Meeting Invisible Friends

I’ve been around the interwebs for quite awhile. I met my husband in an AOL Chat Room (I know!) And I met my best friend on AOL, too. This was back in the last century… in fact, it was nearly 20 years ago. In those days, I would attend get-togethers for DC AOL people from time to time. Always anxiety producing for me, these meetings actually, generally, went very well.

Although if you handed me a martini, I could keep you laughing for hours with stories of internet dating. But that’s another topic altogether.

Last night, I attended a DC Food Bloggers event. Even before I left the house, I was certain I would be the oldest person in the room. I changed my clothes a million times. I didn’t want to hear “My mother has that sweater.” I was pretty terrified, but I had a secret weapon. My Party Wings.

These Asian inspired chicken wings have been a winning recipe for more than half my life. I first had them at a catered event, wrangled the recipe from the caterer, then tinkered with it until I was satisfied. I’ve never carried a single leftover back into the kitchen – they are always eaten up.

Sticky, sweet, tangy – perfect. I even made a couple of new friends last night, and I give the wings credit.

Yes, I was the oldest blogger in the room. I was relieved to see two women my age in one corner, but when I talked to them, it turned out they had crashed the party. How funny is that?

The sweets table at the DC Food Bloggers event.

In general, I didn’t feel any more out of place than I usually feel, being wracked with social anxiety, and in fact, I found I shared an interest in food, photography and restaurants with everyone I met. Yes, I will do this again. Yes, I will.

And to the Artist who made that pate en croute? It was hands-down the most delicious, beautiful, photo-worthy item there. I wish I’d taken a picture before it was cut and devoured. Kudos.

Here’s the recipe for Party Wings. Don’t forget extra napkins.

6# chicken wings, cut into three parts, the tips frozen for stock)
1/4 c fermented black beans
1/2 c soy sauce
1/4 c toasted sesame oil
1/4 c unseasoned rice vinegar
1/2 c brown sugar
1/4 c molasses
2/3 c hoisin
1/4 c horseradish
1/4 c dijon mustard
1 T minced garlic
1/2 c ketchup

Combine everything but the chicken. Stir well. Add chicken and marinate overnight, or 4 hours.
Preheat oven to 400•. Line a baking sheet with foil. Arrange wings in a single layer.
Bake the wings, basting and flipping them about halfway through. Cook a total of 45 minutes.
Taste a wing when the come out of the oven, because they’ll go so fast you won’t get one otherwise.

PS Thank you to Elyse, who has two children who explained why I had the coding showing up in the last blog post. I knew I should have had kids.

PPS Chicken pot pie is coming next.

12 thoughts on “Meeting Invisible Friends”

  1. It's like your wings are a cure for social anxiety. Well, noted for my next party with food bloggers.

    I have to say parties with food bloggers are kind of gut-wrenching. I mean, usually I am one of the better, knowledgeable cooks at a party, but at a party like that, with so many competent cooks, you can just feel like a fraud.

    You, however, don't have that problem. Cause you are the real deal. And when you do come to NYC, make sure you stop here and have a meal. I'd love to meet in person. I'll probably be so nervous, I'll have to make these wings! Ha!

    Kim

  2. I love this post, and completely understand how you feel. Sometimes far it's easier to communicate via the written word, but always, always food is the ultimate ice breaker. I look forward to trying this recipe!

  3. what a wonderful post. why cant we become friends with our "invisible friends" there are so many amazing people out there. your evening sounds like so much fun. i am also from the DC area- miss it so. lovely to hear that youre from there, i dont know, it just makes me so happy! the wings and i am sure your personality too, must have won the bloggers over. x

  4. it was GREAT to meet you, my husband has not stopped raving about those wings and when you sent me the recipe he did a little dance. i too was wracked with anxiety so it's nice to hear it wasn't just me!

  5. I so identify with this post — social anxiety stinks! Glad you had fun and the wings delivered — they sound great!

  6. Wonderful (mouthwatering!!) recipe and even more wonderful story . . . as usual. ;o) Will definitely make those wings when the boys are home from school again. I've never made wings, actually, because the boys need a rather high meat to bone ratio, given the amount of food they consume. Great idea for a potluck, too. Thanks for posting the recipe!

  7. Mrs. Wheelbarrow, I loved meeting you, wish we got to talk more, and hope you will come to the next happy hour. Your wings were delicious, but your enthusiasm for life is even better.

  8. This wings were amazing. One of my favorite items all night. And now I have the recipe, which makes me so happy!

    Btw I didn't realize we had our own Salahis! How funny!

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