Saturday, August 30, 2014

The bocce ball tradition

I play bocce ball once a year. No more, no less.  It is a 25-year old annual tradition that my in-laws started long before I married Jeff and thereby joined the family and more importantly (just kidding) the Bocce ball tradition.  And while I have only been involved for a dozen years, I will say the tournament is certainly a tradition I await with joyful anticipation despite the fact that I never do very well. I should. Statistically speaking, I am fairly strong and athletic and I am younger than about 90 percent of the playing field. I am a distance runner so I have decent stamina and I am also not shy or timid which can be problematic with the game of bocce ball.  Yes there is really no good explanation as to why year after year I continue to lose in the first (or in a good year the second) round of the tourney, but it is the way it seems to go for me and while I try not to let it get me down sometimes it does get me down.  Maybe this is my year to get into the third round!

The best part of this long standing tradition however has nothing to do with balls.  It's the food.  And in true "Karla" fashion the food is always well organized and and the meal is perfectly orchestrated.  Everyone is assigned a dish to bring and there is never a situation where 22 pans of brownies show up and no salads. Or a situation where tons of people show up and there are no napkins. Those kinds of things just don't happen in my mother-in-law's (Karla's) world. At my potlucks, on the other hand, we are lucky if there is anything other than potato salad and brownies and if no one has to eat off the floor! If I could get just one ounce of my mother-in-laws organizational skills, then I would have just one ounce of organizational skills!!!

This year I was assigned pasta salad.  I don't really even like pasta salad, but it is my assigned lot in life this year and I am not one to complain. Plus I like to try new recipes.  And as fate would have it, I happened to be scrolling through my news feed on facebook and stumbled upon a recipe for pasta salad from one of my favorite authors and Ree Drummond Check it out  Ree's pasta-salad-with-smoked-gouda-tomatoes-and-basil/ .  I have not mixed it up yet, but I am well on my way to enjoying this delicacy.

Here is my photo journal of its production:  By the way, it was quite simple and it looks delicious so it is already an "A" in my cookbook who cares if it actually tastes good! I sure don't!

 Fresh basil and cherry tomatoes our of the garden sliced up and mixed together!  YUMMY!

Mostaccioli Pasta cooked al dente!

 The not so secret ingredient:  GOUDA and it's even smoked!

Everything except for the kitchen sink, I mean the dressing!

So I am optimistic that this salad will be a big hit. Even if it is a total flop and nobody eats any of the salad tomorrow, it is okay. And even if it sits in my fridge until I can't recognize it, nor remember where it came from in the first place and I eventually end up feeding it to my chickens in a couple weeks even then after all that it is still a success in my eyes because I brought my assigned dish and it looks really amazing! And while looks isn't everything, looks does count with food at cookouts! Tomorrow, there will be so much delightful food that even if the beautiful salad is horrible, I will not go hungry. Nobody goes hungry at Bocce Ball! That is as unthinkable as bringing a dish other than the one you were assigned!

Forget about throwback Thursday, I am doing throwback Saturday!  This picture is from our camping trip in July.  The kids created ice cream cone castles with all the fixings!  It was my kid's idea and they had so much fun making these!  We saw the idea in a book we had gotten at the library and this was good entertainment for the kids on one of the rainy days. I did cheat to buy the ice cream cones, but the rest of the supplies were items that were on hand in my cupboards so I was glad to make progress with the food cleanse challenge!

Ice cream cone castles! Is there anything else quite so divine?  I think not.
Except for maybe Bocce Ball Day              

Happy (almost) Labor Day and have a great first day of school!

Vern Out

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