Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun. And A Cone Of Safety.

Darling Daughter is attending an 80s-themed birthday party this weekend.

The 80s?  Say whaaaatttttt?  OMG.  I suddenly have an ice-cream-headache-like stab in my brain.  OH-EMM-GEE!  I'm flashing back to lazy Sunday afternoons in the 1970s, listening to Charleston’s WTMA (“The Mighty TMA”) radio playing the “Golden Oldies” – which, of course, meant sock-hop music from the 50s.  “At The Hop,” “Chantilly Lace” and “The Twist” come to mind.

See where I'm going?  The 80s are Darling Daughter’s “Golden Oldies!” 

I try not to swallow my own tongue.  Unflinchingly, DD serves up another cerebral popsicle, “What did they wear back then?” she asked.  (Wait for it, ‘cause it gets worse.) “Was it like in the movie Grease?”

Grease?  Really?  “Let’s Google it,” I delicately suggest.  So we checked out Madonna in Desperately Seeking Susan.  And Jennifer Beals in Flashdance.  And then, Cyndi Lauper’s classic, “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.”

Everyone loves that song, right?  Everyone, of course, except, DD, who proclaimed, “She’s just plain weird.”

Whatever.  Here’s what I think:  Girls do wanna have fun.  But it’s not what some people think.

Last week, I got to have a GNO (Girls Night Out) with a few old friends, a few new friends and some friends I’d never met.

Oh what a night.  But again, not what some people might think.  There's a belief, I think, that when women get together, all we talk about is our husbands, or the secret reason we're single, or the crushes we had on other girls in high school, or the craziest place we’d ever “done it,” or the time ...  C'mon!  Really? 

Let me let you in a on a little secret.  When a bunch of girls/women get together, it’s not because we’re auditioning for “Your Mom’s Gone Wild,” or because we’re telling the real story behind the divorce or because we’re looking for lapdances, lingerie or a magnum of Pinot Noir.  OK.  Just kidding about the Pinot.  Everyone knows that a little wine – or sangria or margaritas – never hurt anybody.  Truly, when a bunch of us get together, we mostly just want to laugh.  We want to share stories and feel safe and laugh.  Nothing tawdry about it.

Nevertheless, at Kathy’s last weekend, we agreed that we were all in the “cone of safety.”   On the Bob & Sheri Show here in Charlotte, the virtual "cone of safety" is invoked anytime the hosts or their guests wants to say something without fear of repercussion or judgment.   In other words, when we lowered the "cone," we all knew that what happened at Kathy’s, stayed at Kathy’s.

In that nest of safety, well-feathered by Pinot – or whatever dark red liquid was in those bottomless glasses – we told plenty of stories.  Laughed and laughed and laughed.  But as it turns out, there was no real need for a “cone of safety.”  Nothing shocking or horrifying or mildly embarrassing was revealed.  We just had fun.  We laughed -- and giggled and guffawed.  We swore to do it again.  We even exchanged a few recipes.

Kinda.  On her kitchen table spread, Kathy had a fabulous chilled shrimp dish – saucy, spicy and bursting with flavors.  I couldn’t wait to try it at home.  Within days, I mixed up a batch.  Loved it.  Even bragged about it on Facebook.  But as it turns out, I kinda missed an ingredient.  OK, two.

So I guess what I’m writing about today is “Not Kathy’s Spicy Chilled Shrimp.”

But who knows?  I got the recipe while in the cone of safety.  Maybe some things – like a quarter cup of extra virgin olive oil and a sliced onion – get to stay there.  Along with John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John.  Without judgment or repercussions.

Not Kathy’s Spicy Chilled Shrimp

2 pounds shrimp, poached with ½ lemon, 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning, 1 tablespoon salt and 1 bay leaf until barely done, drained

1 cup ketchup
5 ½ ounce jar of Zataraine’s Creole Mustard
5 ½ ounce jar of Zataraine’s Prepared Horseradish
juice of half a lemon

Drain shrimp, discarding lemon and bay leaf.  Combine with remaining ingredients in a resealable plastic bag.  Chill overnight.  Serve with crackers or over salad.
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