First dates.

I’ve always been amused to hear what couples’ first dates were like.  I’ve come to the conclusion that long time married couples had a very bad first date.

A friend of mine, on her first date with her future husband, drove because future husband’s car had broken down.  He drank too much beer and got sick in her car.  He was too drunk to help with the scrubbing of her car’s carpets.  He at least called the next day to apologize.  They will be celebrating their 28th wedding anniversary.

The first date with my wife was a 5 hour drive on dirt road through a scenic part of the state and we stopped in a tiny mountain town to eat lunch.  The restaurant inspectors apparently didn’t like long bumpy rides so the restaurant was rather informal about dogs.  We both liked dogs, so we just ignored them while they sat by our table to watch us eat.

While we are eating, a guy comes staggering out of the bar across the street and ends up next to our table.  Only a porch screen separates us when he vomits what appears to be a gallon of beer, countless shots and a ton of chicken wings.

We both decided the dogs were more interesting and moved to a new table.

The man asked us how we were doing, staggered back to the bar and the two dogs went outside to investigate “the pile”.  Dog number 1 sniffs at it and lifts his leg on it.  Dog number 2 sniffs a bit and starts eating.

Lunch ended early.

A few months later, after I had met her parents, I found out she told them about our first date.  Apparently her dad laughed and her mom was mad. “What kind of guy would take you to a place like that?”  She said it didn’t help her mom any when she said, “Mom, I kind of like him.”

We dated less than a year before we were married and have been married 25 years.

So, if you have a bad first date, don’t despair.

Oh, last night I roasted a whole chicken.  I cut up an apple and put the pieces into the cavity of the whole chicken.  I rubbed some olive oil, pepper and salt on the outside of the chicken and let it set, in the refrigerator, for most of the day.  I put the chicken on a rack in a roasting pan and cooked it, uncovered, for about 10 minutes at 375F degrees. I then poured white grape juice on the chicken, let it cook for 20 minutes, poured more grape juice on the chicken, let it cook for 20 minutes, put some aluminum “shields” on the ends of the legs, turned the chicken over in the rack, poured more grape juice on the chicken, let it cook for 20 minutes, poured more grape juice on the chicken and let it cook for 20 more minutes.  I then lowered the oven temperature to 300F degrees and let it cook until it was done.  The chicken was about 6 pounds and I think it took a total of 2-1/2 hours of cooking time.

Use the meat thermometer to decide when it’s done–unless you want a food “poisoning” incident on your first date.

The skin looks burnt, but isn’t.  The sugar in the grape juice caramelizes, turns a dark brown and tastes great.

For the side dish, I pulled out my huge cast iron skillet and melted a 1/2 stick (probably 5 tablespoons) of butter over medium heat. I then added apple slices to the skillet and cooked them until they were soft. I then added grapes and continued cooking until the grapes were soft. By this time, the apple slices had some nice “toasted looking” spots.

The side dish tasted amazing too.

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