Monday, August 13, 2007

Happily Ever After

I love asking couples the question, "How did you meet?" The answers are always different and wonderful. Whether it was a blind date, dropped sunglasses, eyes locking across a crowded room, or a silly college stunt, it's so charming to hear the story and see the happy look as they remember that first meeting.

Of course, the question is always fun to ask your parents. What chance encounter is responsible for you being here? I've been told several different versions of how my parents met, but recently my mother told me the definitive vesion. She had read a magazine article that said the best husband to have was a nerd. One who worked in a technical area was much better than someone like a doctor who saw women all day long and was likely to fall in love with a patient or nurse. A nerd, however, wouldn't see a woman until he came home at night, thus ensuring marital stability.

My mother's sister went away to college, met her own dream man, called my mother and said, ""I've found your nerd! He's my boyfriend's best friend and next door neighbor." But he was too shy to call her. For three years the sister and boyfriend begged, pleaded, prodded, and cajoled the young man to call. At last he sent a birthday card to this young woman. And 7 months later they were married; in a double wedding - the two sisters and the two best friends.

So, I owe my existence to an unkown magazine author and my aunt. Oh, that sounds wrong. I meant, because they got my parents together.

Last year we celebrated my parents' 50th wedding anniversary. It was a lovely time for the family to get together, talk, look over old photos, remember trips, special occasions, and funny jokes. Naturally, there was food. What's a family gathering without food? My sister and I wanted to make food that would be easy to fix, easy to eat, and delicious. Seafood is a treat for my parents, so one of the recipes that we decided on was this beautiful grilled shrimp. Simple ingredients, short marinating time, and so easy to barbecue. When we circulated a tray of these through the clusters of people chatting they would stop, pop a shrimp in their mouth, and then groan while rolling their eyes heavenward. Yes, it's that good.

For my birthday this year I chose the anniversary shrimp for my dinner. It's a winning dish with a proven track record. And not a little romance tied to it, too.

If you'd like to briefly share your "how you met" story in comments, I'd love to hear it!

(Note: the most time-consuming aspect of this recipe is the shrimp preparation. You can do that earlier in the day and just keep the shrimp in a bag in the refrigerator. And if you choose to marinate it longer than 30 minutes, well, is more flavor a bad thing?)

Happily Ever After Shrimp
adapted from The Best of Cooking Light

2 lbs large shrimp, peeled, deveined, and butterflied
1/2 cup thawed orange juice concentrate, undiluted
1 tsp grated lime rind
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup honey
2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp salt
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped

1- Combine first 9 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag; seal and marinate in refrigerator 30 minutes.

2- Prepare grill while shrimp is marinating. Soak a grilling plank in water.

3- Remove shrimp from bag, reserving marinade. Place shrimp on grilling plank in a single layer; they can be close together.

4- Place plank on the grill over medium-high heat. Cook about 4 minutes, till they start to pink up then turn the shrimp, and cook till just thoroughly pinked. Don't overcook or you have rubber shrimp! You can use the marinade to baste when you turn them, but they cook quickly, so you might not have time for that.

This is my submission for the Heart of the Matter roundup of heart-healthy recipes hosted by Joanna of Joanna's Food.


MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Lynn, this is a beautiful post! I think you'll get some great stories. I'm planning this story for an entry soon so I'll pass.
The shrimp would be a beautiful entry for Heart of the Matter

Anonymous said...

Okay. On the way to summer camp sam and I met. We stopped for lunch at a mall. I had been shopping with Marilee (who by the way is expecting now!) and found out we had ten minutes before we had to be on the bus, and neither of us had any food. Seeing a friends brother and his friend I decided to shmooz and cut in line with them at taco time. The friend (sam) thought I was a jerk for trying to cut because a lady behind us got really mad at me, and them. I thought he was a jerk because he didn't understand I had no other chance for food. Thus, we didn't like eachother from the start. Then... low and behold, he quoted a line from "UHF" so I knew he couldn't be so bad. Now, in 11 months, we shall be married.

Patricia Scarpin said...

Lynn, I love hearing stories like that, too!
And congratulations to your parents, oh my!

Anonymous said...

I met my husband on a ski trip in Austria. He was with a large group and was cross-country skiing and I was with a different large group downhill skiing. We all had traveled with the same tour company so evening entertainment brought our two groups together. I met my wonderful nerd (he is in computers), Ian, on a shared alpine bowling evening. I was smitten from the time I saw him. We didn't go out till I returned to London and he had written a card to me and asked if we could go out sometime.
We will be married 24 years this Saturday. He is South African and I am American, but we had to meet in Austria and then date each other in England! He is truly a wonderful person and I love my life with him.
Sickening, isn't it? Sorry.

