i sometimes day dream entertaining as norman rockwell photos. you know the thanksgiving one? how everyone looks like jolly joe and the hostess is placing the turkey so elegantly in the middle of the table? that’s how i picture meals all the time.
but then the reality is that placing the turkey in the middle of the table is a logistical nightmare of epic carving proportions. can you imagine breaking down that turkey with 50 pieces of crystal surrounding you? it would be like playing dominos in the middle of a trampoline, if those dominoes were worth thousands of dollars. and, no family gets along that well. even the ones who genuinely like each other and don’t have a crazy aunt or opinionated grandma or know-it-all cousin, even they don’t look pleasantville happy. by the time i sit down at the dining room table after slaving away in the kitchen since 5 am, i look like i jumped in a pot of flour and then stuck my finger in the socket and am covered in neosporin from all the burns i’ve endured.
anyway, i think it’s all my mom’s fault. you see, my mom has the best magazines. not trashy ones, or the trendy kind, but these beautiful magazines. the coast livings, and town and country and southern living issues that are what decorating and entertaining dreams are made of. i look forward to flipping through them each time i’m home. but it’s like trying out that pinterest hair-do, when you try it actually looks like a bird made a nest with bobby pins on the back of your head – it never quite turns out right.
like the blueberry pie in these photos that was supposed to be an american flag…..err….it still tasted good.
with all of that said, i somehow do not live in perpetual disappointment that each meal might fall just below the perceived perfection of my fantasies. i love getting the whole family involved in cooking. it’s frantic and loud and my mom never fails to say “this is a hard meal to time” because every meal is a dance in timing and my dad never fails to disappear the second the meal is ready. in such a hectic, iphone addicted world, these meals hold a certain magic to me.
needless to say, i was really excited about having a shrimp boil over the 4th of july. my mom and i were plotting and planning and anticipating for weeks. just tickle us excited. my mom, being my mom, even got the red checkered tablecloth of my dreams. but as happens in non southern living magazine real world, we got it out and realized it was a round tablecloth. our table is rectangular. so we laughed and decided to use it anyway. it went with the casual vibe, we said.
and as fun as this meal turned out, it also ended up being really silly easy. it’s one pot. that’s it. it’s a ginormous pot, but just one pot. old bay seasoning is the shining star. then have at it.
the leftovers are mucho good too. trust me.
- 3 quarts water
- 1/2 cup old bay
- 18 small red potatoes, halved
- 6 ears of corn, husked and halved
- 6 itailan sausages, sliced into thirds
- 2 pounds uncooked shrimp
- crusty bread, for dipping
- In a really large stockpot, bring water and Old Bay Seasoning to a boil.
- Add potatoes and let boil for about 10 minutes.
- Add sausage and corn on the cob and cook for another 10 minutes.
- Remove the potatoes, corn, and sausage with a slotted spoon to a large serving platter and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm. There shouldn’t be any liquid.
- Add shrimp to the stockpot. Cook 3-5 minutes or until shrimp is a nice pink. Remove the shrimp with a slotted spoon and add to the dish.
- Serve with some crusty bread to soak it up.