I’m not into waiting to celebrate the big moments anymore. Mom turns eighty-eight tomorrow. There was a time we would have all waited to gather for her big nine-o. No more. If there’s something to celebrate, we do it now. This morning Maggy and Sharon are driving from Atlanta to Panama City, Florida to join the rest of us women who have gathered in Mom’s honor–her only living sister, Aunt Dot, her two nieces, Gwen and Patricia, and me.
We haven’t quite nailed tomorrow’s menu, but it’s starting to come together. Sharon’s bringing ingredients to make Mom’s favorite–coconut cake. Aunt Dot coincidentally tossed some potatoes and onions in her bag of supplies, so we could replicate Mom’s signature foil-wrapped potatoes and onions. She’d love a simple oil and vinegar tossed garden salad the way she used to do it. She’ll want garlic toast too (and if there is leftover toast she’ll spread with peanut butter for breakfast the next morning).
These grilled chicken legs remind me of my late Dad’s lemon chicken. His recipe was simpler–no pimenton or oregano–and Mom would never have splurged on drumsticks. Until the day they moved to the retirement facility, she was still buying whole chickens and cutting them into parts herself. (No wonder I could it by the time I was twelve!) She’d like this chicken too.
We’re staying at a condo on the beach, and I hear there’s a gas grill on site. If so, I think I just planned Mom’s birthday supper.
- 4 teaspoons pimenton (smoked paprika)
- 2 teaspoons each: salt, ground black pepper, oregano, and garlic powder
- 3 pounds (about 14) chicken drumsticks
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 lemon
- Mix pimenton, salt, pepper, oregano, and garlic powder in a small bowl. Drizle chicken with olive oil; toss to coat and then sprinkle with smoked paprika mixture to coat evenly. (Can be prepared up to 2 hours ahead or refrigerated over night; return to room temperature)
- Heat all burners on a gas grill on high, about 10 minutes. Use a wire brush to clean grill rack, and then lubricate it with an oil-soaked rag; close lid and make sure the grill returns to temperature.
- Place chicken on hot rack; cover and grill until impressive grill marks form on one side, 4 to 5 minutes Turn chicken over and continue to grill until impressive grill marks form on remaining side, 4 to 5 minutes longer. Turn off all but 1 burner, move chicken to opposite side of burner and continue to cook chicken indirectly until fully cooked, about 30 minutes longer. Remove chicken from grill; squeeze with lemon juice and serve.