Amy said...

Aww what a beautiful story! I met my bf in college about 6 years ago, been dating for almost 5 years now. :)

Anh said...

Beautiful, beautiful story! I smiled reading your post, Lynn...

Anonymous said...

that was a lovely story..coincidentally,thats wat my mum told me too,so after dating a wildchild for 5 yrs,I settle for a nice IT chap,one who face pc all day and hence,no chance to meet women,albeit cyber-ones though...haha...My hubby and I met via the internet too,while I was doing research,and while searching,browsed through a pals website and found him,haha..we dated for 8 mths and got married,now my ger is 5 mths old,so well,nerd he may be,but a good nerd for a hubby..hehe...

Anne said...

Your shrimp looks delicious. I'd love to try this :)

I met my husband thru an officemate of mine who was courting me. I dumped him and yet a few days before Valentines day he said he's going to give me a date on Valentines day so I won't be lonely. His friend (which is now my husband) kept on calling me for sometime and when we finally met in person, it was a funny scene since while I was running away from him he was running after me. With all this running around, we ended in church after a few months. In fact we will be celebrating our 9th wedding anniversary tomorrow :)

thecoffeesnob said...

Aw that is just such a sweet story. And those shrimps just sound divine- i can almost imagine what they would taste like just reading the recipe.

Kelly-Jane said...

I met my hubby at a mutual friends house when she invited a group of her friends round... but for her we might not have met!

Shrimp sounds great :)

Joanna said...

Hi Lynn, great story, great recipe ... I was introduced to my husband by a mutual friend, so that's not interesting enough for a story.

BUT I think the advice your mother got about the nerd was probably spot on ... and here's something to encourage single food bloggers: the other day I saw a very attractive man of about my age in the car park. He was putting a ticket into an expensive car, he was nicely dressed, he looked great. He also looked a little familiar, although I couldn't place him. I grew up in the town I now live in. After quite a lot of days, I suddenly remembered who he was ... the absolutely nerdiest boy in my school in my year. There's a moral in there somewhere ... and I don't think I come out of that story all that well!


Scorps1027 said...

Hi Lynn, I love your blog and often try out recipes. i made your banana bread recipe the other day and it was delicious. the pictures in this blog leave me salivating!

my husband and i met at my cousin's wedding! i was her bridesmaid and he was a friend of the groom's. he had another mutual friend introduce him and we started dating a month later after a month of getting to know each other through phone calls and AIM chats. 2 years later we got married at the same reception hall we met, and the same holiday weekend:)

Burçin'in Denemeleri said...

Your shrimp looks delicious.
Also it was a very impressive story.

Cookie baker Lynn said...

My Kitchen In Half Cups - Thanks for the tip on the Heart of the Matter. I did enter it. I'll look on your blog for the story of how you met your wonderful man.

Sarah - Shall we serve tacos at the wedding?

Patricia - Yes, 50 years is a long haul, but my mother said that as tough as it was at times, it was never as difficult as trying to break in a new husband.

Melinda - That is so great! I've wondered how an Oregon girl became a UK lady.

Amy - Isn't it great to have someone that you've been with so long that you really can be comfortable with them?

Anh - Thanks, sweetie.

Nan - Congratulations on catching a good nerd!

Anne - Happy Anniversary! Set up by the dumpee? That's a great story!

The Coffee Snob - If you like shrimp, you'll love these!

Kelly-Jane - Do you send your friend a thank-you note on your anniversary?

Joanna - Ha ha! I love the nerd turned gorgeous, rich guy. It reminds me of Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion.

Scorps1027 - Thanks so much for stopping by! I'm so glad you liked the banana bread. Your wedding story is so sweet!

Burcin Birdane - Thanks so much!

Blue Zebra said...

lynn what a great story! How romantic! The shrimp look beautiful and recipe sounds very yummy! Can't wait to give it a try. :D

B and I went to Jr. High together and never knew each other! We later met through a friend and found out we had that and sooo many other things in common! It was truly God!

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful and heart warming story. :) Love your prawns - so beautiful.

Anonymous said...

I absolutely adore your writing.
What a great story about your parents and what a fabulous sounding shrimp recipe. I just came home with 2 pounds of fresh shrimp. I think I have found the recipe to use!