Wednesday, June 1, 2011

and the winner is...

It’s no secret to my family and friends  that I am not a big fan of housekeeping or cooking. I keep up with them out of necessity…perhaps out of desperation when company is coming. So, I cleaned up a bit last week…meaning I cleared my laptop, notebooks, dictionary and thesaurus off the kitchen counter in preparation for a Memorial Day Cookout compliments of my son, Dominic…the sous chef of the family.
I prepped the kitchen for him, accompanied him to the grocery store, and then faded into the shadows while he worked his magic. I picture myself as the off-camera crew on The Food Channel…clearing the counters, washing the utensils, mopping the floor, and otherwise catering to the cook.
Over the course of about seven hours, one by one, he presented the following dishes:
            --grilled pizza with fresh tomatoes, basil, spinach and cheese
            --knock-your-socks off ceviche with shrimp and scallops, jalapeno peppers, basil and cilantro
            --marinated steak sliders with caramelized onions
            --grilled herbed veggies and corn-on-the-cob
            --barbecued chicken with a sauce that flowed straight down from heaven
            --poached fresh pears, meaning poached in red wine, sugar, cinnamon and cloves

Picture “Iron Chef”, “Chopped”, and “Top Chef” all rolled up in one. And the winner is (drum roll, please): Dominic!

Actually, we were all winners that day, having enjoyed a full afternoon of great food, great friends, and perfect weather.

For many of us, Memorial Day was a day of rest and recreation. For many, though, it was a cruel reminder of the loss of a loved one, of crippling injury, of unremitting PTSD…the enduring wounds of military service. My father was a WW II vet but he never once spoke of it. He couldn’t. There were no words for what he suffered. Whatever happened to him in Europe, he bore silently and gracefully to his grave.

On Memorial Day, I said a prayer for all the soldiers and for their families and friends who, throughout our history and around the world, have sacrificed so much to defend and protect the country they honor and the people they love. The rest of us will never know the height and depth and breadth of the heartache they endure. But we can let them know that we wonder about it…and care about it…and thank them for it. We can let them know that we thank them for the freedom that enables us to enjoy Memorial Day and every other day of the year.

Thanks, Dad.
Thanks, Dom.
Thank you, one and all.



  1. I'm glad you remembered the reason for the day, yet envy you tremendously for the fabulous repast Dominic prepared.
    You are lucky, and bless you and your family.

  2. Anthony--"lucky" does not describe the blessings I enjoy! Thanks for the comment.

  3. Hi Jan,

    Just wanted to say 'thank you' for your support during my A-Z blogging month. I've created a fun "no strings attached" blog award for you and all of the other awesome bloggers who offered feedback and encouragement.

    You can view the award and my thank you note here:

    Hope you are well and that I see you around in the future!


  4. Sounds like a wonderful cook out. My father was a WWII vet and didn't talk about it to us but he and my uncle would sometimes talk about it and I would listen in. Very courageous men.

  5. Thanks EJ--Posotive energy is always welcome!

    Susan--I would give anything to have my dad back just to learn about this. Oh, the secrets they kept...

  6. Thank you Mom. It was the least I could do.