Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Spring Break -- Then and Now.

Spring Break was a fairly new phenomenon to Charleston County Schools in the 70s.  I don’t think our parents knew what to do with the odd week of vacation – or us.

No problem there.   We were smart.  We were creative.  We were open-minded.  We were teenagers.  We knew exactly what to do with those seven days.  We drove straight – and speedily -- to Folly Beach, rented a bunch of houses (don’t ask), stopped in at Chris and Jerry’s (a sandy little grocery store with eye-rolling prices, a barrel of fresh feta cheese, and an inconsistent policy of checking IDs), dunked ourselves in baby oil, and flopped out on the sand.  Heaven.

C’mon.  It was South Carolina in the 70s.  Certain things – like the drinking age – were different then.  But we didn’t push it.  At that time, SC law also would’ve allowed teenagers -- as young as 14 -- to get married.  We never tried that.  To the best of my knowledge.

We’re a far cry from all that now.  Parental consent is now required for 14-year-old girls to marry in SC.  And spring break is its own industry.  The question isn’t whether you’re going away for break-- it’s where.

Then it’s a matter of cold (skiing) or warm (beaches), active (again, skiing) or sluggish (again, beaches), educational or, well, I’ve got two teenagers.   The Smithsonian is no longer an option.

This year, we chose warm and sluggish.  My bad.  There was no “warm” on Amelia Island last week.  Which instantly put a cramp in “sluggish.”

Look.  I’m certain Amelia Island is delightful – the other 51 weeks of the year.  Last week, though, for the three of us, though, the words “chilly,” “dreary,” “overcast” and “threatening” come to mind.  And the weather wasn’t any better.

Still, we had fun.  There’s no denying how much I enjoy the kids’ company.  Come rain or shine, they are howlingly funny.  Just a few quotes:*

Why does farting smell so bad? I’m asking.

You should be glad we don't like getting shots. That way, you never have to worry about us shooting heroin.

DD, accusingly, "What are you doing?" Son, "Apparently something wrong."

I'm sorry, but you're just a bad mom.

I like long sleeve shirts. Then you don't have to wear pants.

Fortunately, the trip ended on a high note.  We opted to head to Charleston to spend some extra time with family and friends – sans baby oil and Chris & Jerry’s.  But before leaving the Sunshine State, we fit in a Segway tour of Fort George Island.  You know Segways, of course.  It’s impossible to see one and not think – man I wish I were riding that thing.  We did.  And for us, it made the trip.

All’s well that ends well, I suppose.  At least we didn’t ride home shifting in our seats from painful sunburns and peeling patches of blistered skin from our noses and shoulders.  But I felt like we still needed a little something to remind us of sunnier days -- maybe something like this fresh and light tasting grilled chicken.

The Sunshine State may not have lived up to its name this time, but we were smart.  We were creative.  We were flexible.  Heck.  Some of us were even teenagers.

*I keep an ongoing list of these quotes.  If you'd like to read more, check out "Overheard At My House" on Facebook or @HeardAtMyHouse on Twitter.

Grilled Ginger-Citrus Chicken

4-8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (depending on how many you’re serving)

1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 lime, zested and juiced
1 orange, zested and juiced
1 clementine (optional), zested and juiced
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
kosher salt
fresh ground pepper

3 cups hot, cooked rice (1 cup rice to 2 cups water)

In a resealable plastic bag, combine chicken breasts, citrus zests, juices, ginger, vegetable oil and red pepper flakes.  Allow to marinate 30 minutes.  Drain, reserving marinade, and season each breast with salt and pepper.  Grill over medium-hot coals until done.  (About 5 minutes per side for thin breasts).  While chicken cooks, heat remaining marinade to boiling (in the microwave is fine).  When chicken is done, allow to rest 5 minutes before slicing and serving.  Stir 2 tablespoons of heated marinade into hot rice and serve with sliced chicken.
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