Parties drop from the sky along with the snow

THE HAPPY EATER

January 10, 1996|By ROB KASPER

This could be a big season for the neighborhood potluck party. This winter's snowstorms have cut social mobility to about a five-block radius. That means the best way to mingle with other adults, to enjoy somebody else's cooking, and generally to let off steam is to hold a neighborhood blizzard party.

Recently when a big storm dumped upwards of 2 feet of snow on Baltimore and a big section of the Eastern United States, the clean-out-the-refrigerator parties began. The first night of the snow, two such parties were held in my Baltimore neighborhood. Later I heard of another shindig held on a snowed in street in the Baltimore suburbs.

In one party in my neighborhood, people brought fancy cheese, bean soup and apple pie. A about 40 adults and mostly older kids walked around the party in stocking feet. One fellow, a wore handmade argyles which he claimed had given to him some 40 years ago by a girl friend.

The other party in my neighborhood , where chili made with chicken and 100 fish sticks were on the menu, was attended by more kids than adults. There were 13 kids and 12 adults there. One dad pulled one of his kids and a case of beer to the party on a sled. One woman who pulled some frozen quiche appetizers out of her freezer and brought it to the party described the scene as "a thousand little children all smelling like wet fur. It was fabulous."

The 100 frozen fish sticks were contributed by a woman who said she took them to the party because" my kids wouldn't eat them." At the party the fish sticks, and a chili made of chicken, were the culinary hits of the evening.

Out in the suburbs four families who lived on Stream Crossing Road had planned to get together on to celebrate some of their kids' birthdays. But when the blizzard hit, the birthday cake gathering became a community dinner. Eighteen people feasted a massive amount of food, including some chicken left over from one of the boy's bar mitzvah held the day before.

The snow was flying and nerves were fraying at our house in Baltimore when our phone rang. A neighbor was sending out word of the blizzard party, the one that ended up being called "the party for grown-ups." I baked some bread, my wife made some corn bread. We wrapped ourselves, put our blizzard bread in a nylon bag, and trudged two blocks over to the party.

In the kitchen, folks sipped cocktails and recalled the blizzards of previous years by linking them with personal occasions. One fellow recalled that there was a blizzard in 1979, the year he got married. Then there was another in '83, he said, the year his son was born. Another dad recalled a big snow in 1958. He remembered carrying his then 8-month-old daughter through drifts as he walked home from the railroad station.

We ate, drank and talked. Then we all trudged home. It was a bad blizzard, but a good party.

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