Saturday, July 5, 2014

A Mongolian 4th of July

Being raised not to be afraid to be a little different is something that I continue carry with me - and have passed on to my kids.  So when we were planning for the 4th of July I began to think that every one does the hamburgers and hotdogs on the grill with the same sides - baked beans, corn on the cob and the like.  Let's try something new.  We have ate at BD's Mongolian grill in the past - and I liked the concept.  You pick out your ingredients and then they are grilled on a solid flat grill.  Simple, fast - and the twist being was that everyone got to cook their own meal.

Becky has a table with a small fire pit in the middle.  So I found an old electric flat top skillet that didn't work any more and took off the plastic legs, then added some metal to make it longer.  Then I welded together a frame to place it on.  And so we had our grill.

Next step was the food.  For those that are not from the area - Jungle Jims is a huge privately owned grocery store that has everything under the sun in one building.  While some stores have an aisle for oriental food - Jungle Jim's has separate aisles for each country - Japan, Thailand, China, etc.  So I went there after work to get the all the fixings.  And as always I spent too much.  You see things on the shelves that you generally don't see - so you think to yourself "I'd like to try this" and "I'd like to try that" and before you know it you are lugging around a cartload of food instead of the 10-12 items you went there to buy.

On the 4th we gave everyone directions on how to prepare a bowl of food, then a small cup of oil with seasoning added and stood back.  The food and the process of making your own meal was a hit. Although Chad was a little reluctant - "My only experience with cooking was when I worked at Burger King..."

The grandkids had a good time as well.  We did buy some hotdogs and made some mac and cheese for them.  And from Jungle Jim's I had got them some Barq's root beer to wash it down with (one of those impulse purchases).  After eating it was time to play.  Becky bought a small bounce house at a garage sale and they had a good time with it.  Played with the basketball on the court.  Fought with balloon swords.  And enjoyed some pop rocks.

Cash was excited by the fireworks as most boys are - are these fireworks going to be on the ground or in the air?  What is a bottle rocket?  Can I see them?  All questions were answered at dusk when we started lighting them off.  We let the youngsters warm things up with some sparklers. But I will say that all the parachute rockets in the one package I bought were duds.  None of the poor troopers made it more than 10 feet in the air and most were dashed against the ground before their chutes opened. But the other fireworks performed to expectations.  Cash did scoop up some of the failed parachutists and I am sure that he is figuring out how to launch them properly today.

We had neighbors to our right and neighbors to our left lighting them off too.  So the kids got a splendid display all in all. No one lost any digits or burned any flesh - so all in all it was a fun evening. Viva la difference!  And you know if you didn't ever try anything different, you would just be eating McDonalds all the time, how boring would that be.