My first nine and a half years in New Hampshire were spent on Wyman Street in Hillsborough. We were a close neighborhood—actually, that’s an understatement! Each Thanksgiving we celebrated as a neighborhood since most of our families lived far away, rotating to a different home each year. And if out-of-town family showed up, they were included in the fun. There was the one Christmas night when two feet of snow fell from the sky and we were all outside drinking Steve’s kick-ass homemade eggnog, singing carols, and riding 4-wheelers through the drifts. And every summer my ex and I held a huge barbecue to celebrate the Hillsborough hot air balloon festival.
Summertime was the best in the neighborhood. An ordinary workday evening would find everyone sitting on my front lawn until the mosquitoes ran us inside. We would chat while the kids played on the grass or zoomed their bikes down the road. One night we even took sidewalk chalk to the newly-paved street to leave our marks until the rain washed them away.
Sometimes, especially on the weekends, a spontaneous cookout would take place. Often it stared when we were hanging out on my deck when dinnertime approached and one of us would ask, “Want to cook something on the grill?” Then we would all take inventory of our respective refrigerators and freezers, making a quick run to the grocery store when necessary. Most of the time the menu consisted of hot dogs, hamburgers, and linguica (a Portuguese sausage.)
I went back to the ol’ neighborhood one more time this past week to visit my friends before I head west. As we sat in my friend Kathy’s front yard, all the memories came back. I will miss those times and these friends very much.
My neighbors were also my best taste-testers when I developed recipes. In their honor, here are three from an article on Kansas City-style barbecue that I wrote for the Concord Monitor in 2004. The barbecue rub and sauce were developed with the neighbors as taste-testers. And Kathy’s potato salad is requested for every cookout. (So are her deviled eggs, but I haven’t gotten that recipe…yet!)
Linda’s KC Rub
5 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup paprika
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon dried thyme
Mix all of the ingredients together and store in an air-tight container until ready to use.
Linda’s KC Barbecue Sauce
(I like a lot of celery seed in my sauce, but if it’s not one of your favorite flavors, just cut the amount in half.)
1 24-ounce bottle of Muri Glen organic ketchup
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon black pepper
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons celery seed
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce or favorite hot sauce
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon liquid smoke (optional)
Combine all ingredients in a 2-quart sauce pan. Bring to a boil, then lower temperature and simmer for 30 minutes. Use right away, or refrigerate in a covered container until ready to use.
Kathy’s Potato Salad
3 pounds red potatoes, cut into cubes with skin on
2/3 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon fresh or 1 teaspoon dried dill
1 tablespoon fresh or 1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 medium red onion, diced
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Boil potatoes in salted water until just done. Drain. In a large bowl mix the remaining ingredients and then toss in the potatoes. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours before serving.