A Barbecue or Feast River Edge Style
Journeys into River Edge
One of the many ways that make this Spring/Summer of COVID-19 different around here is that folks are using their decks, porches and backyards in greater frequency.
Creative uses are being put to use as folks try to help keep their families and themselves engaged and entertained. Backyard sleep outs and movie nights have become popular, as have d.i.y. backyard barbecue pits (marshmallows along with some liquid beverages?).
And if you time right, one taking a walk or bike ride through neighborhood will be greeting some wonderful smells from coming what’s cooking on backyard grills.
Be it Memorial Day, Father’s Day, July Fourth or just a random dinner time meal those barbecues, always an important aspect of life in these parts, have taken on added stature.
It got us to thinking about whether you provide a special local or family accent to your favorite backyard feasts.
Years ago (especially when I was young and dating) I would enjoy visiting a house for a barbecue or holiday feast to discover that the house would serve up something unique to their household culture. Often it was the addition of some longstanding family recipe for Christmas or Thanksgiving – be it a holiday Ham, Soup or Pasta dish.
Equally on July Fourth, a barbecue meant very different things to different folks. Along with the burgers, hot dogs and steaks came local or family specialties.
In my house it was local corn and home grown tomatoes along with “local salads” – potato salad (both German and regular), cole slaw and macaroni from the old Delicatessen which for many years was located in the Cherry Hill Shopping Center (then home of Huffman & Boyle/Huffman-Koos).
The deli is long gone, so are the remnants of that shopping center, replaced by the “New Bridge Landing at River Edge” – now home to Total Wines, CVS and other strip mall stores.
All was not lost however. Those recipes made their way north to Oradell when one of the owners of the River Edge Deli took up shop at Schreiber’s, another long time area fixture. That owner has moved on too, but the recipes from those old River Edge salads (and a traditional herring salad for Christmas) can still be found just up the road (even if it is out of town).
You see, for me these salads were just not foods, but rather part of the very essence of who are and where we live.
I tend to be on a perpetual diet, but I always can find a place for these salads as part of my hometown barbecue.
How about you?
Do you have any foods or specialties that distinguish your grill or picnic table? Or even holiday table for that matter?
Is there anything distinctively “River Edge” in your feast menus? Do local foods make for your sense of place?
Is it a family recipe? Or is just being together with friends and loved ones – no matter what the foods?
Some BBQ chefs take great pride in making a meal exactly to their liking. I prefer trying to prepare a table in a way that will fill hearts with good feelings/memories as well as food for the stomach. Food for the soul – in this case a River Edge soul.