Wednesday, August 4, 2010

We're The Class of 1980

We’re the best, ain’t no maybe.  We’re the Class of 1980.

My 30th high school reunion is this weekend.

Do you suppose it would be possible, in the next three days, for me to:

•  Lose 15 pounds?  10?  Nine?  Truth be told, I’d be happy with one.  And a half.
•  Run a marathon?  A half marathon?  A wildly successful and innovative computing empire known as “Apple”?
•  Find in my driveway, free of monthly payments, the Jaguar (eight-cylinder) I always swore I’d have when I grew up?  (Forty-seven is "grown up," is it not?)
•  Publish a novel?  My memoirs?  A three-paragraph post on  (Who am I kidding?  As instructed by my high school English teacher, Mrs. Evelyn Hall, I can’t write anything in fewer than five paragraphs.  I can, however, drink and swear, something I did not learn from Mrs. Hall.  I swear.)

But wait.  Surely my former classmates --  the Mighty, Mighty Trojans of Fort Johnson High School -- aren't so shallow and competitive.  Besides, I’m a Mom!  I'm not limited to bragging about my own accomplishments!  Perhaps I can:

•  Arrange Son’s early admission to Harvard.  (Yes, he’s only 15 and admittedly unmotivated, but wouldn’t that qualify him as “unique” and therefore, “desirable” to the selection committee?)
•  Persuade 13-year-old and admittedly squeamish Darling Daughter to donate a kidney.  To a newborn.  In a third world country.
•  Train Josie, our highstrung rescue dog who won't fetch so much as a tennis ball, to retrieve meals for an elderly person.  Who’s visually impaired.  And in any other circumstance, suffers from life-threatening canine allergies.
•  Persuade Lionel, the 13-pound feline of the house to ...  What?  Snub us?  Really, what other skill does he possess?

Sigh.  The truth is, there are only two days before I head to home to Charleston, and like Popeye, “I yam what I yam.”  And despite it all, what I “yam” is pretty “yam” happy.

As much as I’ve dreaded the upcoming reunion, in many ways, I’m actually looking forward to it.  Cougar Bait (again, only 23 days younger than me) has agreed to be my arm candy.  He's also agreed to, as the need arises, serve as parking attendant and bouncer/strong arm for those beloved classmates who haven’t yet submitted their reunion checks to me.  (Have I not mentioned that I’m the one organizing the Reunion?  How uncharacteristically non-bitchy of me!)

Moreover, my former classmates -- those who have paid their $55 fee and even those who have not --have been incredibly appreciative and supportive.  They've also been forthcoming with their stories and “scoop.”  (Hoo boy.  I do love me some “scoop.”)

And as a bonus, dear friends have retrieved their not-altogether accurate memories of me.  In some ways, it’s ridiculously flattering.  One friend, in fact, remembered that I often made “Lemon Chicken” back in middle school. 

The recipe, at that time, wasn’t truly my favorite.  I like the idea, but the skin was woefully soggy.  The seasoning came largely from lemon-pepper seasoning.  And overcooked?  Well, considering that the recipe called for it to be cooked FOREVER, why yes,  it may have been.

This version, I think, is much more simple, flavorful and juicy -- with crispy skin, to boot.

If only it could help me lose 15 pounds before Saturday.  Or even one.  And a half.

Go Trojans!

Pan Roasted Lemon Chicken

1 chicken, cut up
Zest and juice of two lemons
1 lemon, quartered
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
3 strips bacon,  finely diced (optional)

Toss all ingredients – except bacon, salt and pepper -- together in a large roasting or broiler pan.  Allow to rest 15-20 minutes (taking the "chill" off the chicken before cooking). Preheat oven to 450.  (If you have a convection oven, now’s the time to use it.)  Arrange chicken in pan, so pieces are not touching, skin side up.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Scatter raw bacon (if using) over top.  Roast for 20 minutes or until slightly browned.  Check, and, using tongs, squeeze roasted lemon chunks over chicken.  (Don't turn chicken.)  Return to oven and continue roasting until crispy brown and done (about 20-25 minutes).  Allow to rest 10-15 minutes before serving.
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