Monday, July 13, 2009

No If Ands or Butts....

I think we have established that I am a little weird. My sense of humor is honed, but a bit off, I can spend an entire week not speaking to a single person and be completely at peace with it, and I am a champion at butt quarters.

I was at a 50th birthday party the other evening at a really fancy restaurant when someone said to me, don't drink too much champagne, Christy, otherwise your quarters game will be off. Shock flashed in my eyes, and I am sure my face went white for a moment. You see, this group of people didn't know of my secret, or so I thought. I began running scenarios in my mind...had I mentioned it before, did they see a photo, could a background check be that thorough? But alas, they were simply referring to that standard beer drinking game. What a bunch of nerds.

In college I wasn't much of an athlete, but I had heart. Growing up I was a really good swimmer. I used to have the trophies to prove it. I was okay at tennis, rubbish at basketball and utterly dismal at volleyball. Being height challenged wasn't helping me any either. If there was a sport where all you had to do was stand upright in a vehicle without hitting your head...well give me the championship belt....but volleyball? Please. However in college, intra-mural and club sports are a free-for-all. Anyone can get in...and that is where I made my mark. don't want to play flag...or as i like to call it...i know you are wearing a flag, but I feel like tackling with me. It was at one of these games that I was discovered. The school was starting up a Womens rugby team and wanted to know if I was interested. I know what you are feminine. It sounded like fun, some of my friends were gonna do it, and we got to travel with the boys rugby team, so I said okay.
You remember when I said I was tough on the football field. Dude, child's play. Inter-collegiate Womens rugby is for those who got too big to be on the Russian Weight Lifting Team. These girls (and I use that term very loosely), were big and tough and mean and frankly a little scary. I looked like a ballerina next to them...small, polite, demure and too frightened to lift my eyes.

No matter how out-matched we were, the game was fun. I played hooker, which I giddily told my folks over the phone one evening. Guess what mom and dad, I love college and on the weekends I am a hooker. I never did quite explain myself and I am sure they just figured since I was still asking for a monthly allowance, I wasn't that successful at it.
When the season ended, there was a banquet. When I say banquet, what I really mean is that we went to a bar and had beer in glasses. Our team actually won an award...most pleasant, or nicest, or less likely to succeed. Something that had nothing to do with our game skill and more to do with the fact that we would say "sorry" after knocking someone down. I was very proud. But more importantly, that night one of the players from WSU challenged me. It was like a scene out of cell block H..I kid you not. I can act tough, but a bar fight, come on...I'm from Glendale. I remember being involved in food fight once and I had never seen my mother more disappointed.. The way she looked at me, it was as if I traded my baby brother for an ice cream cone.

Well, the challenge was basically, I go head to head (or in this case butt to butt) in a game of quarters with her. What did you say? Butt quarters. Here's the deal. You take a quarter, place it in your derriere (with your pants on) and let hilarity ensue. The object is to get the quarter into a shot glass. You can go direct or try the bounce-in technique. The biggest part of the challenge is the approach. You must walk up to the glass, with the quarter already in place...aim precisely and drop. It's a skill I am very proud of.
Needless to say...I made fast friends with those girls, and I am not sure I have ever laughed as much as I did that night.

Some people break bread, I break coin.

Of all the things I learned in college, this is probably my most memorable and frankly my most used. I have played BQ with friends, with my grandmother, with my boss, and with a world famous actor.
Yes, I taught Gregory Hines how to play butt quarters and I have pictures to prove it.

In a series of very fortunate events, I found myself living on Wrightsville Beach North Carolina, in a big condo with two wonderful friends. And next door to us lived Gregory Hines. We (my roomies and I) loved to cook and entertain. So we had parties, and parties and more parties. One evening we had a bit too much to drink and there was a lull in the conversation and I thought...hey, it might be fun to break out the BQ. And so I did. And we all played. And Gregory was good, he was quite limber, being a dancer and all. But he wasn't as good as I. In retrospect, I probably should have let him win, him being a celebrity and all.

My favorite thing to make on those nights on the beach was Pizza Rustica, nothing soaks up the beer better!

Pizza Rustica
1 lb Black Forest Ham
1 lb Salami
1/2lb Sliced Provolone
1/2lb Sliced Mozzarella
1 large jar roasted red peppers
1/2 cup or so of grated Parmesan cheese
3 eggs--lightly beaten
1 box frozen puff pastry--defrosted

Line the bottom and sides of a springform pan with puff pastry. You may want to roll it out just a bit. You will need enough dough for the bottom, sides and top crust. Begin layering the ham, provolone, salami,parmesan, roasted pepper, mozzarella, repeating until you get to the top. Pour egg over the layers and move and shake it a bit so the egg makes it way through the nooks and crannies. Place the top crust on and crimp the edges. You may egg wash the top but it is not necessary. Bake at 400 until the top and sides are browned. Let cool in the pan. This is meant to be served room temperature or re-warmed...but not hot out of the oven.


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