Apr 15, 2010

The Tiny World of Cocktails

As a little girl, I loved cocktail paraphernalia; especially the vessels shaped precisely for the drink: lowball, highball, martini, old-fashioned, sour, and the rarely used liqueur glasses, each one tinted a different color. I used to read our tallest tumbler, where, on the side, in red letters like Jesus' words in my New Testament, were directions for making a "Tom Collins." For the parties that my parents gave or attended, we children were scrubbed clean and made presentable, me in my pink smocked dress and Mary Janes, and David and Dan in their gray flannel shorts, white shirts, and clip-on ties.

In compensation for such torture we got to use the Lilliputian props of the cocktail ritual: jaunty little napkins and swizzle sticks with teeny tiny umbrellas. We used the swizzle sticks as weapons, to spear the great juicy prey floating in our Shirley Temples, the maraschino cherries. Swizzle sticks were also deployed to vanquish Olives in Blankets, and Small Objects Wrapped in Bacon.

Decades later, I began to realize how much work those cocktail parties must have been--all those little things to assemble and serve hot, all those drinks to refresh, egos to soothe, and names to remember. And glasses upon glasses to wash afterwards, and you hadn't even had dinner yet. Here is a simple recipe from my grandmother that must have been a godsend--she wrote “Delicious” beneath the title. I have turned it into a found poem. The text is from my grandmother but the line breaks are mine. (Loyal blog readers, you've seen this recipe before.)

Cheese Bites, Broiled

Cut tiny rounds of

Pepperidge Farm bread. Place

paper-thin small white onions on top of

each round.

Mix equal parts of

mayonnaise and grated Parmesan,

spread on top, and

broil until brown.

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