I really love it when food turns out pretty. My Home Ec teacher was Mrs. Tippett and she stressed color and color variety on a dinner plate. To this day when I make a bland plate where most of the food is the same color, I'll say, "Mrs. Tippett would not approve of this meal." I think she would have loved my tamales and avocado salad.
Speaking of Mrs. Tippett, when I was a junior in high school, my friends got word of a big New Year's eve party at a house in town. I'm sure it was one of those parties that got out of hand and I'm sure the girl didn't mean for everyone in the world to show up. None of us knew her. The streets were jammed with cars and we had to park a few blocks away. I think there were seven or eight of us in our car. The house was jam packed and I remember finding an uncrowded room to escape to. It was one of those formal front living rooms that no one uses and I guess all the southern people there had been raised that way, because no one was in this room. Since my family never had the unused formal front room, I didn't have that ingrained aversion of such rooms. I was happy to be out of the throng.
One wall had a batch of large family photos. I saw the girl whose party it was, because I recognized her from seeing her earlier in the kitchen. And then there she was in another picture with Mrs. Tippett! I realized she was Mrs. Tippett's little sister and for some reason it freaked me out. I was in Mrs. Tippett's parents' house partying like I was in the Delta Tau Chi house from Animal House! Suddenly I felt like I was committing some gross violation like I was robbing a bank or something. I spent the rest of my time there trying to round up my friends to GET OUT of THAT HOUSE.
On the road very close to my house was a "slippery when wet" sign - it's a picture showing a car swerving - and in my foolish drunken state, I said, "Hey Tim! Didn't you see that sign? You're supposed to swerve." Well he did, we all laughed, he turned into my street and then we saw the blue lights. He pulled over and said, "You get out and say you were driving, since it's your fault I swerved." I was in the middle of the backseat! How would that be believable? Instead, I got out, walked back to the cop car and told the cops the stupid sign story, told them who my father was, dropped about five names of cops we knew, and told them where I lived and said that we were all going there to sleep for the rest of the night. Since we were now on what was basically a dead end road with my apartments at the end, the cops let us go. If they had known I had been partying at Mrs. Tippett's parents house I'm sure I would have gone to prison for six years. Just for that. But I try to make colorful meals, and maybe that's because I'm trying to make it up to Mrs. Tippett.