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Charlie Hatton
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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
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Barbecued Nightmares and the Potato Salad Shakes

No mas. For the love of Jumbo-Strength Roll-Aids, no mas!

I’m remembering now why we only throw parties every three years or so. Things haven’t been quite the same since our bash on Saturday afternoon. By ‘things’, I mean my food intake. And by ‘not quite the same’, I mean ‘insanely Kobayashiesque‘. He may have me beat on sheer speed, but I think I’m winning on endurance. I’d be willing to bet I’ve eaten more hot dogs since July 1st than he has. Only for him, it’s a sport; for me, it’s obligation.

You see, we did what any good summer cookout host and hostess should do — we made damned sure we didn’t run out of food during the party.

(Nor did we run out of beer, despite Chris‘ concerns.

Four beers a person is a bit low for a summer bash, I admit, but there were two very important mitigating factors: our guest list included a handful of kids and pregnant women, and you should never underestimate the presence of really good tequila on your friends’ beer consumption.)

“This is not what you’d call a ‘winning combination’. At any moment, I expect my wife to offer me a ‘wafer-thin mint‘, if only to end the suffering.”

Of course, the only way to make sure you have enough food to satisfy thirty people is to prepare enough food for forty people. So we did. And to be safe, you really shouldn’t assume that anyone arriving at the party will be bringing any additional supplies. So we didn’t. But they did. And when the charcoal dust had settled and the tequila sunrise lifted on Sunday morning, we found ourselves with a veritable mountain of unconsumed consumables. Plenty enough for us — and the fricking Osmond family, for that matter — to live on for weeks.

Except that potato salad and delicious grilled bratwurst don’t last for weeks. They’re perishable; even in the fridge, the clock is ticking on those goodies.

And a long time ago, I was taught never to waste food. I’m a card-carrying charter member of the ‘Clean Plate Club‘. I’m not sure who beat the concept into me — both of my parents deny any responsibility. Maybe I missed a lunch on a particularly sensitive day during my formative years. Probably, it’s just another facet of a pesky borderline OCD condition. At any rate, the facts are these — the party left nineteen pounds of uneaten yummies in our house, and my new motto has become ‘No Burger Left Behind‘.

To be fair, we’ve frozen what we could. Uncooked beef patties, chicken breasts, weenies and brats — all into the chill chest for the next not-so-rainy day. But that hardly made a dent. Three packages of safely frozen Johnsonvilles are small comfort with nine burgers, a Boston cream pie, and three different kinds of pasta salad staring you in the duodenum. Just the thought of another delicious bowtie morsel sends me into the fetal position. Or as close as one can get, with fourteen hot dogs and a bag of Oreo cookies in your stomach. The horror.

But I’ve soldiered on. It’s four days later, and I’ve done some solid gustatory work around the joint. I’ve eaten leftovers at every meal I could manage since Saturday, and the pile of food is noticeably smaller. But there’s only so much one man can eat, and I’m starting to feel the strain, both physically and mentally. Deviled eggs haunt my dreams. I swear the hot dog buns giggle at me when I walk through the kitchen. I’m a mess, and there’s still food on the table.

This is not what you’d call a ‘winning combination’. At any moment, I expect my wife to offer me a ‘wafer-thin mint‘, if only to end the suffering.

The worst part is, it’s all for naught. It’s simply not possible to finish all this food before it goes south. A potato chip here, a stuffed olive there — it’ll help matters, but the problem’s not going away. And with most of our friends in the same post-Independence Day boat, no one’s coming to our culinary rescue. At some point, I’ll have to admit defeat and toss the last batch of grilled veggies and hamburger rolls in the trash. Tasty goodies, we hardly knew ye.

Unless, of course, I can hire a pro to come by and help. If you have termites, you call an exterminator, right? If you need to get rid of dandelions, you call a lawn service. So what if you’re stuck with six packs of wieners and a fridge full of three bean salad?

Anybody got the number for that Kobayashi kid? He’s got to be hungry again by now, right?

Permalink  |  2 Comments

2 Responses to “Barbecued Nightmares and the Potato Salad Shakes”

  1. kerry says:

    lol! poor charlie. it’ll be ok, really. maybe you should talk to someone at a food bank. just a thought.

  2. Moonripples says:

    What a delemma! How you ever concidered donating food to your local homeless shelter or any family with limited income and kids? I know, there are many families who don’t have enough food. Or contact a local church. They always know of families who could use food.

    Take care

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