kids

The Day After

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The day after the Potomac Hunt Races isn’t a functional Monday; it’s just a bunch of hours strung together… an interminable slog to the finish line: rest, recovery and Tuesday. After days of preparation leading up to the Races, all the grunt work, not to mention the pre-parties… and the pre-pre-parties, and then the actual event on Sunday–

–well, Monday’s pretty ugly.

If dinner’s any indication, I served the kids the following on Monday night:

  • 1 slice of pizza, divided three ways
  • 2 chicken nuggets per kid
  • snap peas — about 20 — divvied into 3 portions
  • 1 peeled carrot per person
  • a pint of wrinkled blueberries. 

Voila, dinner is served!

To their credit, the kids didn’t utter a word. I had that post-race glaze that said: tread lightly.

But enough about recovery, fatigue and hangovers. Were the Races worth it?

Um…. yea!

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A few of our friends host a tailgate that’s always theme based. Previous themes have included safari, pirate, Wild West, and horny (don’t ask).

This year’s theme: “War Horse.”

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Bubba, replenishing supplies

 

When we weren’t socializing, snacking or depleting the mojito supply, we were piloting the gator — sometimes ferrying equipment, sometimes shuttling elderly folks or heavily burdened families en-route to their parking spots. But more often than not, we were entertaining kids in joyride fashion. Every time we started the gator, children emerged from the woodwork.

 

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Amidst all of this, there were races and horses — the whole point of the day.

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Cayden, Hadley and Brynn managed to monopolize on the event… not by betting, but by taking advantage of bettors. Hadley made a bunch of rubber-band bracelets and the kids peddled them rail-side between races.

Asking $1-$2 each, they pocketed $50 total.

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A day’s end it was time to hang it up, break down the tailgates, pack up the leftovers…

…and distribute the kids to their rightful owners.

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Molding minds with meat

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When we’re too tired to cook, we only have 1 carryout option that passes muster among everyone:

Pizza.

Fast food chains peddling burgers and fries? No dice.

“Ug, I’m not eating a salmonella-laden burger! I don’t want beef from a cow that’s been standing in a feedlot in its own poop!”

That’s Cayden speaking, not me.

But I’m Oz behind the curtain; I’ve tainted the kids with beef production propaganda.

I didn’t intend to warp them and I never thought that they’d shun a Happy Meal, but it’s happened. They haven’t eaten a McDonald’s burger in months. (Though we still dine at sit-down restaurants that are just as feed-lotty as the rest of them.)

But since we subsist on local milk and farm-fresh eggs, the next logical step was beef. And we live in an Ag community, so purchasing a locally-raised steer (or part of one) wasn’t difficult.

The steer owner (another horse person) provided me with a beef chart to select our preferred cuts, based on the animal’s anatomy. Most of it was obvious. Flank and sirloin? I wanted steak, not ground. But other sections left me mystified. Primal rib? The choices were rib steak, rib eye steak or rib roast. I dunno, what’s the difference? What’s better?

When in doubt, I selected “ground” for the shoulder, elbow and other beef hinterlands. As a result, we are flush with six-ounce sleeves of burger meat.

 

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We skipped the blind taste test, like the one conducted with the milk and eggs. But the taste differences in the meat are similar to those with the milk: the beef is more flavorful than the store-bought variety, but it’s difficult to explain why. Apparently, the steer was raised largely on grass and alfalfa, but finished with grain — a common practice; otherwise the meat is too lean and the flavor too strong.

Even so, prior to cooking, the local meat has a faint gamey odor — by no means unpleasant, just a little reminder that yes, this was once an animal. We’ve tried the steaks and the ground beef and they’re a huge hit, especially among the kids, who spout their anti-feedlot doctrine at every opportunity.

Martin did register one request: “Can you not use the word ‘gamey’? It kind of freaks me out.’

Duly noted…

…now I use the word gamey as much as possible.

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Burger, anyone? Just don’t use the G-word.

Happy Boxing Day

 

And Merry Christmas, too.

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If you normally receive a Christmas card from us, but did not this year, it’s because we don’t like you anymore.

Actually, I plum ran out of time. So, all you B-teamers, you’re at the top of next year’s Christmas card list.

As always, special thanks to Liz Zander for her photography services. Including the outtakes.

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(This is a keeper; no one notices that Brynn’s about to tumble off the truck.)

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Happy Holidays, gang.

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