In certain circles, my grandpa is known for a lot of things. Of the stories I hear, one of the things he’s most famous for are his chicken wings.
30 pounds of wings … 60 pounds of wings for that … do you remember when we did 100 pounds for such-and-such party? The man has single-handedly cooked tens of thousands of pounds of chicken wings.
To back it up just a bit: Buffalo, N.Y., purports to be the origin of the chicken-wing-as-bar-snack. Somewhere in those murky decades before my existence, my grandpa fine-tuned his own sauce recipe that even now remains a secret. It’s a damn good sauce: lip-smacking spicy in just the way you want it to be, without burning out your throat. Blue cheese dressing cuts the heat, if you need it. No wonder he’s a local legend.
On this visit, the wings were part of that classic American round robin, the pot luck (aka barbecue, or picnic). There is one rule: Bring yourselves, and bring a dish to share.
I just adore these events. You get the most incredible cornucopia of foods you might not ordinarily eat, or even imagine existed. Your plate becomes a veritable petri dish of American food culture.
Consider the specimen that is Plate no. 1, clockwise from the chicken wings: There’s a baked, cheesy, hashbrown dish; baby pickles; half a Johnsonville Beddar Cheddar brat (with spicy mustard); nacho salad made with lettuce, ground beef, Doritos nacho cheese chip crumbles, and more. (bacon?)
No one eats like this, normally, all the time. That’s why it’s such a treat.
Take, for example, my favorite item on Plate no. 2, the dessert plate, which is located at the top. Yes, that fluffy, very orange “7-Up salad” gets its glow from orange Jello, CoolWhip, canned fruit (I think), 7-Up (I’m assuming) and more.
I should know this because I watched my grandma make it this morning, and I pretty much ate a bowl of it for breakfast … Clockwise from the 7-Up salad is a banana creme pudding dish; a strudel bar and chocolate cherry cake. All homemade.
… And, to wash it all down, your pick of beers. There’s always a fully-stocked beer fridge, which, by definition, is a separate, secondary fridge, usually located in a garage, full of beer.
Oh, to have a beer fridge in New York City…
Where were we partying? There’s an interior shot of the shed, pre-party, after the jump:
The basis of our shed utility: Barbecue, deep-frier, cooler table, beer fridge.