TOP ROW: Hot dog night menu; Libby Buxton shows off Lisa Reilly's chocolate covered banana pops; The "Marks" Brothers, Kent Perkins, Mike Reilly and Tom Buxton at Burger nite.
SECOND ROW: Cynthia Marshal captures a fried snickers; Kent and Mike dote over the garnish on hot dog nite.
BELOW: John Courtis readies the veggies and ginger shrimp.
“You don’t need a special occasion; you just get togeth-
er,” said Courtis. “It’s camaraderie,” added Kent Perkins, another regu-
lar at these parties. Perkins points to the tag line of the menu the partiers
printed for one another for their Hotdog Night. It read: “Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow ... we DIET!” Hotdog Night, incidentally, was not merely about wie-
ners wrapped in buns and slathered with mustard. In nine variations, the dogs served at this party had been grilled, then drizzled, sprinkled, topped or smothered with ingredients ranging from balsamic vinegar to baked beans, from coleslaw to crumpled sausage, pico de gallo to potato chip crumbs.
Courtis said the
people who join these affairs not only like food but tend to like to cook. Or they’re at
least adventur- enough
experimen- concoctions of
their own to share — and not care if the
experiment bombs. 6 For one party, for example, Perkins prepared and
served a grilled watermelon that turned out to be a hit. “There was a wow factor involved in that people had
never heard of anything like that,” said Courtis. He and Perkins both have a knack for cooking, given
that both were once professional chefs — Courtis in Long Beach, Calif., and Perkins in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
“We will sit down at one of these gathering and start
dissecting (the recipes) to see what we could have done differently — while we’re eating,” said Perkins.
Today Courtis is the Yuma Sun’s retail sales manager,
while Perkins is an account executive for the newspaper. Others in the group come from the newspaper or from other fields. Either way, the common bond among every- one is food, not their jobs.
“We don’t talk work, we don’t talk shop,” said Courtis.
“That’s the beautiful thing. It’s kind of our escape — to eat, drink and be merry.”
The parties can occur any time of the week and can
bring together anywhere from a half-dozen to several dozen people, says Perkins.
“It’s just a group of us who like food. There’s a core
(membership) among us, but other people drift in and out,” he said.
“No one gets dressed to the nines,” Courtis added. “We know who we are.”
SouthweSt Living - CeLebrationS 2011
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