Jane Green
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Culinary Charms

August 1st, 2016

Jane Green RegattaHours spent planning regatta food: 5

Hours spent prepping regatta food: 19

Hours spent cooking at regatta: 17

Hours spent recovering: 70

Hours spent writing: 0

The last of the regattas has just happened, and once again, I took on the food. Every time I do this, about halfway through I wonder what on earth I was thinking, and then I remember that I would much rather be busy and doing something than sit around for two days doing nothing.

I planned a fantastic menu this time, if I do say so myself. Over the course of two days we cooked, and served: thai curried shrimp in pita with raita and mango chutney; mustard rosemary chicken; prosciutto, goat cheese, fig jam and balsamic onion quesadillas; curried chickpea and potato wraps; pulled pork with home made barbeque sauce, and my piéce de resistance: maple-glazed baby back ribs.

I am famous for my ribs. Every Christmas Eve we have a party, and every year I bring out these ribs, and they disappear in minutes. Longtime vegetarians have been known to fall off the wagon for these ribs. I dry rub them with onion, garlic and paprika, cook them for three hours, then glaze with maple syrup and put them in for another hour until the meat is salty, sweet, and falling off the bone.

There is a family who are always at the regatta, who hate my cooking. I know this because whatever I make, however delicious it is, the only thing they will ever eat, is a burger. And these are not gourmet burgers, well-seasoned. These are frozen burgers, in a bag that I’m quite sure have no taste whatsoever.

The son was waiting in line as I stood behind the grill, heating ribs, cooking quesadillas, turning chicken. He walked up, plate in hand, and said: “do you have burgers?”

I was frazzled and busy, and to my great shame I didn’t say, why yes! We do, just give me a few minutes to get around to them. I said: not right now. So sorry. And he dropped his plate as his shoulders slumped and he shuffled off in what looked like deep despair.

I did put the burgers on the grill after that. And then, about half an hour later, I saw the mother leaving a grill and on her plate was, shocker, not a burger, but some of my ribs! I became very excited. Everyone who tastes these ribs adores them. I knew I could win her over to the dark side.

I waited. When she had finished I sauntered over, as if I were just casually passing. “How were the ribs?” I asked, as if I didn’t have a vested interest.

She looked at me and shrugged, with a “Meh. I only like them smoked.” Reader, I could have wept. But instead I chose to laugh. You win some, you lose some, and this is clearly a family I am never going to win over.

(This article was first published in The Lady Magazine.)


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