In the midst of Courtney’s series on schedules, I’m going to break in with a little sidebar about grilling. Before I do though, I want to commend to you Court’s posts about scheduling. She is absolutely remarkable at ordering the lives of our family and adapting quickly when things change. She is the Schedule Guru. As you can see, it’s clearly a wise decision to trust her with the scheduling for the family because she’s so great at it. I also have a planner, but I don’t think I’ve opened it since January. I think my longest record for using a planner consecutively was about three weeks. But I digress…
The first and only grill that I’ve ever owned was given to me by a dear friend. Out of his generosity he gave us an older gas grill for free that he had fixed up. I didn’t know how much I liked grilling until I had immediate access to “fire on demand” (the definite #1 benefit of a gas grill). We quickly began using the grill for many items. George Foreman Grill? I think not. Last time I checked, the only really “great” thing about the GF Grill is the fact the fat drips off. Well, guess what? It also does with a grill! Besides, where’s the fire? Anyway, there I was: a newly born–albeit inexperienced–grilling machine. Every chance I got, I grilled. If pasta could have been prepared on the grill, I would have done it. Grilling became a part of my persona. Although, there are some who want to insist that grilling is for men and men alone, that’s most certainly not true. Women can grill just as well as men. But it must be said that there’s something about mixing meat and fire together that just yells, “Manhood!” It’s really just not the same to grill vegetables, though I do it on occasion. Or should I say, I did.
Ah, now we reach the source of nearly overwhelming woe for me. Jefferson County regulations do not allow grills on a deck the size of ours, citing it a “fire hazard” (I don’t believe such a thing exists). And to make matters worse, this truth didn’t settle in until after the ink from my signature had dried on the lease. So ever since October, I’ve not been able to use an actual got-fire-in-the-bottom-of-it grill. While this may not seem to be a big deal to some, it most certainly is for me. After our grill was given to us, I grilled chicken, hamburgers, hot dogs, pork chops, and steaks. Any season or any weather–I was outside grilling. I wasn’t afraid of the flames or the heat. (Really, what’s a little third degree burn when compared with grilled goodness?) Nothing could stand between me and my grill. But now our grill doesn’t even live with us anymore. I’ve been robbed of the very thing that made “charbroiled” and “flame-licked” a reality. To add to the whole issue, I no longer have access to fire on demand. Admittedly, charcoal grills taste better than gas grills. But with the gas grill, you had an instant inferno. But in either case you get fire–and a lot of it. Now, the best I can do is light a candle or two. [Pause to brush away the tear falling from my eye.]
Understanding that there are several women who read this blog as well, you should know that I take the entire grilling process very seriously. Stereotype says that women marinade the meat, put it out, get out grilling utensils, prepare the rest of the meal, and clean up at the end. The only part that men do is flip the meat. While that has happened on occasion, I usually took responsibility for the entire meal, making quite a show of continually running in and out of the house, checking the oven, stove, microwave, or whatever, all the while trying to make sure I didn’t burn the meat. And I usually took care of the marinade and seasonings. This was not about control, but about the joy of harnessing the power of fire while simultaneously getting the additional benefit of exercise as I scurried around to prepare a low-carb, low-fat, low-calorie (yeah, right) meal of marbled steak, potatoes, corn, and rolls. But that’s what I like.
So, where does this leave us? Well, I’m certainly still grill-less. And now I use an electric skillet, which tears at the very essence of my soul. Steak on a skillet? I’m from the South, but not that far south. Sure, it works. But it’s just not the same. And the most dangerous part is running the “risk”of having a little grease splatter my arm or accidenally touching my hand against the hot skillet. Oh, how I miss the days of singed arm hairs and looking sunburned and red-faced after inadvertantly dropping one of the greasy burgers onto the lava rocks below (which, if you’ve ever done that, you know it makes for quite a show)! But I know I shall prevail, for His grace is sufficient for me. Perhaps this is the thorn in my side. Or perhaps I just eat too much red meat.