I bet you want to know how the tour/party went, but first one of the last things I did to clean for it. In contrast to what I talked about hearing from my steps last week, the steps themselves wasn’t white enough. It used to be a thing that everyone would scrub their marble steps every week. (This photo is Baltimore, whose rowhouses are an awful lot like Philly’s.)
The plan was always to start this tradition back up after I was done lugging building materials in but… that never happened. Anyways, my mom had bought me Comet cleanser ages ago, but I wanted Bon Ami. Not because it’s any better or anything but remember that big photo of my great-great grandmother?
Well, she lived about 500 feet away and she used Bon Ami. But I went to 2 stores and neither had it, so Comet it is. So here’s what I started with:
And here it was after the Comet. Much better but some persistent black stains still ground in.
Then out comes the Irishman and he says, “I’ll get that off for you in 10 seconds.” And he sprayed them with muriatic acid. This is NOT one of the recommended techniques for restoring historic masonry. So it was scary, especially when the marble started fizzing. But here’s the result!
Then the Irishman did his own marble – not the original slabs like I have. This time I got a photo of the fizzing.
And, never a dull moment, he hosed off his car just in case. THANK GOD it was his parked right here in case anything had happened! Also note his signature lack of personal protective equipment when working with dangerous chemicals.
Then the inside prep. We took away most of the furniture. I said early on that I didn’t want my grandmother’s table because it has a leg in every spot you’d want a chair. I guess I forgot how great a gate leg table is for something like this. And the menu. My mom said that the things other people planned didn’t include enough vegetables so I made massive amounts of hummus, baba ganoush, red lentil balls, and crudités. And remember, it makes all the difference in the world to blanch your crudités. Quench them in an ice water bath so they stay crunchy. The colors are way brighter this way and I’d say the flavor is too.
The Indonesian place around the corner (One of the places that were indispensable when I was kitchenless) provided a platter of vegetable fritters. And of course the fried food is what went. Now I’m planning every way possible to use up half a shopping cart’s worth of vegetables. And then there was how the guests fit. Definitely pushing the limits of what the Crooked House can hold. Just don’t tell the fire marshal I did this.
Obligatory bottleneck in the kitchen. The keg was out back. Some people said my kitchen design was too closed in, but I don’t think it’ll ever matter this much again (Unless I’m a beer tour host next year).
But all this make ahead, room temperature food (and the help of my parents and aunt) let me go to every house. Even though our visits to the houses before (seen below) and after mine were cut short.
I should keep this entertaining thing now.