Theron Hopkins | Local Columnist
“Pork Tacos with Cole Slaw, Beans, and Rice”—Beth and Beau’s backyard is a good place to watch a football game once the temperature in Brawley, California starts staying below one hundred degrees (Fahrenheit), which is usually the middle of October. They have their propane grill. They have their ice chests. They have the swing set and the trampoline. They have the deck chairs. And they have the big screen TV mounted on the patio wall. This is an enticing spot for their group of friends, who gathered on a recent football Sunday to watch their kids bounce on the trampoline and swing on the swing set; to chat about the news of the day, their jobs, the doings of their families and friends, their latest trip to San Diego, and how awesome for them it will be to “Tailgate” at a Raiders game in Las Vegas; to pay a little attention to the television, as the Dallas Cowboys continued their march toward 8-8; to drink beer; and to eat barbecue. This last part is where Beth and Beau sprang into action at about 6:00 am on that Sunday morning, after prepping a 10-pound pork shoulder the previous evening with a rub of olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, smoked paprika, and brown sugar. Beau got the meat on the 250 degree grill with water-soaked mesquite wood chips wrapped in tin foil for the “smoke”, and with the intent of keeping the pork on and the temperature consistent until 2:00 pm. Meanwhile, Beth prepared her beans, which is serious business in our family. For this day, she filled her crock pot with pinto beans, a quartered onion, garlic, pork chorizo, salt, and copious amounts of water, and then put the lid on until 1:00 pm. Then, after a pancake breakfast for their three children, and a couple rounds of “let’s pick up the house,” and, “how about if we have a look at the yard—front and back,” it was time to turn attention to the rest of the meal, which consisted of: Salsa (courtesy of Tyler Florence and “The Food Network”), Cole Slaw (Bobby Flay, “TFN”), Rice (Beth’s recipe, with minced garlic, finely chopped onion, caldo de tomate, and the rice cooked in oil until the onions were soft, and then covered with a small can of tomato sauce, water, and the frying pan lid until the liquid was absorbed—or longer, if you like), and “Beau’s Famous” Green Sauce (plain Greek yogurt, avocado, serrano chiles—cooked in a little water—cilantro, and salt, all blended in the blender, and then set out with Beau’s corn chips that he fries in the same fryer, and with the same “well-preserved” peanut oil, that he uses for his potato chips). Then, it was time to await the arrival of their friends. And, of all the many things that are to like about Beth and Beau and their friends, one football-related positivity rises above all of the rest, and that is—Thank you, so much—not a lot of NFL official jerseys to be found among this group of ADULTS on this NFL Sunday in a backyard in Brawley, California. They can drink a beer. They can eat a pork taco. They can dip a chip into the green sauce or the red sauce or the bowl of beans that has now reached near-refried status without the refrying because of how “low and slow” and long they were allowed to simmer in the crock pot. They can watch their kids—who might be wearing a Chargers or Raiders or 49ers or Cowboys jersey— perform backward somersaults on the trampoline. They can say, “I really do like the Chargers,” or, “I am a ‘Raiders Fan for Life’,” or, “The Niners, if they can keep losing, just think of what a wonderfully high draft pick they will secure in next year’s Draft.” They can cheer. They can yell. They can curse the refs. They can give each other a hard time about, “How could you like the Chargers,” or, “Just win, Baby… every once in a while,” or, “Niners? They are losing this week, just like they were losing last week, and just like they’ll be losing next week.” They can undertake all of these activities—and many, many more—dressed in a polo shirt or a button-down shirt or a t-shirt or a dry-fit shirt or a lovely blouse or…anything but “The Team Jersey”. You like the Team. You watch the Team. You root for the Team. You are not on the Team. So, Beth, Beau, et al: Good food. Good friends. Good times. Good sartorial choices.
Next Week: Tricia cooks “Pizza”… ■