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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Baby J's Frst Trip to Wal-Mart

I don't like Wal-Mart, for a lot of reasons. And, because I've been confrontational enough this week, I'm going to spare you, dear reader. You've heard them all before any way. Except for maybe this one:

When O. was a toddler, about the age of Baby J, we went to Wal-Mart. I don't know why. And we went to the scariest Wal-Mart in our town, the kind of place where the patrons have missing teeth in some spaces and extra teeth in places teeth should not be. We were letting O. walk through the store instead of pushing him in a cart. I don't know why. We were in an aisle with a strangely-toothed family. Again, I don't know why. They were nice enough, although the rather portly and hirsute* patriarch had chosen to wear a Michelob muscle tee and gym shorts. If his female companion's attire was any indication, it's certainly within the realm of possibility that she chose it for him. They had between them various and sundry children; there may have been some kind of Brady Bunch thing happening. One of the children, who weighed about the same as my husband but was a few feet shorter, was making silly faces at little O. In an attempt to seem non-snobbish, we did not intervene. In a split second, the husky young man, a carbon copy of his dad right down to the muscle tee, scooped O. up, chortling, "AH BET AH KIN PICK HIM UP!" To my immense relief, his parents asked him to "PUT THAT BABY DOWN" right fast. In the end, it was a lovely bonding moment that taught us not to judge books by their covers. So, perhaps that's a reason to go to Wal-Mart, but I digress.

I took Baby J to Wal-Mart the other day because I had to. O's choir director was getting married at our church (stay with me, I'm going somewhere with this!) The children's choir had been asked to sing and the ladies of the church were hosting the reception. Several of us were sharing the task of making marinated shrimp. It was one of those things where you're sent a very precise recipe, which you must follow to the letter so it will match the others. We were instructed to use "shrimp from Wal-mart: small, peeled, cooked frozen shrimp." You know I did not want to do that. So I checked the Piggly Wiggly, Publix and even a fancy mart or two. They had frozen salad shrimp, they had frozen shrimp with the tails on, they had frozen shrimp scampi, but they did not have "small, peeled, cooked frozen shrimp." Yes, I could have bought fresh and boiled and peeled it myself. Stop laughing, please. Or I could have broken the rules and bought tails on shrimp, but I am not a rule breaker. So, off I went, Baby J in tow, to Wal-Mart.

I found the shrimp, bought the shrimp and had a nice chat with another mother in the checkout line about the merits of Robeez baby shoes (So cute! So comfortable! And they don't fall off!) The checkout lady didn't even scoff at me for bringing my own bag. Oh! I also ran into someone I know who teaches aerobics; she had just had her second baby and I got to see the baby, a beautiful little girl. Yeah, the aerobics lady was already pretty slim, just in case you were curious. All in all, it was a lovely decent experience.

And the whole point of this was to offer a preamble to the shrimp recipe, which was easy and tasty. So, without further ado, I present:

Church Lady Party Shrimp

Obviously, I didn't make this one up, but I'm not quite sure who to credit. If it was your mom, aunt or grandmother who first made this back in 1962, please let me know. I'll credit her.

Take a bunch of shrimp. It really doesn't matter how much, which is one of the great things about this recipe. Use as much as you need. You can catch, cook and peel your own or you can buy frozen or already cooked. You can even buy it from Wal-Mart, but don't tell me.

Thaw your shrimp if it's frozen.

Layer the shrimp with capers and very thinly sliced onions. Drizzle each layer with Girard's Italian Dressing. When they say thinly sliced, they do mean thin. This was very exciting for me, as it was an excellent opportunity to use my new mandolin. I got to see all the shrimp that people brought and the kitchen ladies actually picked too thick onions out of one of them. Fine, it was me! I picked out those chunky looking onions! I'm a rule follower, so I couldn't help it! I'm pretty sure any good Italian dressing will do, but if more than one person is making it, they should all use the same brand. And the Girard's was good.

Refrigerate for 18 to 24 hours (no longer or they toughen). Now, you can leave them layered or you can do what I did, which is mix it all in a big Zip-loc bag. Squeeze most of the air out, so they are covered in marinade, but not all. If you squeeze it too hard, the shrimp will be gross.

Dump it in a pretty bowl and serve with toothpicks. Feel free to garnish it with parsley or something, too. I do love a good garnish!

Namasté, y'all!

*By the way, I always want to spell that word "hirsuit," because it's like they're wearing a suit, made of hair. Get it?

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