Derby Party Report

May 3, 2009

I hosted a successful derby party last night.  We watched an exciting race, consumed a great quantity of bourbon and raised over $500 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society!

In addition to mint juleps, I made a big pot of burgoo.  Never heard of it?  You’re not alone.  Burgoo is a meaty stew pretty much found only in Kentucky.  Even there, it is a very regional thing – the recipe changes depending on the county.  Ingredients differ, but the joining factor is consistency – burgoo should be soupy but thick.  You achieve this consistency through cooking it for a very long time.  Since my mother grew up in Davies county, I used a recipe from there (scroll down to see the recipe).  I couldn’t get mutton out here so I used lamb.  I also halved the recipe.  A halved recipe  still made six full quarts and I worried that N and I would be eating burgoo for a month but not a teaspoon was left at the end of the night.  It tasted pretty great, if I do say so myself.


The spread - burgoo is in the crock pot.

The spread - burgoo is in the crock pot.

If you watched the race, you understand why they call the derby “the most exciting two minutes in sports.”  The owners of the horse favored to win pulled him at the last minute because of a potential injury.  This left the race wide open – who would win?  For the first 90 seconds, it looked like Join in the Dance would win but at the very end Mine that Bird (don’t horses have great names?) snuck in along the rail and wound up winning by over 6 lengths.  Incredible.  The odds against him were 53:1, no one thought he would win.  As one sports columnist wrote, “there are probably some rich ornithologists out there right now.”  Partygoer Jeanie won four tickets to the movies for predicting two of the three top finishers.

I wanted to give more than one prize, so I added a hat decorating contest.  Honestly, I did not know if people would participate, but my friends did not let me down.  All of the decorations came from the dollar store and included fake flowers, army men, ribbon, lizards, moss and plastic fruit. 


I gave prizes for categories I came up with at the spur of the moment: most covert (see picture below – there are army men hiding in the flowers), most materials used, best use of fake blood and most obviously constructed by a children’s librarian.


Although the race was over by 3:30, the party continued on until midnight.  As  mentioned before, a great quantity of bourbon was consumed and a good time was had by all!


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