Grilling in good times and in bad
by Margo Oxendine, Contributing Columnist
It’s prime time for summer cookouts. I’m sure you’ve fired up the grill several times already. Hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken and even (if you can afford them these days) steaks.
Perhaps you’ve thrown some corn on the cob, potatoes and other veggies on there. Hey — no stove to clean.
I am longing for “cookout food.” I just love it. But firing up a grill isn’t something one usually does if there are no others in your household. I really wish someone would invite me for a cookout. I’d even bring the meat. Especially the bratwurst. Oh, how I crave a hot-off-the- grill bratwurst. Not that I don’t also love hot dogs, burgers, chicken and steak. If it’s cooked on the grill, I love it.
I’d say I don’t even have a grill, but I do. It is the smallest thing Weber makes, and I’ve had it for years. I haven’t used it in years, either. I am scared to death to get near one of those giant, fancy propane grills most folks have.
My tiny Weber sure came in handy one particular summer, though. A dear friend lived within walking distance when a derecho blew through and turned us upside down. The power went out for seven days. That’s a long time to go without a hot shower, or dish washing, or TV or the stove.
Every night, my buddy would walk up the driveway, and we’d fire up the grill. We’d cook whatever was still left in the useless freezer. And just hope it hadn’t spoiled.
Hours before the derecho, I had gone grocery shopping. I had friends coming over for the Fourth of July and wanted to treat them well. So, I bought filet mignon. And a bunch of other treats that altogether cost me $300. No matter. they were great friends I hadn’t seen in a long time.
It seems I’d no sooner gotten everything packed in the freezer before the Big Blow came in and we lost power.
At least, my friend and I had the little grill. We used it every night and relished our filet mignon. It’s odd: We were in dire straits, while eating expensive steaks.
After the meat was cooked, we used the hot grill to wash dishes. We’d put on the pan of water and wait until it warmed up enough to at least rinse off the dishes. Oh, they weren’t dishes, exactly, but paper plates. Thank heavens for paper plates during that powerless time. I detest plastic utensils, so we used real silverware. No matter how tender a steak is, you can’t cut it with a plastic knife.
I sit on the porch each night, eating my stove-cooked dinner, and I can smell the neighborhood grills. It makes me hungry, even though I have food on my paper plate (a bad habit I’ve acquired).
I wish I could just show up and be invited to join the fun.
Today, I’d be happy with grilled hot dogs, complete with burn marks. Yum!