I've been preparing for this Saturday's 120 person luncheon for the last month, brining meats and pickling veggies and contemplating with steadily growing anxiety. Now that the cooking is underway I'm less worried about the food and more concerned with the sheer logistics; 120 people, whoever they are, translates to a lot of food (turns out even with my recently acquired second refrigerator I am woefully short on space). But Saturday will happen (third refrigerator be damned!) and the food will be tasty.
What I really want to write about is the joy, deep down in every member of the human race, of cooking for loved ones. I got the chance to take a break from event-worrying for a few days when my family was in town, the first time we were all together for quite awhile. As it was their first time in Portland, I decided to give them a good thorough taste of the Pacific Northwest.
Celebrating the Do-it-yourself mentality out here we snacked on freshly un-crocked garlic-dill pickles and sauerkraut and sipped homemade root beer and ginger beer. We roasted local Chinook salmon, covered in dill and lemon wedges, on cedar planks, and tossed just-from-the-garden snap peas with local hazelnuts and sharp sheep's milk cheese. Willapa Bay clams steamed with morels and baby turnips and finished with a generous shaving of Oregon black truffle kept it close to home. And a sourdough pumpernickel bread to go with the array of NW cheeses and Netarts Bay salt really sealed the deal. Those famous Oregon berries found their way into a crostata made with leaf lard from local pigs and joined by homemade vanilla ice cream, and to wash it all down, of course, a Willamette Pinot (Chehalem) and some black currant liqueur from Clear Creek.
A celebration of the place and of the people sharing it. What else is cooking about?