Well, looky looky here– it’s another Friday Night Dinner! Betcha thought I’d dropped off the planet. My hangup for this dinner started off so simply: I don’t have a grill. My original solution to this problem was to plan a meal at a friend’s house (and fellow Gg fan) and use their grill. Fun, right? Then life happened. I had a baby, then she had a baby, we had sick kiddos, gone for vacation, etc, etc, etc. Before you know it, BAM! Six months have gone by and I still haven’t grilled. I’d like to pretend that I was being smart and waiting for cooler weather, but the high was 95 degrees! On September 20th! Sheesh. So, let’s just pretend that we had a fight with Emily and have been boycotting Friday Night Dinners, m’kay? Now we’ve made up and all is well.

Two episodes passed us by with no Friday Night Dinners. To catch up, Rory is back at Chilton, having to face Max, who will no longer be her stepfather. She has now “come out” into society at the request of her grandmother and to the amusement of her mother. And, there’s a new kid in town! Jess. We’ll be hearing more about him later. This episode’s title, Like Mother Like Daughter, is a quote from Headmaster Charleston to Lorelai, when he accuses mother and daughter of not being involved enough in the school. Rory is told to socialize and Lorelai is told to volunteer. Rory sits at “a random table,” which happens to belong to the Puffs, one of Chilton’s premier secret societies, leading to a bizarre chain of events that ends in her position being vindicated and she is allowed to resume her lunchtime reading habits. (I’ve always been so jealous of her presence of mind and verbal defense when she’s confronted by Headmaster Charleston.) Lorelai doesn’t get away so easily. She joins the Booster Club, and soon finds herself offering to host a fashion show at the Independence Inn.

A Literary Feast -- dinner on the grill at the Gilmores

“What is this, a refugee camp?”

Cue Friday Night Dinner. The girls are greeted at the door by a maid who instructs them to proceed to the patio because “we are barbecuing tonight,” prompting jokes about how un-Emily this is. For real, though, there’s a grill and a grill chef on the patio, surrounded by a mound of grilled veggies. We see bell peppers and corn on the cob, both girls grabbing an ear of the latter and digging in. And then comes Emily– spell broken. Of course she’s heard about Lorelai’s shameful lack of participation at Chilton and adds her opinions to the matter. This battle of wits ends with Lorelai as the victor, as she later hoodwinks Emily into being one of the models for the fashion show. This is one of my favorite scenes between Emily and Lorelai. To the tune of “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” they sashay down the catwalk in their matching Nancy Reagan-like garb. Who’s the victor now? Emily can work it for the crowd, let me tell you!

A Literary Feast -- fashion show


SO! Back to Friday Night Dinner. Barbecued veggies. We have open grills at our neighborhood park, of course, so that’s where we went. We try to stay away from charcoal grilling because, carcinogens ya know, but I figure that once every five years or so isn’t going to hurt us, right? Confession: I have never barbecued. Nerd that I am, I was Googleing everything from what charcoal to buy to cooking methods. For a bunch of freakin’ vegetables. I didn’t want to buy much, as I doubt this will become a habit, but I hit the grill aisle at HEB to get the charcoal and a grill brush to somewhat clean the public grill. Y’all, Texans take their grilling seriously. Just look at this section in the grocery store! It goes beyond the camera frame.

A Literary Feast -- grilling aisle

Grill pans and utensils and whatnot, oh my!

Our crazy schedules finally allowed it, too. I can’t remember the last time since I was on maternity leave that we all ate dinner together as a family. We’re co-single parenting around here and it’s no joke. I saw this opportunity and jumped at it. Due to the heat and the droves of Zika-and-West-Nile-carrying mosquitoes, Chompers and I walked to the park first to start cooking, while Matt and the baby came just in time to enjoy the fruits of our labor. Boycott charcoal as I may, there isn’t much that tops the smell. We enjoy evening walks around the neighborhood for the sole purpose of drooling over the smell of others’ grills– now we are the enviable ones at dinner time! Just look at that spread– corn on the cob, red and green bell peppers marinated in oil and vinegar, and some cheddar/chicken sausages. Our hot-blooded baby wasn’t too impressed with the choice of venue, until Matt rubbed his lips with some grilled chicken sausage (don’t tell the doctor!). Now, there’s that happy baby pose!

A Literary Feast -- veggies on the grill

A Literary Feast -- happy baby

What have I taught you? Flattering photos are all about angles. Now, tip that chin down! And if you’re looking to show off those thunder thighs, good work!

Yup, it was hot as blazes and the flies and mosquitoes were annoying as all get out, but that’s all part of summertime barbecuing, amiright? (Well, not according to Emily: “What is this, a refugee camp? Come inside and eat at the table. […] Animals eat outside. Human beings eat inside with napkins and utensils. If you want to eat outside, go hunt down a gazelle. Make your decision, I’ll be inside.”) Oops. We’ve white-trashed another Friday Night Dinner. And we were wearing our swimsuits, too, for shame! But look at those adorable piggy corncob holders. Toss everything in the trash at the end, and you’ve got a fun summer supper with no dishes to clean up. Win-win. To top it off, Matt took the baby home to bed, so Chompers and I could jump in the pool for a luxurious evening swim. He had a breakthrough, too, and paddled around in his puddle jumper life jacket for the first time without insisting that I keep a hand on him. Guess that means I’d better get him to the pool as much as possible before it closes in four weeks.

A Literary Feast -- grilled veggies

A Literary Feast -- corn on the cob


Honestly, two days later and I’m still thinking about how good those veggies tasted. Maybe there’s room on our deck for a small grill after all… Or we can keep it in the “secret room with the paper napkins and mismatched sheets.”

Happy Fall, Y’all!

A Literary Feast -- dad and baby

“I got this, dad, really! Just let me at it. I’ll gum it to death.”