We are so lucky. My brother owns a wine shop, Vino in Sellwood, and has friends like local restaurateurs Monique and Kevin of Castagna fame, and they come up with great ideas like making paella for 25 people that they cooked on a fire in the back yard, which they did two years ago. Then they decide that this year they wanted to roast a whole beast on a spit for another big dinner. And we get to help and, subsequently, partake of the incredible feast!
It started with building the fire out of all wood charcoal in a rotisserie borrowed from Dino, a Portland wine distributor, and building up a deep bed of glowing coals. Then, the pig already having been spitted by the industrious staff at Castagna, the 40-lb. porker was raised into position and Kevin and Bruce sat down for an afternoon of the New York Times and plenty of beer, a necessity for any successful grill effort.
But contrary to the calculations of 4 1/2 to 5 hours for the cooking, our little piggy was up to temp in only 2 1/2. So he was turned off and left to "rest" on his spit while tables were set and more food was brought in. Guests started trickling in, bottles of rosé were uncorked and poured and an array of cheeses were brought out by Randy from Provvista as people lined up to pay their respects to the guest of honor.
While Kevin carved the beast with the able assistance of the handy-with-sharp-implements Jeff, Monique and volunteers loaded up bowls with sides of cannellini beans, a fabulous heirloom tomato salad with red onion and cucumber and a cold green and yellow bean salad. And as the food disappeared and the lights came up over the yard, Monique brought out a huge bowl of fresh mixed berries which she served blanketed with cool whipped cream, and Bruce brought out magnums of moscato to cap off a perfect warm summer evening.
Like I said, are we lucky or what?