The Great Thing About Beer
June 23, 2008
Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. I wasn't in my kitchen this time around. I was in a hotel room in Boscobel, Wisconsin. A change of scenery at last. The kids and I had spent a good five hours in a car Saturday morning, checked in, and immediately boarded a chartered school bus filled with happy people on their way to see my cousin marry the love of his life on top of a mountain some distance from the hotel, to which we'd return after the ceremony to celebrate and dance the night away.
Yes, a school bus. The groom had the idea, from what I understand, to save all the aunts and cousins and mothers the trouble of finding their way along the winding roads. I certainly wouldn't have made it on time. Winding roads is an understatement. Throw in a whole mess of apple orchards, a couple of swollen rivers, and some of the most amazing scenic overlooks in the country, and you've got yourself some potential ditch time. So the bus it was.
The words "to" and "fro" exist for a reason. I'm guessing they represent "toward" and "from" — which mean two very different things. Take the Wedding Bus Ride, for example. On the way to the wedding, we all sat up straight in our seats, or tried to, and sipped bottled water. The windows were closed and the children remained rather calm and asked a few questions and the aunts passed gum around, and mints, and someone pointed out a bald eagle and someone else said they were glad the ride was only 45 minutes and that portable toilets had been set up for the guests. And there were, of course, facilities in the farmhouse, owned by relatives of the bride, who also owned the large barn which contains a basketball court, and contained, at the time of the bus ride to the wedding, a table covered with bowls of peanuts, chocolates, crackers and cheese, several cases of vodka and mixers, and a large amount of bottled beer.
As for the wedding, well, it's about as foolish to try to describe a wedding like that as is it to photograph a sunset. Give it up. Say it was lovely (and it was) and keep it tucked away in your memory for a quiet day. Some things speak for themselves and if you aren't around to hear, well, you can't win 'em all.
The Wedding Bus Ride back to the hotel was a whole nother ball game. So much for getting one's hair done. All the windows were open. Every one. There were balloons tied to the frames of the windows flapping all over the place. The children were climbing over seats and hollering, and the aunts were passing mugs of beer to those in need. Someone (an adult) began to sing: "The wheels on the bus go 'round and 'round..." and everyone joined in. Except for the kids, who stopped hollering to stare at the singing adults. A bucket of pretzels was passed down one side and up the other, and the bus driver requested "Danny Boy" and the crowd obliged without a pause, and the aunts passed more mugs of beer. About halfway back, someone began chanting, "Stop the Bus! Stop the Bus!" It was a bit of an emergency; apparently the best man had to relieve himself. When the bus driver did, indeed, pull over, it was into a patch of land owned by relatives of the groom. The best man made his way to the front of the bus and took with him an entourage of seven or eight men and boys. All of whom had to go. "Didn't someone tell them to take care of all that before they got on the bus?" someone asked. "Apparently not," someone answered.
The great thing about beer isn't the label or how many you can drink or where it's made; the great thing about beer is whom you're with when you have one. This past weekend, I happened to be with my father in a reception hall at a hotel in Wisconsin. We were standing together just before midnight watching a hundred or so people dancing like maniacs to the song "Love Shack." He was telling me about a new hotdish he's come up with using kielbasa, cream of mushroom soup, and sauerkraut. I'm glad to share it with you, but I'd like to give him a call to double-check on those ingredients. That music was awful loud, and I was, at that moment, looking for the kids. Whom I found, out on the dance floor, kicking up their heels and laughing like all getout.
1 package large tortillas (10)
1 package boneless chicken breasts (20 oz)
1 pkg taco seasoning
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 large can enchilada sauce
Trim fat from chicken, cut breasts into thirds and place into a large skillet with 1 T or so of oil and some salt and pepper. Fry on medium heat, both sides. As meat cooks, pull it into
shreds with two large forks. When chicken is cooked through (even a bit golden brown is nice),
add taco seasoning and 3/4 cup or so of water. Stir. Add corn. Stir. Add 1 cup shredded cheese. Mix and let simmer 10 minutes or so on low. Remove from burner. Pour enough enchilada sauce into a 9x13 pan to coat the bottom. Place 2-3 large spoonsful of chicken mixture into each tortilla shell. Roll and press into pan. Pour remainder of enchilada sauce over rolled tortillas, and sprinkle 2 cups shredded cheddar over. Bake at 350, uncovered, 30 minutes or to your liking. Let sit 5 minutes before serving.
This recipe is good with some Mexican rice, taco salad, and/or chips and salsa. For variety, try adding a can of drained black beans to the filling along with the corn.