My parents called this morning and wanted to come up for a few hours to spend Memorial Day with me. It was a nice surprise–although if I’d had a little more notice I would have vacuumed, but dirty carpet is what they get for giving me little advanced warning–because my parents are kind of awesome.
Mom mentioned that they’d thought we might cook out, but since it was rainy and I don’t own a grill, I didn’t give much credence to that idea. I was surprised, then, when my parents came up to my place carrying bags of groceries and a grill in a box. A tiny grill. One might even go so far as to call it cute, but the punishment for undermining the grill might mean one doesn’t get to partake in the delicious charbroiled food cooked upon it. So, I didn’t call it cute.
I let them in, and since it was close to lunchtime, Dad started prepping the food while Mom and I sat on the couch and got caught up on the latest news. It took me a while to realize we weren’t having hamburgers. Or hot dogs. We were having kabobs.
Generally speaking, there’s nothing wrong with kabobs, it’s just that it wasn’t what I was expecting. He got this idea and wanted to try it out, and that’s the sometimes weird but often wonderful thing about my dad. He and my mother live in the small town where I grew up, and I sometimes used to joke that it was a town that almost forcibly resists culture. But sometimes major trends and fads make it all the way to our little corner of the state, and people like my dad find out about them. Five years after I tried my first mojito, he heard about the drink and decided he’d like to try one.
He grew his own mint for the mojitos, and the thing you should know is that my father is a much better gardener than he is a bartender. We had an abundance of mint, and the result was that he became very generous with it in order to prevent waste. The first time he handed me a glass, I stared at the veritable forest floating amidst the liquid ingredients.
“Next, time, I don’t want a salad at the bottom of my drink,” I teased him.
When the mint started to overrun the place, he put it in the iced tea as well, and insisted on calling it “mohi-tea.” Because while he is often a really, truly funny man, my father sometimes cannot resist the siren call of a cheesy joke.
I like the fact that my father is curious and willing to try new things. Sure, I wasn’t thrilled when he commandeered a bottle of my wine to try his hand at French cooking, and we have actually had an argument about what truly makes a sandwich a panini, but generally I think it’s an admirable quality. It’s one that I think I’ve inherited in small ways–I prefer to sample pop culture more than food, but I can be persuaded to try a new drink now and again.
The kabobs were good, even the slices of grilled pineapple that I pooh-poohed early on turned out to be delicious, and I was glad Dad decided to try something different. I did have hot dogs for dinner, though. You know, just to be patriotic and all.