Frogmore Stew and a story

First of all, let me say that there are no frog legs in this dish.  From my understanding (aka internet research) the name comes from it's origin- South Carolina, from the county of Frogmore. I discovered this recipe when I was reading an issue of Cooking Light.  It looked safe enough, and I'd never tried it.  I'm always up for trying a new recipe, so I did. I tried it out on some friends of mine, and it is now an annual summer event! Here's the recipe, and if you'll humor me, a story about the friends to follow.
Frogmore Stew:
You will need a very large cooking pot- either that or split the ingredients evenly to 2 big pots. I used a 10 qt. and a 12 qt.

For 8 people:
  • 20 cups of water
  • 3/4 cup of Old Bay Seasoning
  • 2 lbs red potatoes
  • 10 ears of corn, cut into 3" cob pieces
  • 3 lbs large shrimp- deveined, shelled
  • 2 1/2 lbs. of andouille or spicy sausage, cut into 2" pieces

 Bring water and Old Bay Seasoning to boil in stockpot.  Add in potatoes and cook for 15 minutes.  Next, add in sausage and cook for 5 minutes.  Add corn and cook for another 5 minutes.  Last, add in shrimp and cook for 5 minutes or until pink.  When shrimp is done cooking, pour all ingredients into large colander and drain.  You can either put it on a large serving platter, or traditionally, serve on a table covered in newspaper (as long as your table won't get ruined from the heat!) I opted for the platter  :)
You can serve this with cocktail sauce, lemons, whatever you'd like, but the seasoning that everything is boiled in, really flavors it well.

We had a great time that evening. Here's some pictures and the story behind some of the crazy people you'll see here:
the menu for the night

getting ready to cook!

we had an Italian soda station for the kids

The appetizers: some Caprese skewers- fresh mozzerella with basil leaves and cherry tomatoes- so yummy and easy!

dinner alfresco

digging in to the great food!

we had a Candy Bar Lineup for the kids (sound familar? ...the theme was inspired by a Seinfeld episode...)
we picked out a few random candy bars and let the kids do taste tests, then revealed the wrappers.
We had a fantastic night eating, laughing, and playing games.

Now for the story.
The friends that came over for Fromore Stew have a long history together. 
First, there were four boys. They grew up in church together, and some of them went to school together.  Eventually, they all ended up at colleges in the L.A. and San Diego area.  These four boys went on to meet 4 pretty girls and got married.
Here's a picture of the couples from a vacation in 2008:

L to R: Mark, Tiffany, me, Jon, Brian, Janie, Rex, Lois

It all started after these four boys brought their brides back to their hometown.
The newlyweds wanted to connect with other young married folk and have some accountability and maybe even have some fun together.  So they started a Bible study at one of the couples homes, and started meeting together weekly.  Shortly after they started meeting they decided to let each person have a night- sort of a get to know you time- so we posed one question to each person. 
What Has Made You Who You Are Today?
We got to know each other pretty well from that one question.  It was sort of therapeutic. Like Group Therapy we joked.  And so the name stuck.  The friends became known to each other as Group Therapy, or Group.
What we didn't realized was what this friendship would lead us to in our 17 years together.  These people have seen me at my worst, my best, my most vulnerable and painful moments. They have shared in my joys and my growing up adult years.  We've been through just about everything you can imagine- first homes, infertility, adoptions, the death of a firstborn, miracle pregnancies, holiday celebrations, vacations together, working together, cancer, two of the couples moving away; and eventually moving back, youth work, a near fatal car rollover, starting businesses, job changes, and of course, nights like this.  We have an annual wine tasting party in the fall, and now, summer Frogmore Stew.  They are celebrations of what we have as friends and the making of more wonderful memories. 
Isn't that what home is all about?

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