Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Of Surprise Parties, Greek Salads, Smoking Cigarettes and the Hellfish

Surprises don't come easy for my sister-in-law. She purchases a Christmas present and immediately tells what it is. This weekend was different. My brother turned 30 (yesterday) and she decided to have a party for him. For two months she made arrangements, invited friends and gathered supplies without him getting a whiff of it. The ultimate coupe was when she asked me to show up, unannounced and break the surprise. I took a red eye Friday morning, hid away at my parents house for the day and met the two of them at the Walnut Bottom fair. As I approached I saw her smiling and bouncing and thought "Another surprise bites the dust" but my brother was too engrossed in conversation to notice. I tapped him on the shoulder and said "Happy Birthday." His look was priceless. Utter shock.

I sorely lack vegetables when I am in PA so for the party I made it a priority to create something that was chock full of them. I went with the Classic Greek Salad from the April/May edition of Vegetarian Times (recipe is here). I like the combination of salty and sweet provided by the olives and dressing. The only change I made to the Times version is to add a can of quartered artichokes. It was a hit. With the leftovers I made brunch the next morning. A Greek salad sandwich on toast topped with fried eggs from the Whigham homestead. The combination was much tastier than I anticipated.

I walked into a store while I was in PA and was shocked to see that the price of cigarettes has risen to eight dollars a pack. I thought about all the people I know that smoke and wondered how they can continue doing it at this price. Then I thought of the Hellfish. These guys are a pop punk doo wop band from Long Island who formed at the point where lackluster music, expensive cigarette packs, drinking beer and hanging out intersect. The Hellfish create music that is inspired by everything from doo wop to punk to garage rock to classic rock and they play it with a zeal that many bands could only hope to encapsulate. Check out their debut EP Laughing with the Sinners at their bandcamp page. "Tricky Woman" and "Shake Up the Night" are the first two tracks on that EP.