Cocktail pups and cigar etiquette…

So I have a tiny confession to make. I LOVE little wiener sausages! I don’t know what it is about them, exactly. Maybe it’s because we used to serve them a lot when I was growing up. They used to come in little cans that my Dad purchased at the PX store in Vietnam. We used to have a lot of cocktail parties when my Dad was stil working in his high-power job before the war broke out. Lots of dignitaries came over — influential people that would ultimately decided the fate of our little country — oil executives, embassadors, military generals — generally people with big gold rings who would crush my tiny fingers with their firm handshakes. My Mom would make a bunch of these little sausages, stick them on little toothpicks, and anchor them in rows around a carved pineapple. The final product would look like a yellow porcupine, and I would stare at it for a long time before taking one or two bites. She had read that somewhere in one of her entertainment cookbooks and practiced it to perfection.

I am trying to bring back the idea of a cocktail party, and not just because of yesterday’s dilemma of “cocktail attire”. As Michelle pointed out, a cocktail back in those days was a smallish drink — the glasses are about half the size of a regular drink we have nowadays. That would also explain the size of these miniatures sausages. I got a package of “Cocktail Pups” from Trader Joe’s earlier this evening. As I was warming them up on the stovetop, I gave one each to Gingersnap! and Madeleine. Neither had any problem gulping down their cousins. Little G! kept coming back for more. The ones at TJ’s are all-natural uncured beef miniature hot dogs, and they really are delicious! I did not serve them on a toothpick around a pineapple, but I did put a little bowl of maple syrup nearby. (Tonight was “charcuterie night”, Michelle proclaimed before I came home.)

OK, so it’s time for a little clarification on the whole cigar habit we’ve been indulging in, since I’ve been getting a few raised eyebrows over this. First of all, one does NOT inhale the smoke of a cigar. You draw the smoke in your mouth and hold it for a second, savoring the flavor of a fine hand-rolled cigar before blowing the smoke out. It’s similar to wine-tasting, where you would take a sip of wine, swirl it around your mouth to rinse your palate, and then spit the wine out into a spittoon, or a wine receptacle. Although honestly, if you have to pay for your wine-tasting (and sometimes it’s pretty steep, depending on your winery), you wouldn’t be spitting out your wine anytime soon. Anyway, here is the how-to, if you’re interested:

Here’s my girl, rearranging her cigars in her new digital, state-of-the-art, humidor, for the 14th time today. She informed me that we actually have more than 150 cigars.


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