Monday, September 8 2003

Big food

A relatively constant factor in my life is the weekend gaming/cooking session with friends. We have a large stable of entertaining games from companies like Cheapass, Steve Jackson, and (pre-Hasbro) Wizards of the Coast, and an Xbox or two. The recipes come from a variety of sources, including my still-under-construction online cookbook, built from assorted MasterCook-format archives.

This weekend was at my place, which gave me an excuse to do some massive house-cleaning and show off my newly-completed landscaping. Since I had so much cleaning work to do, I insisted that the meal should be relatively simple, which meant steaks.

Huge, glorious, juicy steaks from Costco, grilled to perfection on my Nuclear-powered Weber. I don’t own a thermometer capable of recording the cooking temperature, but it burns the seasoning right off of the cast-iron grates, something you rarely find in a natural-gas grill. I can’t use it for anything but steak and kabobs, and Weber even sent someone out once to replace half the parts to try to bring it down to spec.

After that, I embraced this flaw as the feature it really is. I reserved the Weber for charring, bought a New Braunfels smoker for slow-cooking, and made a note to pick up something else sometime for foods in between.

We didn’t play many of the usual board and card games today, since the other guys have a peculiar attraction for something called “football”, and I have the best home theater setup.

We overdosed on good food, though:smoked chicken thighs served with a dip consisting of cream cheese and Miz Sassy’s Cookin’ Sauce, Buffalo wings made in my Dual-Zone Deep Fryer (much more useful than the other home fryers I’ve tried), fresh corn on the cob from the farmer’s market, and of course the steaks. I think there was a bag of chips and some jerky in there somewhere, too, and far too much iced tea and soda.

The subject of dessert never came up; we achieved food coma without it.

In between games, I had time to introduce one of my friends to the BBC series Coupling; my DishPlayer had recorded Split, which is one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen, and a brilliant use of split-screen. The first time I saw it, the final punchline left me helpless on the floor for several minutes.