Thursday, January 3, 2008

8.0 The Sellwood Kitchen Anti-Massacree Friendsgiving

Starring Erin, Mike, Jessica, Trent and Eleven Other Good Friends & Family
Filmed on Location in Beautiful Downtown Sellwood
Soundtrack: “We had the record player going all day…”

“Take this brother, may it serve you well…”

I remember how it began, but only because I wrote it all down. It was the day after Thanksgiving. What we call “Friendsgiving.” At least – since we developed this tradition last year. On Friendsgiving, we invite a bunch of friends over to our place, for a sequel of sorts to Thanksgiving. Full turkey dinner – stuffing, potatoes, cranberry, the works! I gained 45 pounds, though most of it was gravy weight.

Friendsgiving’s historical roots lay in the celluloid landscape of “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.” You know, when Peppermint Patty phones Charlie Brown (she calls him Chuck) and invites herself over for Thanksgiving dinner. Then she invites Marcy. And then she invites Franklin. And pretty soon Charlie Brown, Peppermint Patty, Marcy, Franklin, Linus, Sally, and that dog are sitting around a ping-pong table, eating popcorn and toast. (I only realized this similarity ex post facto.) So that’s what we do. Except we do the inviting. And instead of popcorn, there’s a Crockpot full of Li’l Smokies…

Once again, Erin and Trent did the cooking. Unlike last year, this Friendsgiving benefited from weeks of meticulous preparation. Lists were compiled. Invitations were mailed. Fridges were stocked.

At 10 am, I dropped the needle on Paul Mauriat’s “Love is Blue” (between 1959-1964, Mauriat recorded under pseudonyms Nico Papadopoulus and Willy Twist). His easy pop instrumentals beg the listener to sip a decaf and O’Mara’s Irish Cream. Your wish, Monsieur Mauriat, is our command!

Soon, delicate yet bold aromas drifted into the living room where I sat reading a Greil Marcus meditation on “Like a Rolling Stone.” Mmm…Trent’s Pumpkin Curry Soup roils under the lid. Lil Smokies (overheard from the couch, “The Velveeta of Meats”) are swallowed by a vortex of swampy barbecue sauce. Oops, I just drooled on “Works Cited”.

So far, it’s just the four of us; Erin & Trent in the kitchen, Jessica and I not in the kitchen. Eleven more guests will squeeze into our apartment before the day ends (which would be 12 hours later…).

Jess, even more pregnant than in our last article, was craving root beer (I can’t stand the stuff – it falls somewhere between soda and beer without the benefits of either). She also needed her book from home. Anyway, while there, Trent called her to bring back the smoked salmon. This led to what will be remembered as Jessica’s Polar Excursion for Smoked Salmon. I’m not sure why we needed the smoked salmon – there was already enough food to overextend King Kong’s belly; I guess we were playing it safe in case he brought his son.

Anyway, in a scenario one would assume had already been played out in an outrageous Japanese game show, Jess spent the next 30 minutes shoulder-deep in every fridge and freezer in their home, locating said fish only moments before the black tips of frostbite stained her fingers. Returning to the Sellwood Kitchen, Jess plunged her numb paws in the roaster, displacing some gravy onto the festive plastic tablecloth. I leapt from the couch to sop up the spill with an Eggo (it was still early and we were out of English muffins).

Meanwhile, the potatoes were whipped (overheard from the couch, “I’m planning on eating that whole vat of potatoes myself”), and the bird was prepared. Jessica’s Corn-Flake Potato Casserole rested, ready for the oven. Dinner was scheduled for 3 pm – and the chefs had everything prepared! So they got cocky. On a whim, they made caramel apples! And with the extra melted caramel, they make whiskey caramel candies. With Bushmills whiskey – la de da! Wait! That’s MY Bushmills!

So we relaxed and waited for the flood of guests. The music played: Roberta Flack, Ray Charles, Bob Dylan’s “Empire Burlesque”. I got up and tasted the gravy. The gravy is great! Not only the taste, but the texture – bursting like a yolk in my mouth! I wish I still had a Krazy Straw!
Knock, knock. Who’s there? Everyone! With MORE food! Thank heavens! Because I hoped to top out at 250 lbs before the weekend! In through the door burst Nicole & Ella, Adam & Josh, Alyssa & Michael, and Kella & Brian, all with dishes in hands! We packed into the living room.
Then my brothers and sister-in-law arrived. And they all packed into the listening room (we O’Shaughnessys like to separate ourselves from the pack – might be one of the reasons we escaped from New York). Then the bacchanal began!
The rest is a blur. A cacophony of chewing. (A few decibels under the ravenous din of chomping maws, one could hear the avant-garde clatter of the Beatles “Revolution #9,” my personal maneuver of auditory guerrilla warfare, a strike against the best-of collections of Earth, Wind & Fire and the Doobies.)

I ate for twelve hours straight that day.

And that was “The Sellwood Kitchen Anti-Massacree Friendsgiving!” Keeping the spirit of friendship and gluttony alive until Thanksgiving rolls around again!


Two Cooks
Their Spouses
Eleven Friends
Main Course
Lots of laughs

Fill one small apartment with ingredients. Mix. Mingle. Mangia! Repeat next year.

The “In the Sellwood Kitchen” cast and crew can be contacted at: