Thursday, April 15, 2010

Junk Dip and babies

This week we hosted a baby shower (or, as the converted birthday sign labels it, a "happy birthbaby"party) for one of our co-workers . We love celebrations in the office, especially since it gives us a reason to have a potluck and a few employees are semi-gourmet chefs. Food is a big deal in our office, so much so that one of our Christmas Party gifts was a company recipe book with each of the employees' favorite dishes in it. I contributed my favorite "junk dip" to the food table and received positive feedback on it. Beyond the usual red tomatoes, avocado, and onions I added my own touches of artichoke hearts, multi-colored heirloom tomatoes, and fresh habanero peppers.

I learned valuable lessons with that last ingredient: a single seed can burn your mouth for 20+ minutes; hiding 7 seeds in a 10 person serving (surprise spice!) is a great way to scare away those with a mild tolerance of heat; and the oil from slicing habaneros does not wash off. And while the habanero oil may not burn/agitate your fingers-calloused-from-guitar-playing, it will remain on your hands for hours patiently waiting for you to transfer it to more sensitive skin by casually rubbing your eyes or scratching non-calloused itches. Then it burns like fire of a million suns. That level of pain creates a lesson you only have to learn once. But I digress...

The baby shower came complete with entertaining/humiliating games. The organizers provided eight jars of unlabeled baby food and offered prizes to those of us who could identify them by taste. I excused myself from the tasting due to the fact that my mouth burned from the latest surprise habanero seed, but even if I had participated there was no way I could identify a paste with a flavor as obscure as "hawaiian chicken", "pumpkin and squash", or "grandma's turkey dinner". I can barely identify flavors in the meals I cook, and I know the actual ingredients I put in them and can feel the textures...

Overall, a great time was had by all! And congrats to the parents-to-be!

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