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November 2003 Issue
Friends, Thankfulness and Other Musings
by Rossana S. Tarantini
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I’m late for deadline again. This time though, I have to admit, probably for the first time in the over five years that I’ve been occupying space here at Seasoned Cooking, I actually forgot about the column.

But thankfully, Ronda always understands about things like that, so here I am.

I belong to a chat room group that had its home on MSN until recently. It was a BBW room (Big Beautiful Women) and had a membership of over 1500. On any given day in the chat room you would find anywhere from 60 or more people chatting, making friends and so on. It was an Ontario based room so most people don’t live too far from one another and we would often get together in “real time” to party.

As time progressed, in fact, we got to the point where we are now having these get-togethers (GTs) every weekend. Of course not all 1500 members turn out for them. But we usually get around 40 – 50 at any given event. Mostly we meet at a bar, club or restaurant, more often than not close the place down and then move on to the closest all night Golden Griddle for breakfast. It isn’t unusual to find myself getting home when the sun is rising.

We’re mostly Canadians, in fact mostly from Ontario but we do have some members in further flung places. Like Peachess, Spaceman and Dazz (chat room nicks) who are in Buffalo. As Peachess laughingly puts it, they’re American from Monday to Friday, but most weekends they’re Canadians. And it’s true; most weekends find this trio heading across the border to wherever the GT is to be held. We’ve had card nights, karaoke nights, we’ve met for lunches and brunches, had make-over nights, there’s even a group of us in Kingston that meets monthly to go to Yuk Yuk’s. Nov 8th a bunch of us are heading to Buffalo for some NY hospitality and a lesson in shopping a la Peachess. As you can see, we have them all over, not just in Toronto, but in Hamilton, Oshawa, Ottawa, Kingston, London, and most recently Hockley Valley.

That’s where this column comes in. I live in Hockley Valley. Just this past weekend (October 11th since this won’t be online till month end) I hosted our first BBW BBQ at my home in Hockley Valley. To say we had a great time doesn’t even begin to cover it. It was awesome. The basic premise was a season end BBQ to close out what has been an exceptionally busy summer for the BBW group members. The BBQ was easy to do. Everyone brought whatever they were drinking and grilling and in addition, they all brought a contribution to the salad or dessert smorgasbord. We had all manner of wonderful food: meatballs, ravioli, butter chicken and saffron rice, dahl, several versions of potato salads, pasta salads, green, Greek and Caesar salads even a taco salad. And desserts were just as varied including butter tarts, chocolate pecan pie, coffee cakes, pumpkin pie, chocolate cake, the list goes on and on, but let’s not forget s’mores by the bonfire later too. We had a turn out of over 50 people. The day started around 4 in the afternoon on a gorgeous fall day, sunny and warm. The grills were fired up at 7 and by 9 they had the beginnings of a blazing bonfire going at the bottom of the property. We had music compliments of Tony2Toes and the party was well under way.

Some guests left in the wee smalls, but many stayed overnight. We had a couple of tents pitched (brave souls) but the majority found a spot somewhere in the house, albeit some on the floor. The party itself was over around 6:15 am when the last hardy souls had to douse the bonfire to put it out and finally crashed. I think I had about 25 actually staying overnight. The house was awake again by about 9 and by 10 the New York contingent was busily preparing brunch “the way it should be”. One of the good things about it all was that everyone pitched in to clean as well and by the time the last partiers left, at 5pm on Sunday, the house had lost all but the most miniscule traces of the crowd it had hosted.

Sad part is that on Tuesday, MSN changed its chat format and all of its rooms went to subscription only. Although we had “known” it was coming it threw us for a loop, so we’re temporarily homeless till Birkita (our chat room guru) can fine tune the settings on a new room. We’re scrambled here and there throughout the ‘net still managing to keep in touch. And it won’t be long before we have a place to call home again. The GTs go on though, there’s one in Oshawa this weekend (Oct 18th), we play euchre at starrlaca’s house on the 24th, we’re heading to the opening of a new BBW nightclub in Toronto on the 25th, the 1st of November sees us at our old haunt, the Wally in Toronto, for a Halloween GT complete with costumes and the 8th sees us trekking to Buffalo for a shopping GT. There will be more. There always are. We are a social bunch and have fun together.

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