Monday, July 7, 2008

Beef & Beans

Slabs of Beef on the BBQ pit

Yesterday was the who-knows-which anniversary of the Mattole Grange hall's Beef and Bean BBQ. Every Fourth of July and Labor Day, hordes of valley residents, out-of-town visitors and weekend homeowners flock to this great feast of flesh and legume. The Grange has many long rows of picnic tables in the shade of fir and pine trees, and the Beef & Bean events are the only times they are full. (At any other Grange event, the place can feel downright empty). It's rather a cowboy/rancher type of event, which we don't tend to frequent. It's kind of nice to be around so many people we've never met in such a small town.

I'm guessing that in the old days, Grange events featured the locally grown fare, but our companion, Mattole ex-pat Libby, who used to belong to the Grange when she lived here, claimed that it's Costco meat and beans. Hmmmm, couldn't we do better?

A person brings side dishes, plates and cutlery, and some money to spend to the Beef and Bean. Pit opens at "Noon Sharp" as the posters say, and they aren't kidding. We got there at 12:20, and the line was already several hundred deep. Folks bearing pots, pans, mixing bowls of various sizes amble toward the cutting table, salivating, and ready to devour the one-inch-thick slabs of honestly, very nicely cooked meat, while another line serves up the baked beans. A great gorging fest ensues. But folks, hurry up and buy your raffle tickets, the contest closes at 12:30. Geez, these people don't mess around. I won two plastic bag caddies. I was mostly shooting for the case of mixed wine from Lost Coast Vineyards. Oh well.

After stuffing ourselves silly, it's time for the children's races, in different age categories, with "prizes" offered, really a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place ribbon placed in a paper bag. There are sprint races, three-legged races, and maybe a relay (we left before the end of the races). Ella ran in a race, just for fun, and talked about it the whole rest of the day: "Mama, Ella run REEEALY fast". After all the festivities, it's time to go home, deal with our gaseous emissions, and dream of salad for dinner...

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