Thursday, December 27, 2012
Love Lounge: Grilling lessons
Nothing screams summer more than a nice barbecue, and since the temps here in the Midwest have been decidedly the opposite of the warm summer weather I love (think 20s and 30s...), I thought it would be fun to enjoy a little summer in December today.
Anyway, you've heard me wax poetic for the last few years about my little obsession, about that first summer when my mother and I couldn’t even get a tiny fire going, about my mother’s ever-present fear that our surrounding lawn will shoot up into one giant blazing flame and about how we’ve even contemplated throwing in the towel in favor of a bigger grill.
But, we haven’t thrown in the towel yet, and just the mere thought of grilling season, even in the dead of winter, has me wondering: Don’t the lessons learned while hunched over that tiny grill stay with you even in non-barbecuing seasons?
Bigger isn’t always better
So your neighbor may have a state-of-the-art grill: One of those huge numbers with multiple racks and the ability to be pushed around by shiny wheels. I’ve seen a few of those in our neighborhood. And I admit that I look at those for a moment, look at our grill and wonder if we should upgrade. My mother has tried to convince me a time or two that “We should get a bigger grill.” I suspect her reasoning has more to do with her fear of fire than with actual grilling gusto, but I’ve told her each time, “Our little grill does just fine for itself.” The same goes for life, doesn’t it? Substance and character go a lot further than flash and pizazz. And I’m not just talking about the searing flash of an orange fire, either.
Each year, we engage in a tough battle with our little barbecue. Just to get even the tiniest flame is a struggle, but we never give up. We throw match after match onto the black charcoal only to see it fizzle out. But we keep our calm (and I usually have to encourage my mother to relax and focus), and it’s all worth it in the end with that first bite of a charbroiled hot dog. After all, good things, whether in barbecuing or in life, come to those who wait.
A few years ago, in our quest for Barbecuing Domination, we invited our closest friends, Billy and Cheryl, over for a little tutorial. Now, I’ll admit that I was a bit saddened to hear that they have a larger grill, but I still gave them a chance. I was willing to accept their help, and sometimes in life, we have to reach out for that hand that wants to help us, whether we think we need it or not. Apparently, in our case, we needed it because our meal turned out fantastic. And it was still made on our little grill.
Getting there is half the fun
For all those times we grumbled at the grill for not cooperating with us, we knew one thing for sure: We were having the time of our lives. We were laughing and spending quality time together. It was a special journey that we could share together. And even if my mother wouldn't admit it, I think she’s actually growing quite fond of our little meat machine.
[Photos via We Heart It]