Friday, July 20, 2007

Dinner with Elder Neves

Back in the fall of 1991, my parents dropped me off at Fugal Hall at BYU. I had really planned my entire life on going to BYU, but now that I was there I was filled with apprehension. What had I done? Here I was on a campus of 30,000 people, 650 miles away from home, and I was pretty sure that my cousin Jan was the only person I knew there. I put my things in my new bedroom and wandered down the hall to the kitchen/living area of our small apartment. There sat a striking red head who reminded me of Nicole Kidman: tall and slender with creamy skin. She turned out to be one of my best friends through all my years at BYU and beyond. Neves (there were so many people in our dorm with the same first name as her that we fixed on her last name) introduced me to the BYU Mens' Chorus (the Thanksgiving of American Folk Hymns and Celebration of Christmas albums are from my days there and are must haves) and the two of us were groupies, sitting in on rehearsals most days. We were in awe of the conductor, Mack Wilberg (who has since become the assistant conductor of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir) and his ability to arrange familiar songs into amazing feasts for the ears. Neves and I took Italian together for four semesters and irritated our other roommates by speaking it on an off all day. She was so impressive to me because she thoroughly researched anything that interested her and seemed to know about everything under the sun. She introduced our apartment full of mates to various festivals held in the Salt Lake region (the Scottish and Greek festivals were our favorites,) to the Pie, a U of U hangout, and to chicken jambalya. Neves wrote to me the most faithfully of anyone while I was a missionary in Russia--more frequently than my mother--and I loved her letters which were stimulating, hilarious, intelligent, and random in their subject matter. Neves continues to awe me with her amazing wit, her impressive knowledge, and her world travel is something I try not to covet. I am so glad to call her my friend.
Anyhow, this homage to Neves came about today because her baby brother, Elder Neves, came to dinner last night at my mom's house. Not long ago, Neves had emailed me that he was in Whittier, so while I was here we decided to invite him and his companion (missionaries are never, ever alone except for in the bathroom!) to come over. It was a delight to see again the six year old boy that I met that fall, whom I have enjoyed immensely every time I've seen him since. He looked very well and was fun to have at our table.
Here's what we had for dinner:
Beef Carnitas from Cooking Light (I HIGHLY recommend this recipe. I've made it twice in the past few weeks)
Pinto Beans
Fruit Salad with Watermelon, Pineapple, Mango, and Banana with lime juice
Warm tortillas
Guacamole, Salsa, and Sour Cream
Brownies with Dryers Ice Cream

And speaking of Dryers Ice Cream (Edy's on the east coast), one of the flavors that we enjoyed last night was another walk down memory lane. In my high school days, one of my haunts was the Brown household. They always had lots of ice cream (we only had ice cream on birthdays at my house) and coconut popcorn--and my favorite flavor there was a chocolate ice cream with peanut butter cups in it. Why has my quest to find such and ice cream been so unfruitful up until now? Other chocolate PB ice creams have a vanilla--or even worse, a peanut butter base. But this is the real thing, with rich chocolate ice cream. You've got to try some. Not only will you love it, but if enough people buy the special flavor, they won't take it off the shelves. Here is the Dryers website--check out this flavor finder, where you can type in your favorite flavor and your zip code and they'll tell you where to find it. Such a cool tool.
OK, I must run. We are off to the beach today. I'll take lots of pictures and share our picnic food later.
As Neves would say, Cheerio!

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