Celebrating the loaves and really delicious fishes

We’re suckers for a good First Communion — lisping little lectors, ankle socks with giant ruffles folded over patent leather shoes, crisp collared shirts and clip-on ties, dimpled chins pressed over carefully folded hands, tall priests with divine aim bending low to place consecrated wafers on tiny outstretched hands, and the shiny recognition of acceptance into a global religion more than two thousand years old.

So, we jumped at the chance to attend my niece Erin’s First Communion this past Saturday in Chicago.

Then, we heard my brother in-law Brian would be hosting a barbecue following the ceremony and we jumped a little higher.

A master griller, Brian serves a rib so tender and meaty that you have to pause a moment when you take a bite to allow your pedestrian taste buds to take it all in.

In keeping with the afternoon’s theme, he also fired up some fish — plank grilled salmon with homemade dill sauce and grilled asparagus.

To distract my drooling self, I took pictures and listened carefully as Brian explained his grilling process.

This summer, I plan to soak a couple of planks, place them over direct heat on my grill and give Brian’s plank salmon recipe a whirl.

Mostly, though, I’ll angle for another invitation to Chicago where I can sink my teeth into some of the tastiest fare in town.

Parent Paparazzi
How sweet are these kids? And, how hilarious is their reaction to the approaching swarm of parental paparazzi? Priceless.
My mother is a seat saver extraordinaire. She arrived 45 minutes prior to the start of the ceremony and staked out these bad boys. We’re thinking of renting her out for large events.
Excited Erin
First communions can be very exciting…
Pensive Erin
…and then it’s time for the pictures to be over so the guest of honor can change her clothes and get on with the important task of playing with her cousins.
Grandmas Mary and Margaret
Here are the Catholic grandmas, Margaret and Mary.
Add secret sauce to the ribs
Now, about that barbecue…Brian’s rib process is grueling and requires a separate blog entry. Here, he is adding a finally layer of secret sauce.
Best ribs you'll ever sink your teeth into
Heavenly, no?
Slide the salmon onto a wet plank
The salmon gets slathered with homemade dill sauce and placed on a wet plank over direct heat.
The plank cooks the salmon
Cover it for 10 or 15 minutes and the hot plank cooks the fish.
The done deal
The result is simply divine.
A First Communion Miracle
And the final First Communion miracle, a picture of me and my siblings in which all four of us are looking at the same camera, with both eyes open. Hallelujah!

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