Cooking With Myra: Break out the grill and barbecue
By Myra Starkey
May 14, 2013 at 12:14 a.m.
My husband, Taylor, comes from a big family of five children. He is the only male and has four sisters, two older and two younger.
The birth order is Marsella, Loree, Taylor, Melanie and Mignon. They are all married. There are 14 grandchildren from those five siblings. The grandchildren have all grown up together spending time with each other at family gatherings and holidays.
Loree and her husband, Mike, live in Victoria, so we have had the pleasure of watching their children grow up alongside our three.
It was fun to see them as toddlers and then slowly grow up to the young men and women they are now. Like most young adults, they fall in love and get married, and in this large family, we look forward to 12 more weddings in the future.
Two summers ago, our daughter, Hannah, married Ben. That was the first wedding in the family, and last weekend, we at tended the second wedding of the Starkey clan.
Almost a year ago, Loree and Mike's oldest son, Dawson, became engaged to Page. She is a beautiful girl, and I can see why Dawson is so in love with her. Love transforms the young and the old, and Dawson has been glowing since he asked for her hand in marriage.As he has gotten older, he seems to have gotten a little more quiet and settled. I hear he is a more gregarious guy when he is out with his friends. He has lived in a family where love is evident and I have no doubt that he has found the love of his life.
Dawson attended Baylor like many of the Starkey grandchildren. He graduated and then moved to Dallas where he has been working so I have not seen him as much as I did in his youth.
Most of my memories of Dawson are of a little boy, rambunctious and active. He loved hanging out at the family ranch, swimming in the Guadalupe and was seemingly afraid of nothing. He loves to hunt and fish.
All the older cousins were born within a few years of one another so all have graduated from college and are starting their careers. They still keep in touch and see each other at holidays.
Dawson's wedding was a special occasion in that the entire family from grandparents to grandkids all attended and were ready to celebrate.
The bride grew up in Dallas and so that was the site of the wedding. It had been a long time since I visited that beautiful place. I often read about great restaurants or cultural events there but it seems so far away from south Texas. The rehearsal dinner hosted by the groom was at the Hotel ZaZa Art Space. This party room was the perfect spot to join family and friends together to toast the soon-to-be-married couple. Madeline, Dawson's sister, had put together a slide show of photographs of Page and Dawson from birth to present and it was enjoyable to watch.
Dawson is a big guy, muscular and tall and seeing him as an infant in Loree's arms brought back so many memories and reminded me how many years had passed. We listened as their friends and relatives toasted and roasted the happy couple throughout the evening. The older relatives fought back tears as Mike told stories of Dawson as a little boy and reminded him of the advice he had given him during his life.
The following day Taylor and I went to the Dallas Arboretum which is a wonderful garden complex overlooking White Rock lake. The plantings of flowers were magnificent. We walked through acre after acre of manicured lawns bordered by extravagant colors. The sky was blue and there was a slight cool breeze. It was a perfect day to be outside enjoying Dallas. Our next stop was the Dallas Museum of Art.
They have an incredible collection of paintings but I most enjoyed the Wendy and Emery Reves Collection which was a fully furnished recreation of the interior of their Italian Villa. After we got our fill of culture, we stopped by a kitchen store (my idea of course) and then met everyone for lunch at R&D Kitchen. After a little more shopping at North Park Mall it was time to return to the hotel to dress for the wedding. The ceremony was at Episcopal Church of the Incarnation. This traditionally constructed stone church is the sixth largest Episcopal church in the United States. We took our seats in the sanctuary shortly before the ceremony started.
Hushed whispers were heard as the procession of grandmothers, mothers and then bridesmaids made their way down the central aisle. The girls were dressed in pale purple long dresses, and we smiled as Madeline passed us.
Our family took up almost an entire row, and we haven't even married off the boys yet. I think I like the idea of them attending weddings with me. Hopefully, it will get them in the mood to find the perfect girl and marry. Next came the bride in a beautiful flowing white gown of lace. Page was smiling and looking toward Dawson.
This was my second favorite moment in the wedding. The first was when they kissed and began their new lives together. I watched Dawson's face as he passed by our row arm-in-arm with his new bride. He was grown up and so much in love it was hard to see the little boy I once knew.
After the ceremony, we all retreated to the fifth floor of an old building in downtown Dallas for the reception. The food was good, the band was loud and talented, and I was ready to dance. Since Taylor does not like to dance much except during slower songs, I had to drag my sons to the dance floor.They obliged without too much complaining. All of us thought it was an enchanted evening with vases overflowing with white flowers, candles sparkling, and two people so much in love they could not take their gaze from one another. I am looking forward to the next wedding but not sure which niece or nephew will be next.
When Mother's Day came, Mike and Loree had us over for barbecued ribs, mashed new potatoes with wasabi and bacon, and grilled sweet corn. In the restaurant world it would have been called Farm to Table food since Mike grew it all except for the pig. Mike has an amazing garden with new potatoes, okra, kale, tomatoes and eggplant.
He gave me a bowl full of freshly dug potatoes, and some papaya picked that morning. I plan to go back for tomatoes when they ripen since the deer have eaten all of mine. Loree completed our meal with homemade vanilla ice cream for dessert. It was a delicious way to finish off Mother's Day.
I was fairly sad all that day since it was the first Mother's Day without my mom. On that day when others are doing special things for their moms, it just makes her absence more real.
It was nine months ago that she passed away, and I miss her every day. I know that we celebrate the day for those mothers alive and gone who have made us who we are. I am thankful I had such a wonderful mother and only hope I can live up to her standard.
I asked Mike to share his secret for the ribs, and he told me he used a rub he bought at Lowe's and honey. They were delicious.
Myra Starkey lives in Victoria. Write her in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77901, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.