So it’s my friend’s birthday, and we’re having a little get-together at our apartment. I figured I could show my appreciation for the birthday boy by cooking up a special meal (and by meal I meant party food) for him and the guests. So the day before, I asked him what his favourite food was. He didn’t have an answer for me, so replied that I can make whatever I want. I told him he would have to watch what he said, because I would then fill the entire table with olive dishes. He corrected himself and said, ok, anything without olives. (Latvians, for the most part, I’ve noticed, don’t like olives. At least the ones I’m living with.)
So what to make? What would be special enough to be birthday food, and crowd friendly? Naturally, BBQ chicken wings!
I set off to the store in search of chicken wings (none of this ready-made, cooked and glazed at the grocery store business, I’m talking raw meat!). I thought I would be able to find them, seeing as they’re part of a chicken, and chickens most certainly are sold here. And it was. Except chicken wings here come in complete wing form. Completely intact. 

Like that. I suppose you could make wings just the same with these…but I was really going for the full North American experience. That meant having to cut them. I’ve never been the biggest raw meat fan, so the prospect of having to cut through the bones of these wings disgusted me. After cutting one of them, and blood going everywhere (ok, just on the knife and cutting board, but still, blood!), I realized I was not up for this. Luckily, my roommate’s brother was around, and thankfully is less bone-phobic than I am. I guess that’s the true test of Westnern-ness: not wanting to know where your meat comes from. What can I say, the idea grosses me out! If I had to kill my own meat, then I would most likely be vegetarian. 
But back to the wings! So now we’re left with lovely, properly and to western standards wing-shaped wings, it’s time to make the bbq sauce! I made this sauce, and left the wings to marinate for a couple of hours. This is my standard BBQ sauce recipe:
Some brown sugar, dissolved in soy sauce (thank goodness they have soy sauce!), add worcestershire sauce, some tomato paste, garlic, and water until you have the consistency you want. 
So I leave the wings to marinate, then pop them on a baking sheet and bake them for 20 mins on each side, toss them in some more sauce, and voila! You have wings!

And what would wings be, if they weren’t accompanied by carrots and celery! So off I go, chopping up some veggies. And of course, the wings and veggies need some dip, right? And what could be better than BBQ wings with blue cheese dipping sauce? So I made a sauce, made up mostly of sour cream and mayo, and crumbled in some blue cheese. I don’t know if that counts, but that’s the closest I was going to get. 
After everything was ready, food was on the table, guests were seated, the wings didn’t last 5 minutes! They were snatched up almost immediately, and were an unmistakable hit. 

I wish I could say the same for the celery. This is another of those foods that they have just never had. Demonstration: one of the guests picked up a celery stick and asked if it was rhubarb. They just haven’t been exposed to it! So, needless to say, the carrots disappeared in a heartbeat, and the plate was left, full of celery. More for me!
And so the challenge continues. Hope this is as fun for you as it is for me!