imagine a family with bodies scaled normally from the waist up.  From the waist down, they flair out to hilariously inhuman proportions, a gag that despite its seeming cruelty, was saved by its sheer ridiculousness and physiological improbability (though never say never, I contend).  If anyone can unearth a clip, do contact me.  The yuks predictably revolved around the Wide Ends getting stuck places, blocking access to things, and assorted one-offs, such as the ability to project a film on an expansive behind.

Fifteen minutes before a party, this could be construed as a good, no-cost idea for a costume.  In order to accommodate the enormous amounts of padding we’d need, we wore loose clothing, something we wouldn’t be caught dead in at a party, e.g., ’80s sweatpants.  Mine were… pink.  Away we stuffed with every pillow and cushion we could get our hands on, which surprisingly, was a lot.  Bed pillows, throw pillows of every size, the bolsters off our couch…it all went in till we were packed like we had a sumo wrestler in each pant leg.

Somehow, we drove to the party;  since it was close, we endured the ride with our heads touching the car ceiling and we crouched to look through the windshield.  These were the days when we’d also drink pitchers of margaritas and ride two to a bicycle, so the driving arrangement seemed reasonable.  Outside the party house, we did a last minute check.  We poufed each other’s titanic asses and thighs to suitable fullness, shored up the sweatpants, and climbed to the third floor with difficulty, hoist-swaying up each step for momentum.

At that time, our host – my brother-in-law – was in art school, and as federal guidelines require, also in a few arcane and highly ironic bands.  His friends, though always an eclectic bunch, happened that night to be entirely of the painfully art schoolish and arcane band variety.  In we walked, sideways, through the door and let loose with hearty laughs of self-mockery, hoping others would appreciate what magic could be wrought with fifteen minutes and several cubic meters of pillows.  But we didn’t walk into a Halloween party, exactly; it was an art-school-hipster-painfully-arcane-band party that just happened to be on October 31st. For historical reference, remember this was the late ’80s/early ’90s era, when art schoolishness was influenced more by Post Industrial Berlin Angst rather than the later-developing Socially Conscious Grungeism.  It was a sea of black clothing and asymmetrical haircuts, anorexia, black eyeliner and a miasma of European cigarette smoke.  This could be revisionist memory, but I believe the music stopped dead the moment we entered.  All black-lined eyes turned toward us in disbelief.  Several dark red lips dropped open on faces of art school pallor.  Did I mention I was wearing pink sweatpants and had an ass the size of Missouri?

To his credit, my brother-in-law nonchalantly steered us through the crowd, introduced us to a few people and politely fled.  Eventually, the music began again (Bauhaus, surely), but the mortified looks of contempt never faded.  I heard a wraithlike artiste whisper harshly “…his brother.. the sister-in-law…”  Only one other person at the party was in any way costumed; a carefree soul had wrapped his ear in a fake bloody bandage and dyed his goatee orange to channel Vincent Van Gogh.

Unlike some other times gone wrong, this adventure did not have a twist that turned us into surprise hits, nor did it lead to new friendships.  In fact, I had no conversations at all.  Eventually, our largeness became a burden, so we unloaded the stuffing to aid our movement.  Rather than giving us a sense of normalcy and freedom, it had the reverse effect of intensifying my self-consciousness, because now, instead of being a pathetically misguided Halloween character, I was just a hanger-on wearing pink sweatpants at UberHip Central.  A turd in the guacamole.  While Mr Crow managed to blend in (his sweatpants were dark blue) and chat it up with a few people he knew, I retired to the kitchen.  There I remained for the excruciating duration of the drearier-than-thou affair, feigning interest in a soundless version of “Atomic Cafe” playing on a tiny black and white television propped on a kitchen chair.Bauhaus

One could hypothesize that this was the cosmic penalty for making fun of disabling obesity, and that we’d endured a lesson.  As far as I’m concerned, one would be wrong.  Honestly, I’d revisit those pillow-packed sweatpants in a heartbeat if I thought I could get the right audience.

My niece, herself a 24-year-old art school student and current hipster, enjoyed the story and showed genuine empathy for our sour experience.  It’s comforting to find many modern day arty types and hipsters showing a kindness and global tolerance unfathomable in the old days; such characteristics in fact, have become nearly de facto.  Were we to appear at such an event nowadays, we would suffer the contempt of political incorrectness, not uncoolness.

Her final analysis was thus:  “You should submit that to ‘This American Life.'”

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