I have two sets of cousins on my father’s side – the six children of his sister and the seven children of his brother. The auntly cousins I spend time with often, including visiting the family of one of them in Hawaii several times a year. The avuncular family mostly live in the wilds of outer Seattle. Way outer Seattle - mysterious places where we seldom venture. So, we mainly see them at funerals and weddings, and it had been quite a while since I had seen any of them. However, the Hawaiian branch is here for a visit, and this created a great excuse for the two groups to get together for a picnic in my aunt’s yard. I still think of those cousins as a band of rowdy teenagers, so it was a shock to hear them talking about their grandchildren. Rachael, who had been looking forward to this event, took a nap to prepare, and then almost slept through it. There were constant cries of, “Where’s Rachael?” and I couldn’t tell them. I called, texted, and called again, but no reply. Finally, my aunt, whom everyone obeys, said, “I will call her.” Instantly my phone lit up, and a sleepy voice said, “Have they eaten all the food?” I said not, and that she should hurry over. So she did, and all her little cousins cheered when she arrived. They all seem to adore her (which is not surprising, since she is adorable.)
My contribution was a Greek watermelon barley salad, made from a recipe in the New York Times. The evening before, I prepared the barley in the pressure cooker, and when it was done, I was worried because it seemed so mooshy. I use barley all the time for soup, but it has been years (maybe decades) since I have used it as a – what should I say ? – as a non-soup item. So I was unsure. I thought I might make it again, or start over using farro, but then was lazy and thought, “Too much work!” By morning, it was a solid, sort of gelatinous mass. Gross!! I broke it up into bits and used it anyway. It was perfect! The salad was a great success. Joseph wanted to know who had made the Hippie Salad. I said it wasn’t a hippie salad, it was a Greek salad. He said that it had lentils, which made it a hippie salad. Someone else pointed out that there were no lentils, just barley and black eyed peas. Do you think lentils are the major factor in a hippie salad? I would say that that honor goes to tahini. What do you think? In my mind, however, hippie salad = yummy salad. If that is the criterion, then this one would qualify.
13 hours ago