Thursday, June 28, 2012

Memorial Weekend Saga: Episode III: Return to Sender

Somehow, Sunday mornings in Parma Heights, Ohio, always seem a little rough.  We all had a great time hangin’ out the night before, stuffing ourselves with seafood, drinkin’ beer like it was going out of style, and playing bocce ball in the yard with my cousins, but the cumulative affects of plenty of partying and not enough sleep tend to catch up a little on Sunday mornings. Undoubtedly, this is the likely reason why we didn’t end up hitting the road toward home until nearly 1:30 PM that afternoon.  We weren’t moving particularly fast, nor were we in a huge hurry to say our goodbyes, so it’s any wonder that we departed significantly later than any of us truly intended.
Of course, our journey began by taking us twenty-something minutes in the wrong direction from home so that we could hit the local Restaurant Depot in order to buy the meat we’d need to turn into meatballs for the Polish Festival at Our Lady of Czestochowa church before the following weekend.  We had no other choice than to go out of our way to get the meat in the Cleveland area because the Restaurant Depot in the Detroit area would have been closed long before we’d gotten back in town and we were planning on making the meatballs all day long on Memorial Day.  In other words, if we hadn’t gotten the meat on the way home, we’d’ve been screwed.

Once we’d spent waaay too long and waaay too much money on meat and sundry goods at the R.D. in Valley View, Ohio, we finally started cruising homeward bound with the wind in our sails -- but not much else.  All of us were pooped out from an entire weekend of damn good times, though Eddie was quite a trooper and took the helm the entire journey home, for which I am still indebted!  Amanda and Chicken (my mom’s 19 y.o. bichon frise whom I had in my custody while she was partying in FL w/ her side of the family) promptly zonked out in the back seat of the Envoy and slept pretty much all the way back to Detroit.  I did my best to keep Byrnes company, though I’m fairly certain that I’d succumbed to my drowsiness at least once or twice along the way.  Fortunately enough for all of us, Byrnes managed to stay awake at the wheel, so we made it back to town -- eventually. 
We decided during the last leg of the journey to venture directly out to Casa del Byrnes in West Bloomfield so that he could assess the situation with his problematic water heater, grab a few essentials, then run out to the local Lowe’s to get the replacement parts needed to complete the job.  Evidently, he had been given an authorization number from GE or Whirlpool for the purchase of this part because it was under warranty.  This would prevent him from having to cover the cost, only to get reimbursed later on, so we went and grabbed the part, then spent altogether faaar too long discussing the purchase of this item w/ the authorization number with some bonehead in the appliance department who was less than helpful and even less courteous than that.  Be sure that we let someone know about this lack of courtesy, for none of us were in any sort of mood to deal with such bullshit at the time.

Fortunately for us, the Lowe’s that had the part Eddie needed was only a 20 minute journey, so we were back to the homestead in just under an hour after we’d left. Undaunted by all the events that had transpired up to this point, Byrnes jumped right on the project upon our return to the house, though fixing the water heater required a significant amount of his patience to wait for the 45 gallons of water to drain out of it at a trickle.  Meanwhile, I excused myself and retreated to the comfort of the Envoy and managed to zonk out for a few minutes because it felt, at this point, that I was draggin’ more ass than Oprah.  My respite was short-lived, however, because Brother Schertzer (who’s technically my uncle, which is another story altogether) called to find out what the plan was for the remainder of the evening. 
After all, it was only 9:25 PM at this point and he hadn’t packed nearly as much adventure into the weekend as we had.  He reminded me that it was a Sunday night, but that no one had to work the next day bec of Memorial Day, so there was truly no excuse for not getting people together for a squirt and some grub.  His point well made, I told him that we’re green-lighting the hanging of out for later on in the evening and that I would give the usual suspects the heads-up.  Furthermore, Byrnes, Amanda, and I were rather geeked about getting the new deep fryer fired up for the first time ever, so why not tonight??
With a second wind in my sails, I was about to head down to the bsmnt offer my assistance w/ the repair of the water heater, but it was fairly clear that Eduardo had it under control.  Hell, by this time, he had nearly completed the project, so I did what I could to help expedite our departure while he wrapped things up.  Having successfully accomplished the mission, Byrnes was able to move on with the rest of the evening knowing that this wasn’t a problem awaiting his return at a later time, for which I’m certain he was greatly appreciative.

Compared to the trip thus far, the journey back to my place from Casa del Byrnes was nod but a quick jaunt.  While en route, I made a round of calls to the gang to let them know that we intended to whip up some fried vittles upon our arrival, a get-together to which I was extending a late-but-warm invitation to join us.  Those that I had been able to contact expressed interest in coming, so we ended up with a full roster and a fun little shindig before we knew it!   
The three of us made hasty work of unloading only that which absolutely needed to be unpacked before getting right on the task of firing up the new deep fryer.  Indeed, the fryer took every bit of the two (2) 4.5 gallon containers of cooking oil we’d purchased explicitly for this purpose.  It seems as though R & V Works, the manufacturer of this powerhouse deep fryer, left a little elbow room at the top, which means that even more oil than 8.5 gallons actually fits, though is probably not recommended.  Regardless, it took less than 20 minutes to have that oil heated up to the perfect cooking temperature; a thoroughly impressive amount of time to heat up such a large quantity of oil.

It takes 2 of these jugs to
fill the new deep fryer!
Eight or so turned out for the boneless chicken nuggets, popcorn shrimp, french fries, and potato pierogies we cooked up in a flash.  Never have we had a deep fryer capable of cooking fresh-cut french fries from start to finish in just one dunk -- never.  For those of you who do not understand just how impressive this is, just ask someone who’s tried to cook fries in a small countertop fry-daddy.  Cooking the same batch of fries would take at least 4 dunks of a few minutes each in the oil, with a waiting period between each dunk for the oil to come back up to temp.  If you’ve ever had soggy, greasy fried food, it was because the oil in which the food was cooked was not hot enough to properly cook the food -- guaranteed.  Truly, the only way to mitigate the loss of heat in the oil when dunking foods (esp. frozen) is for there to be more heat present.  The only way for there to be more heat present without overheating the oil is for there to be more oil being heated, literally.  Byrnes and I formed an instant and deep affinity for this 8.5 gallon deep fryer from R & V Works because the large volume of oil allows for so much heat to be present that it only requires one dunk to cook the food!  Even copious amounts of frozen food thrown into this unit does not drop the temperature below the minimum optimal cooking temperature, which, to us, is simply awesome!  
Though there are just a few very minor cosmetic things that we would like to see adjusted on a future design for this unit, we commend R & V Works for having designed and built a great product just as it should be done -- right here in the USA!!!  Not only were we, the picky owners of this beast, both very satisfied customers, all of our friends have been impressed by the fryer giving us kudos on the purchase and accolades on the badassedness of this monster!  Needless to say, the long, arduous journey that had been the third installment of the Memorial Weekend Saga ended merrily with our stomachs full of good grub and our mugs full of suds.  What more could we ask for?

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