Today is November 5th, 2009.
Today is Guy Fawkes Day.
Today is Petero’s 44th birthday.
Today is a good day. We are all healthy and happy to be here in Fiji at Mai Dive. Living by the sea in the sun, feeding off of the land, and sharing the day with our good friends and family. Because it was Pete’s birthday, Jason brought out a heapin’ helping of sausage, pork chops, rib eyes, chicken, potatoes and green beans. I don’t know why, but he entrusted me to prepare and cook the entire dinner. Probably to put through another unspoken test. I gladly turned the meal into an Ode to Texas.
Not only was it fun, it was an honor to make Pete’s birthday meal. He has grown into a very good friend and I will miss him dearly when I leave Fiji. His joking, his smile, his knowledge, and his warm demeanor make each day that much better. He once told me that if you hire a Fijian, you don’t have to pay him much. You just have to feed him. And that is exactly what we did.
Now for a play by play of how dinner went and the ensuing blood bath.
5 pm – Marinate steaks and pork chops in garlic, ginger, onion, dark soy, BBQ sauce, sesame oil, oyster sauce, and olive oil. Marinated chicken in garlic, ginger, onion, fresh lemon, fresh lime, and olive oil.
5:30 – Drank one beer.
5:45 – Cleaned the outdoor grill and started the fire.
6:10 – Started onions and green beans.
6:15 – Drank second beer.
6:30 – Restoked the fire. Put potatoes into the oven.
6:45 – Meat on the grill. Sausage then chickens then steak then pork chops just like Dad taught me. It’s all about timing.
7:45 – Drank third beer.
8:00 – KANA! To hell with knife and fork. Use both hands and tear into as much food as possible. I told the guys that this is MY MEAL. Back in Texas, this is what we eat! Meat, potatoes, and green beans. No pate, no smoked salmon, no artichoke dip, no fondoooo. Just the real shit. The good shit!
Everyone let out a “vinaka na kana” as they finished. I stayed for a while to make sure nothing went to waste, of course. And when Pete came in from putting his plate in the sink, he said “Thank you clay. I will never forget this night as long as I live. Thank you for the food.” Just about brought tears to my eyes.
Today is Pete’s 44th birthday.