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I found a recipe I wanted to try in one of the many magazines I receive every month. I wanted to try it mainly to see if it would work well for communal dinner, where you have about an hour to prepare food, and you're feeding the masses, but they don't all come at once. Food requirements are: can make lots easily, can be made in parallel, can be eaten over the course of an hour or two. Sometimes we make it right, sometimes we don't.

The recipe, for lamb meatball gyros, would work for everyone but Martha, so it's not a complete meal for everyone. If it could be made easily, however, we could work around Martha's requirements.

Okay, so, to start, I needed the ingredients, and a broiler.

Who would think a broiler would be an issue? Ours has been our for a couple years now, just waiting for the kitchen remodel to force the replacement of the oven and, hey, broiler. Email to Kris and Andy, will you be my taste testers, and, oh, by the way, can we use your oven, Andy?

Andy's response was along the lines of, "Free food? Sure! But, uh, how do you cook anything in your house? No microwave? No broiler?"

Um, stovetop?

At least until that goes out, too.

So, yay, broiler taken care of, off to purchase fixings. Since we were going to be at Andy's house, and the dogs were going stir crazy from no walks because of Annie's back, I decided to take the dogs along with me to store and then to Andy's. The girls and I have come to an understanding of where in the car they are allowed to be, and that would be in the far back, away from the back seats and definitely away from the front seats.

Because arbitrary boundaries are easy for beagles to follow, right?

So, into the car I lifted both of them, and off we went to Whole Foods. I tragically took the freeway, which, at 5:00 PM is a crappy decision. We sloughed through the traffic, arrived at Whole Foods, and, aw crap. I looked at the seat next to me. I looked in my bookbag. I looked in my central console. I looked in under my stuff. I looked in the bag of games I brought with me. I looked in my bookbag again.

I left my wallet at home.


Back home I drove and, because this whole adventure had taken too long, I decided to head to Nob Hill for groceries instead. Why did I decide to go to Nob Hill for groceries? That place is nothing but disappointments. I went in, could barely find the ground lamb, and the pita bread? I spent 40 minutes looking for pita bread. You'd think pita bread would be in the bread section, right? Nope. Maybe the pita bread would be in the gourmet food section, eh? Nope. The bakery section? Nope. The deli section? Maybe. If you ask, they'll pull them out of the freezer for you.

Or you can luck into the last two package of pita breads in the store.

The dogs barely survived being left alone in car.

So, we dashed off to Andy's house to make dinner. We arrived barely before six, just barely enough time to plant what would be the worst gag gift ever. Too bad it matched his calendar, which we had picked out last week when looking for a calendar to replace last year's Bond James Bond calendar. It also matched his walls, so, as far as gag gifts go, I picked a loser.

As far as switch plates go, I picked a winner!

The lamb gyros were quite easy to make. Cutting up the veggies took the longest time, but that could easily be parallelized by giving two or three people the task of chopping. Making the gyro balls was quick: 5 minutes to cut and mix, maybe 5 minutes to shape the balls and 8 minutes to cook.

Waiting for Kris to arrive took the longest at 15 minutes.

Taste testing was the important issue, though. After assembling the gyros and trying one out, Andy gave them a "delectable" rating: his highest food rating.

We have a winner for next week's communal dinner. Yay!