Family means food. At least, in my family it does. When we get together, the first thing that needs to be coordinated is “who’s bringing what?” Shortly after that discussion is the discussion of whether or not we will have enough oven space to cook or if we will need to arrange oven sharing with the neighbours. And then the assumption that we will be using paper plates, not styrofoam, and who will bring them is clarified. Routine, maybe, but very important.
When our kids were smaller and our time was spent monitoring and entertaining the pre-school crowd, extended family mealtimes meant easy. And we tended towards foods that the little ones would eat. Hotdogs, hamburgers, bags of chips and maybe a potato and macaroni salad, compliments of Grandma.
Cottage Life with the Family
This month, my side of the family got together for our annual cottage weekend at Chesley Lake. Been doing it 11 years now, and it’s a highlight in our family’s calendar. With backdrops like this, how can it not?
Over the years, we have done every combination of food management there is. My mom at one point, created a menu and single-handedly planned and bought the food and then organized the cooking of 8 meals for 25+ people. Love that woman! I took a turn or two doing that in my relaxing “stay-at-home” mom years (wink, wink) and then we all decided that that really wasn’t a great way to approach a family weekend. Now, the individual families take charge of one particular meal to serve everyone else. Simpler, for sure, and this means that Moms can actually relax and enjoy time with kids, grandkids, and now great-grandkids. And, the bonus is that it gives each of us the opportunity to “show off” a bit and try out new recipes on most willing guinea pigs.
Pulled Pork, Steve Style
This year, Steve pulled out his Pulled Pork recipe and tweaked it a bit as he has done other years, based on what sauces are available. This year, he shared the recipe with me, served it up to all of us, and then told me I could blog it, too. Triple Woo-Hoo! in my book.
He first marinated the pork loin (you could also use a pork roast – Greg suggests that for a good “pull-apart” texture) with root beer. Yes, root beer. As a marinade, it works wonderfully. The sugar flavors the meat, while the carbonation tenderizes it. And, at the cottage, it’s easy! He roasted it with cut up bacon at 250°F for hours and hours. Sorry, not going to give you a time frame. Vacation means relaxing and every once in a while, Steve got up and checked it. I was actually shopping in Southampton most of the time. Goto the Cooking Instructions page if you want guidelines. But the bacon is important. So don’t forget that.
For his final sauce to baste the pulled pork in, he mixed together a hickory smoke BBQ sauce, a Gourmet BBQ sauce and a whole, chopped up fine, fresh pineapple and all it’s juices. After pulling apart the roast with forks, he mixed the sauce in and let it simmer just a while longer.
Satisfying, even when on Vacation
When he served it up over fresh buns, let me tell you, it was certainly appreciated.
Sides of roasted asparagus and baked potatoes finished up a delicious and
satisfying cottage dinner he could be proud of.
Just because one is on vacation is certainly not a reason to subside on mere
hotdogs and macaroni.
When you play like this:
you want to eat like this:
And, really, even if you play like this:
eating a satisfying and a little gourmet meal is a pretty good addition to any cottage day.