Monday, June 17, 2024 Jun 17, 2024
79° F Dallas, TX

Studs Terkel Was My Homeboy—Or What’s On the Menu For Your Labor Day Cookout?


After staring into my fridge for the umpteenth time this week and exclaiming out loud to anyone within earshot, “Who lives here, and why don’t they buy any food??” I’ve realized that it’s time to actually go to the grocery store. And with the long Labor Day weekend ahead of us (I vaguely remember offering to host a cookout at the family compound), I’d better get on the menu-planning ball sooner than later.

Also, apropos the holiday, back in the early 1990s I went to hear Studs Terkel speak on the topic of labor and will never forget what an eye-opener it was to finally understand what the holiday was all about. It’s a fine thing to have gotten dressed-down by the cigar-smoking big pappa of the working class. I have to admit, I was a little bit in love with him after that. So every year I offer a toast Studs (and promise to name a child or dog after him someday). Often there’s a signature drink involved. One year we created a drink called “The Working Poor,” but that bummed everybody out. Another year it was a gin concoction called “Not In My Bathtub,” but the gin made everybody mean. So a new drink is in order.

Problem is, I’m flat out of ideas. So, I’m going to steal some from you. What dishes are you making for your Labor Day gathering? And while you’re at it, any suggestions for a Labor Day-themed drink are welcome. Hell, if I get enough good ones I might even mix up a few and let the guests decide.