I had the pleasure of attending a bridal shower for the daughter of one of my closest friends. The hall was creatively decorated, the company at the table was fun and we had many laughs, and the bride-to be and her bridesmaids were all beautiful. The buffet lunch was delicious and plentiful -- to say nothing of the cake

The theme of the shower was Mad Tea Party from "Alice in Wonderland." Each table had a teapot centerpiece and each guest had a teacup with a real tea bag on the saucer and a chocolate-dipped, teabag-shaped cookie nestled in the cup.

Two incidents at the shower made me laugh. A game we played was identifying 10 spices -- by smell only. Everyone at my table figured I would be a shoo-in. To tell the truth, I really had no clue on two of them! Goes to show how often I use fennel and coriander. I don't think I've ever used coriander. If anyone has a recipe using it, please send it to me. The spice smelled quite interesting, and I'd love to try using it.

Another moment was when I was brought to meet a woman sitting across the room. We had been asked to bring the bride a favorite recipe (the one I brought was for beer margaritas -- but of course!). The woman told me she almost died when I walked into the hall. Turns out she had pirated two recipes from my columns and put her name on them. More power to her -- I'm honored she thought so highly of them.


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I don't remember my bridal shower. Oh wait, yes I do. It was at my sister-in-law's home and was hosted by her with help from my other two bridesmaids. I wish I could remember what I received. I remember an aunt-in-law to be gave me a beautiful negligee. It was white satin and filmy soft tulle. I wore it once -- and went back to wearing an oversized T-shirt to bed. Marriage for me had a definite perk -- my husband, Guy, was oversized and by marrying him, I had a never-ending supply of "nightgowns."

What I would like to propose is that married women get to have a shower every 10 years of their married life. By the end of the first 10 years of marriage, almost everything I had received as bridal shower and wedding gifts were worn out or no longer worked. (Although the negligee still hung in my closet in pristine condition.) The sheets and towels were thread-bare and the small appliances had already been replaced because they had worn out or were on their last legs. Yup, a replacement bridal shower every decade would work for me

As I watched the bride-to-be open her gifts, I found myself lusting after her brand-new waffle maker -- which I've never owned -- and her brand new crockpot. I also had to control myself from ripping the basket of recipes people had brought from her hands. Maybe if I ask nicely and promise to not walk away with her waffle maker she'll let me take a peek ...

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I owe an apology to Bill and Joan Haddad, former residents of North Adams now residing in the state of Florida. A few weeks ago, I mentioned I had received a note from Joan commenting on a column I wrote about spices. Well, I assumed it was from Joan -- and we all know what happens when we assume

"As always, I try to keep up with your great column," Bill Haddad emailed. "I was surprised at the mention of my comments on your spice article, but you used my wife's name, and when she retired, so did her desire to cook! So now that I have the time, it's my adventure and I love to cook. I come from a large family and in our home we all did our share. All five of the boys learned to cook. The girls were great cooks right from the start. Mom taught them well."

Now that summer is here, I'm in full grilling-cold salad- and no-baking mode. I love country-style ribs, but I'm not a big fan of barbecue sauce. Although my North County readers have already seen this recipe, I'm printing it again for those in Central and South County. It's too good not to share!

Marinated Country-Style Ribs

 

1 1/2 cups vegetable oil

1/8 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup white wine vinegar

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons dry mustard

1 tablespoon pepper

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes

2 cloves garlic, minced

4 pounds country-style ribs

 

Mix together all the ingredients except the ribs and pour into a large reclosable plastic bag. Add the ribs to the bag, close and let sit in the refrigerator for an hour or up to four hours. (Do not marinate overnight.) Heat the grill to a low medium heat and cook "low and slow" until the ribs are cooked through. Watch carefully as the oil in the marinade may cause flare-ups.

And for dessert, how about a slice of my new-found, no-bake Oreo cake?

Oreo Cookie Ice Cream Cake

1/2 cup hot fudge ice cream topping, warmed

1 tub (8 ounce) whipped topping, thawed, divided

1 pkg. (3.9 oz.) chocolate instant pudding

16 Oreo Cookies, chopped (about 2 cups), divided

12 vanilla ice cream sandwiches

 

Whisk fudge topping and 1 cup whipped topping in medium bowl until blended. Add dry pudding mix; stir 2 minutes. Stir in 1 cup of the cookies.

Arrange 4 ice cream sandwiches, side-by-side, on 24-inch-long piece of foil; cover with half the whipped topping mixture. Repeat layers. Top with remaining sandwiches. Frost with remaining whipped topping; press remaining cookies into top and sides of dessert. Wrap loosely with foil.

Freeze 4 hours.

Margaret Button may be reached at the Berkshire Eagle, 75 S. Church St., Pittsfield, Mass. 01201 or email: mbutton@berkshireeagle.com.