Barking Kitten

Fiction, musings on literature, food writing, and the occasional Friday cat blog. For lovers of serious literature, cooking, and eating.


Close to forty. Not cool. Politically left. Atheist. Happily married. No kids.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Middle-aged tailgating

Last night Hockeyman and I went to see Rush at the Concord Pavillion, now known as the Sleep Train Pavillion.

It never fails to amaze me how dramatically the demographic changes simply driving a few miles out. From our place to the freeway, through the Caldecott Tunnel into the East Bay hinterlands, and lo, suddenly everyone was driving a pickup truck. Bright red acrylic nails flashed on steering wheels; large, ungainly diamond rings caught the fading summer sunlight. Those not in pickups or SUVs were astride Harleys. Never Hondas or Yamahas. Harleys. Oh, yeah, and we were all whiter than lilies.

Having realized that we lacked both the inclination and digestion to tolerate the burnt offerings passing as stadium food, we packed a cooler. Thus our hero and heroine tailgated, middle-aged style. That is, our party involved capers instead of chips, a discreet flask of scotch in lieu of Bud. We ate and sweltered and watched our fellow attendees march past us into the venue. They did not make cheering dining scenery. Then again, they weren't there to entertain us, but to be entertained.

So we munched our ciabattas with cheddar and proscuitto, swilled down the Johnnie W, and ate our potato salad, potatoes courtesy of Full Belly Farm. The very act of eating artisanal, locavore foods at a rock concert made us feel old, staid, and slightly silly. We were, however, no sillier than the braless ladies poured into halter tops or the gentlemen whose foreheads had long eclipsed their skulls, leaving long, straggling ponytails behind.

As for the band, they were great, very gracious and politely Canadian and all that. None of them looked young, the crowd didn't look young (Save for a few kids. How's that for hard rock? People brought their kids!), which led me to the undeniable conclusion that H-man and I must not be looking so youthful ourselves.

An Over-the-Hill Picnic for two, with attendant expensive foods kids don't care about:

(Amounts dependent on appetite and weight concerns due to slowing metabolism)

1. The sandwiches

One loaf country bread or 2 smaller rolls

Niman Ranch Ham

Proscuitto, preferably Parma

Sharp cheese of your choice



Olive Oil

Slice the bread lengthwise, leaving one side intact. Hollow out the loaf by pulling some of the bread out.

Spread butter and mustard on the bottom half of the bread.

Layer in the cheese, then ham, then the prosciutto.

Close the sandwhich and gently press down, channeling your inner panini maker.

Pour a little olive oil over the bread, then wrap tightly in foil.

Note: this sandwich has endless variations--turkey, vegetables like lettuce, tomato, onions, sprouts, ect, ect. You can add mayonnaise or get really fancy (and middle-aged) with chutney. This is purely a matter of taste, which age affords.

2. The Potato Salad

This recipe is adapted from the San Francisco Chronicle Cookbook'sInsalata di Patate con le Capperi e Olive Neri, created by Carlo Middione.

One pound French fingerling potatoes from the fancy farm stand of your choice.

One half cup boiling water from the potatoes

3-4 garlic cloves, chopped

One quarter cup white wine vinegar

Scant one third cup Bariani Olive oil. If you can't get Bariani, substitute with the expensive artisanal oil of your choice.

Capers (I used about two teaspoons)

Olives, sliced. (I used around a tablespoon)

If the potatoes are organic there's no need to peel them. Slice into eatable pieces and boil until tender in salted water.

Meanwhile, blend the garlic, white wine vinegar, olive oil, capers, and olives in a heat-proof bowl.

When the potatoes are done, drain them, remembering to reserve the half cup water. Add the potatoes and water to the bowl. Stir gently to combine. It will look very watery. Don't worry. Allow it to sit for at least thirty minutes: as Fergus Henderson would say, it will find itself. Serve at room (or picnic, or tailgate) temperature.

3. Booze

Now that you're middle-aged and responsible, you would never, ever dream of drinking and driving. Instead, you have a flask. Fill this with the liquor of your choice, remembering all the while that you are now officially middle-aged. Your booze of choice should reflect this dismaying fact. Think Johnnie Walker, Stoli, even Ketel One. If you are a hedge fund manager really slumming it, fill your flask with Glenmorangie.

Pack your meal into a cooler. It's damned hot in Concord, and the last thing you want is a dose of food poisoning.

4. Earplugs

No, these are not for dessert. Haven't you done enough damage to your hearing with loud music?

Drive to the show, observing the speed limit. Park. Eat. Drink. Congratulate yourself on avoiding the horrors of stadium garlic fries.

5. Enjoy the show.

Final note: if the above doesn't appeal, you can always try what the guy in front of us did. Let's call him...Psychotic. Early in the show Psychotic produced two boxes of pork-flavored ramen noodes. He climbed over us and vanished, returning with two plastic beer cups filled with water. His buddy protested. Didn't the water need to be hot?

Nah, it'll work. You just gotta give it half an hour.

Psychotic dumped the noodles into the cups. Then, using his palm as a lid, he shook each vigorously and placed them on the concrete. Half an hour later, he handed one to his friend and slurped down the other.

Middle age is what you make of it.


Anonymous Rhea said...

I like this concept. I do a middle-aged tailgate thing when I go to Tanglewood. That's the music place out in Western Massachusetts. Mostly classical. Very middle-aged.

August 06, 2007 1:33 PM  

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