Saturday, August 21, 2010

Top d'Evegnee

The Mission: To make 250 bite-sized servings of French Cuisine to be sampled by the youth from our Stake.

I was given the assignment by my friend, Shannon, who is in the Stake Young Women's Presidency. I was thrilled to accept the challenge, but not without my sous-chef, Eric, by my side. (This blog will self-destruct in two minutes. . . or at least the writer will at this rate.)

Eric and I had a little tête-a-tête and settled on whipping up a little vichyssoise and some crepes. I delusionally patted my own back for exercising restraint, but after all of the chopping, cooking, and flipping (out) that went on during the whole process, I can see now that I "over do it" even when the little voice in my head assures me in such a convincing, yet harried, way that I'm not overdoing it. Why didn't we just do one dish instead of two? Looking back, I realized that I honestly had a part of my brain that was hoping the judges would be extra impressed by my execution of two dishes instead of one.

Wait. There WERE no judges! This is reality, Sarah. Not a cooking show, honey! (Too much Top Chef. Too much Iron Chef. Too much Chopped. You caught me!)

Eric and I kept a running gag going about feeling like we were on a reality show, but the pathetic truth is that more than once I felt like I was going to get kicked off the show or lose points if I didn't season our dishes perfectly. . . and I was nervous.

I actually caught myself at one point thinking, "Now, when Shannon comes to our table, I have to make sure I get her a fresh, hot sample."

When I fretted about the seasoning of the soup, Eric tasted it and said, "Well, it's not bad, but I'm not sure what Tom Colicchio is going to think about it."

More than once, Eric and I frantically shouted, "Time!" as we scrambled to get our food completed before 7:00 and then we'd burst into a fit of giggles (that makes Eric sound much too feminine for his liking. . . sorry, man). We started chopping veggies at about 3:30 and barely screeched into the chapel at 6:55.

We gained more empathy for the contestants on those cooking shows, but how many of them have to try and take care of and feed SIX kids while trying to complete their dishes?

The recipes are on the Recipe Blog!

Our kitchen counter was piled high with grocery store bounty, making it look like we had just breezed in from a French Country Fair (We actually had gone to the Madison County Fair the day before, and what it was. . . was NOT breezy. [Unless, that is, your idea of breezy is a combination of toothless carnies, Rexburg Poofs, and chickens. . . lots of chickens]).

When Eric and I used to teach the French Culture Class at the MTC in Provo, he could whip up about fifty crepes in 30 minutes with no errors. (Can you see why I married the kid?) Yesterday he did not disappoint.

We were frantically ladling up soup and setting out samples for a good fifteen minutes before the wave of hormones, acne, and social awkwardness descended upon us. And that's before the youth even got to our table (HAH). Seriously, though, there is a reason you are blind to the reality of adolescence when you're smack dab in the middle of it. I don't care how many clichéd movies there are trying to convince you that you'll learn much-needed life lessons by somehow going backwards or forwards in time or switching places with one of your progeny through magic or voodoo or fortune cookie or hot-tub or DeLorean--you couldn't pay me to go back there.

The hair flipping, flirting, screeching herds milled about the gym in a controlled, orbit-like , caste-based motion that was quite beautiful actually.

And so hypnotic. . . .a whole universe of socially arbitrary, cruel satellites. . .

Both Eric and I watched them for a good three minutes of open-mouthed, horrified silence until we snapped ourselves out of our stunned stupor and looked at each other in mutual gratitude.

We started serving the crowd. Again and again the word "vichyssoise" caused them screw up their faces in that teen look of repugnance I adore so much.

I smiled and told them reassuringly, "It's potato and leek soup," as if that would make their slack jaws and misshapen mouths go back to normal.


I had somehow forgotten that an unknown word like "leek" would wreak havoc on the appetite of our adolescent audience. When I said the word, they looked at me like I had told them I had put a small, fanged, woodland creature in their soup.

Our mind-bogglingly extroverted friend, Derek, helped us serve our French fare, but kept calling the soup, "Viscious Swans" and saying "Craypes" to get on our nerves. He swaggered up to youth, girls or boys, and would say, "Are you ready to eat the most mind-blowing thing you've ever tasted?" After about twenty minutes, he said to Eric, "Okay, I started annoying myself ten minutes ago." That's why we love him, even though he comes from the opposite end of the social spectrum.

Luckily for us, Derek was on our team and the teens reluctantly tried the soup. One of them said to her friend, "Hey. This is just potato soup."

On Saturday, Eric flipped out dozens more crepes for our little frenchies at home for breakfast and we feasted on Vichyssoise, french breads and cheeses for lunch.

Eric insists that our kids say crepe with a french accent, which causes some obvious (but hilarious) linguistic ambiguity. Yes. I do like to exploit my children. But it was so funny I had to get it on tape.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Marie's TWO-TWO Birthday Ballet Bash

Marie turned two an embarrassingly long time ago, but I couldn't bear the thought of not throwing the party I had been planning since I had my ultrasound two-and-a-half years ago.

WARNING: You may want to slide on your sunglasses if you have an aversion to things that are hyper-pink (as in pastel-pepto--which you may need after you witness this overdone party).
Like the two and three year old ballerinas we invited, I like invitations to be interactive so that I can move them from side to side and play with them before I have to take my nap. Marie's invitation was designed for dancing (just like me. . . I love it when I'm so tired I just don't care anymore. No self-edit button? No problem!)

You know it's a rockin' party when a few belly buttons make an appearance! Woot! Woot!

This is a group of people I could hang out with all day and not get tired of. YUM! Is it bad if you kind of want to eat your party guests with lots of whipped cream and frosting? (Don't answer that. I'm not going all Jonathan Swift on you.)

The day after the party, when we were all feeling mighty hung-over from the sweetness of the day before, Peter woke me up too early for a summer morning and dragged me out of bed so I could slop some breakfast in a bowl for him. But he didn't want cereal for his post-party meal. He said to me, "Mom. I want some Barbie-que cake."
The sound of my own belly laugh woke me up. (Especially because I remembered Eric trying to find all sorts of inappropriate locations for the two candles on our cake. . . use your imagination. This is a family blog!)

When we cranked up the classical music and told the pint-sized ballerinas to dance, they all started spinning like little tutu-clad tops and wouldn't stop. They kept turning and turning until we noticed that they were starting to tilt ever so slightly. And then, like some sorority of dizziness, they began to topple over like girls who had had their first taste of tainted punch at the prom. Take a close close look at their little nausea filled faces. Ahh. I do SO know how to party.

As we were prepping Barbie to be eaten (please don't read this aloud to your kids!), Ethan looked at her sugary gown and said, "That cake went straight to her hips!"

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