We grew to love all that the Kentucky Derby represents while living in Kentucky for five years. They have a two week celebration leading up to the Kentucky Derby. Then, on that day, if you're not working, or at the Derby itself, you're partying. In fact, on the local news channels, they pop in on Derby parties all day. It was fun seeing what other people were doing at their parties.
Well, this year just didn't work out. We thought it would be fun to invite our families so that they could see what all the excitement was about. But, one sister had college graduation, another sister was building her kitchen, a brother was running a half marathon, and my A, had several lacrosse games out of town. So while D was out of town with two of the kids, it just didn't seem like it was Derby Day. I was feeling sorry for myself. I mean, I had even ordered my Derby hat complete with red roses for the party a few weeks ago. Now, only to go unworn.
I was down, and moping until I made a choice. I decided that the Derby must go on! I wanted it. It's a tradition, and my kids and I are worth it! Next thing I knew, we were headed to the store and bought everything needed for my Derby Day feast. Suddenly I had a bounce in my step and I felt giddy. We raced home, unloaded the groceries, and I started my regular routine.
I made two Derby pies. Yummy! It's like a chocolate chip cookie with pecans in a crust. Warm it up and serve it with fresh whipped cream.
Just before D got back in town I made the southern green beans. It was fun snapping off the ends of the beans and then tossing them with almonds, onions, and bacon in bacon grease. (I only eat them this way once a year!)
Then on to making Hot Browns. Hot Browns are native to Louisville. They were first served and made famous at the Brown Hotel. They're an open faced sandwich. It's toasted bread with slices of turkey, covered with a RICH creamy alfredo sauce, criss crossed with bacon, parmesan cheese and asparagus on top. Thrown in the broiler and served immediately. Double yum.
When D arrived, we were all eager to get going on our party. We each made ourselves Juleps, loaded our plates with our usual Derby feast, and headed out on the patio to eat. The weather was perfect. As I sat there eating, I noticed my kids faces. They loved the Kentucky Derby just as much as me. They had huge Julep cups, several strawberries each, and were talking about the derby tradition. I was happy. I was right. Just my little family and I were worth it.
After we ate, we got the girls in bed and jumped in the hot tub. When A returned home, we headed up to the family room to watch the DVR'd race. Before turning on the race, we all selected our individual horses that we'd cheer for. We sang the song, "My Old Kentucky Home", watched the horses enter Churchill Downs, and cheered for our horses during "the two fastest minutes in sports". I was smiling again, hearing those familiar words in my head, "Go, Baby Go!" It was a great race. A Cinderella story. A horse named Mine That Bird had odds of 50-1. Worst odds in the race, and he won!
It was a perfect day. I had my Derby party with my favorite guests and I went to bed smiling. It was a lot of work. But it was worth it. I was worth it. They were worth it!