Lit a burner on the stove and offered me a plate
It's also a dish that, as near as I can tell, every carnivore likes and many of them associate with special occasions. This particular chicken was to say farewell to our friend Fred, who's moving on to tenure-track pastures, and to celebrate bottling a batch of homebrew with him. We brewed that batch with Mike, another one-year, who'll swing back through town in about a week to pick up his six, and maybe some fried chicken.
The next night was Crawfish Feast, hosted by our friends Bruce and Kimmarie, where two bushels of crawdads met their timely and tasty demise.
Shucking shellfish is primal, and in a different way, so is eating them together. It's renewing to be part of a group of people dipping their hands into the same pot.
Our contribution was Alton Brown's Pineapple Upside Down Cake from I'm Just Here for More Food. I got a lot of credit for that cake, and I did do the bulk of the work. The most important contribution, however, was from Executive Chef Alison who looked in the pan and wisely said "that's not caramel; that'll never be caramel; it's a lost cause early in the recipe; throw it out and start over." (In case you're wondering, it appears important that you not let the butter completely foam out, because the brown sugar won't melt if there's not at least a little water left.) There may be nothing more valuable than a friend who'll stand by you when it's time to cut your losses.
And then the last success was that Bruce and Kimmarie told us to try out a recipe called "Get Breakfast" from Alton's first book. The best description of this recipe I can come up with is that it's a broiled deep-dish potato pancake. I can't say exactly why we hadn't made it... but it's fantastic. And if your cast iron is seasoned enough, this dish of cheese, eggs, and frozen hash browns slips right out beautifully.
I kind of doubt Alton's story that he developed this as a college student, because it's more work than I would've done for breakfast as a hungover 20-year-old. (Admittedly, toast is more work than I usually did for breakfast at that age.) On the other hand, it reheats great and serves four. An enterprising person might make it before a night out, and microwave the leftovers whenever they crawl out of bed.
In the introduction to Cooking from the Heart, Michael J. Rosen writes that "a recipe is a memory made indelible." It appears the alternate is true as well: someone else's recipe can help preserve your own memories.