Monday, December 31, 2012

Shrimp Cocktail!

Happy New Year! Good bye 2012! Hello Healthy Eating and Exercise Resolutions.

Okay, hello plans to cut back on the red wine and M&Ms and do more yoga...

But, before the ball drops and we all dive over the fiscal, diet, exercise cliff...its Shrimp Cocktail Time!

That's right. Simultaneously the Swankiest and most often served appetizer in the world. (Allegedly.)*

Here at the Coast of Illinois we have moved past the traditional Shrimp Coctail and now participate in a full blown Shrimp Boil. And not just for New Years. I still have a brief moment of Quaker Frugality when I think of shrimp.

Growing up, shrimp cocktail was a sign of Fancypants Richness. Other signs of Fancypants Richness? Steak for dinner, manicures and pedicures, housekeepers, vacations in hotels...But I guess times have changed. Steak is no longer reserved for birthday dinner and nights out at Ponderosa. I have recovered from my Midwestern Guilt and have my nails done, once in a while. And while I do not have a housekeeper, I almost exclusively vacation in hotels. Although I am hearing a lot of noise about being able to 'camp' in the sailboat once it is completed. To which I counter with 'marble soaking tub'? And he replies 'Gulf breezes'. Then I point out '400 count Egyptian Cotton sheets?' And...


Back to Shrimp Cocktail. I have a very distinct memory of New Years Eve. I was probably four or five. We lived in a tiny house where Mom stayed home and Dad worked and I shared a room with Beanie and Cecil and was in bed as soon as I Love Lucy was over. But this one particular New Years I was allowed to stay up. I recall curling up on the weirdly bumpy couch with Dad as we watched the Orange Bowl parade. (It was a parade, there were palm trees and as I recall many forms of citrus fruit on floats.) A metal TV tray sat in front of us. (Alone a treat. We never ate in the front room.) And then Mom sat a Shrimp Cocktail in front of me. It was served in what looked like a juice glass. The glass held hundreds of teensy, tiny shrimp swimming in horseradish and catchup sauce. The shrimp were soggy and slightly fishy tasting. The sauce was still mostly icy.

It was heaven.

And every New Years Eve I remember that moment when I knew, I had arrived...

Thank heaven Cecil was our Designated Driver...

*I attempted to research the history of the Shrimp Cocktail but due to lack of time and the fact that I didn't start actually researching until this morning, I am taking some liberties with the claim that Shrimp Cocktail is indeed both the Swankiest and Most Served. I will however, go out on a limb and say that it is probably the only appetizer with a Board Game!

1 comment:

  1. Tonight is Shrimp Coctail night...preseving a family tradition! (the Green Hornet said that)


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