Victoria’s Fourteenth


We hosted Victoria’s 14th birthday today and had a house full of family and fun.  We barbequed carne asada  and hot dogs that we ate with plenty of chile (red and green) and tortillas.  All the aunts brought salads and drinks so we had quite a feast going on.  At one point I counted twenty heads.

While Albert, Victoria’s dad, was cooking, I asked if he had room on the grill for some hot dogs.  "It’s not the 4th of July," he remarked jokingly.  "It’s for the children," I told him.  I didn’t think much of it at the time but I guess he was getting a little protective of the barbequing duty.  After all, he brought the meat and was cooking for his daughter’s birthday party.

I was managing a small portion of the grill to cook up the hot dogs but moved on to another task inside.  When I got back the batch of weiners had already been put in the meat pan.  "Oops, I forgot about the hot dogs," I said. 

"They burned, they all burned" Albert informed me but drew no response from me. 

I rolled on the next batch of hot dogs and then told him that several of the aunts like the meat cooked until it was like charcoal.  He looked at the meat on the grill and yelled for someone to bring the meat dish so he could start on the next batch.  I went ahead and took in the meat and as I walked in the door my sister-in-law and a couple of aunts noticed that the meat was "bouncy" so they dismissed it as underdone for them.

"Leave the meat on the grill until you think it’s ruined," the chorus retorted.  So out I went with the meat to put it back on the grill.

"It’s done, it’s done." Albert insisted.  Having hosted several barbeques before, I told him that the meat was pretty much only half done by the non-bounce standard of doneness.  After several more minutes over a high heat and several still unsatisfied observers, Albert walked away from the grill in lighthearted frustration and to finally dig into the bounty of food.

I finished the next two batches of hot dogs then took the remaining charred carne asada from the grill which was met with wide approving grins.

For those of you who have never eaten at a Mexican barbeque, you heat or grill a tortilla, put some of your favorite chile on it, spoon on some a salsa of cilantro, onion, and chiles (salsa is optional), then you slap in the meat, make it into a taco and eat it with your hands.  A few hours after the last guest left, B and I had just that and were quite satiated.

Despite, howling dogs, uninvited flies, crying babies, and excess sun exposure, we all had a great time and lots of great food.