ZUCCHINI FESTIVAL


I’m not planting zucchini this year.  Instead of bearing a useable crop of vegetable, each plant tries to outdo the other and produce enough to feed the Russian army.

We used to plant a lot because we liked not only the green part, but the blossoms as well.  Now the Farmers Market tries to get rid of their ton of both during the season, and we can get them all year round from Mexico and Chili.

For a number of years, we had a Zucchini Festival, to which if you were fortunate enough to receive an invitation you were required to bring something, as long as it was made with zucchinis, and then take away a bagful of the ubiquitous vegetable when you went home.  There were so many creative ways people chose to use zucchini it always made for a great party just for the food alone.

One woman, a florist, always made the table decoration, which was decidedly worth the entire event.  There were every conceivable edible recipes, including those baked and raw, from the 20-30 guests.

One male friend informed me before he came to the first one that he hated the vegetable, never ate it and never intended to eat it.  I told him he was absolutely required to attend, even if he spit it all out.  He came, was obviously having a great time being properly fortified with fermented grape juice.  He left late which is frequently an indication that one is having an agreeable,  possibly a pleasant time.

Early next morning, (about 7 a.m.) the phone rang and a very weak male voice  whispered “I’m in the hospital, —– my blossom part is OK, but my stem end is green!”  However, when the second Festival came round, he decided to chance it once more, and fortunately survived once more.

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ROAST PIG CATERING


While rummaging through the computer today I came across the following ad:  “ROAST PIG CATERING—-locally raised pigs for a rustic, elegant centerpiece to your event”.  My first thought was “how can a roast pig be both rustic and elegant?”  Some years ago Dr. Advice and I decided to throw a luau in our back yard, including roast pig et al.

 

We rented a rather large fire pit, in which the little fellow would turn succulent and juicy.  Locating  the pig was no problem as we knew someone who raised pigs for that very purpose.  However, he convinced us that it would be better if he started the cooking and deliver it so that we could simply plop the pig into the fire pit for effect, since it would take far too long to do it the Hawaiian way.  It would make far better theater that way.

 

Deciding to make a real “production” of the occasion, I wore a distinctly Asian dress slit up one thigh, dyed my hair black, and bought a faux ivory cigarette holder.  An altogether sexy outfit.  As the guests arrived, all appropriately attired in Hawaiian shirts and as I recall, a grass skirt or two, I took a few puffs with my cigarette holder, and immediately became so nauseated that I went to bed for most of the evening, leaving the guests to fend for themselves.

The glorious pig arrived, looking splendid and with a tantalizing smell.  However, after carrying him around the garden to show the guests, it was found that he was not done, in  fact, when slicing into it, it discharged a rather vermillion tinge.

Since the pig was too large to fit into the oven, Dr. Advice divided it into two pieces, and after cranking the oven up a few notches, went back to the party for another hour.

A lot of the guests were leaving around 12:00 or 12:30, just as the pig came out of the oven.  Those stragglers who were left, had a few delicious bites of our “rustic, elegant” pig, sans the lovely red apple I had ready to place in his mouth.  It was a great party in spite of the late “guest” of honor, which no one seemed to miss!

I don’t remember what happened to the remainder of our great experiment the next day, as I was busy trying to wash the black dye out of my hair.

 

 

THE YO-YO MAN


Changing schools as ofyen as I did in elementary grades, I only got to see the Yo-Yo man at one school.  It was understood that a visit from this magical person would come once a year.

When I was ten, and living in San Diego, the playground underground began buzzing with the news that the Yo-Yo man was coming to town the next day.  I did not own a yo-yo, so my Dad took me to the local dime store to buy me a bright shiny red Duncan yo-yo.  The model he bought was the OH BOY, and it had tiny silver stars painted all over it.  I thought it the most beautiful thing I ever saw.

The Yo-Yo man was the salesman-demonstrator from the Duncan Yo-Yo  company who traveled from school to school, seducing kids with the most exciting tricks imaginable.

It was astonishing what you could do with with two round chunks of wood on an axel wound with with a few feet of string.  The tricks had cool names like Walk The Dog, Sleeper, 3-Leaf Clover, and Round the World.  Every kid could could do a gravity pull, but it took real skill to master some of the others.

My Dad spent the evening before the big event teaching me the finer points of yo-yo while my Mother shook her head in disbelief that a grown man could take such pleasure in tossing the new toy around.  I was so impressed that my father, old as he was, could actually  do yo-yo tricks.

The children were allowed to come onto the playground and watch the display class by class.  Every kid had a yo-yo clutched in his or her hand while watching breathlessly.  The teacher monitor stood in the background to make sure there was no undue rowdiness.  As the Yo-Yo man performed his tricks. everybody tried them out themselves.

A large box of the product was beside the man ready to sell to anyone who had the right number of coins.  Most of the boys especially had been saving their pennies for this occasion.

At the end of the demonstration, the Yo-Yo man invited a few kids who looked like promising customers to come up and do a few loop the loops in front of thje group.  After the exhibition, two or three lucky ones got free yo-yos to take home and brag about.  I wonder if there are still kids around who can Skin-the-Cat?