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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

And Now, A Word About Grilling

And that word is “yes”. Or better yet, “yes, please.”

I don’t care what you put on a grill. Meat, vegetables, fruit, bread, bits of old string – everything’s a treat on a charcoal grill. Even the cheapest of hot dogs, charred ever so slightly on the grill? What you got yourself there is a tasty dinner! They’ll be back for seconds!

There are people who will tell you that a propane grill is just as good as charcoal, even better, because it’s “more convenient”. Those people are lying to you and cannot be trusted.

Convenience is not the name of the summer-grillin’ game. It’s all about the flavor. (That’s “flavor”, and not “flava”, something else entirely that may result in your own reality show and perhaps gold orthodontia – a completely different kind of “grill”.) A propane tank may be more convenient, but it sacrifices flavor; and if we’re willing to sacrifice flavor, where do we go from there? What are the other shortcuts we’ll be taking? Replacing showers with Wet Ones?

Summers in Minnesota are precious and prized seasons. You know the joke, don’t you? Minnesota: Nine months of winter and three months of bad sledding. Man, the day the temperature hits 45 degrees, we’re outside in shorts. We shed our layers as we leave the house. There goes the coat, the scarf, the sweaters, the hats and gloves. Pale and blinking against the sun, we step outside and into our parks and backyards. It may have been five months since we last walked through our own yards, and we stumble, gratefully, toward our patios, our garages, looking for our grills, our croquet sets. Don’t tell me we can’t wait another 45 minutes for the coals to get ready!

So much of what we do and how long we allow ourselves to do it has boiled down to convenience, hasn’t it? Well dagnab it, people, I’m taking a stand! No more hot dogs blown up in the microwave! No more food that’s been delivered to me through a drive-through window! No more microwaveable queso dip! No more canned soup!

OK. Well maybe I’ve gone a bit far with that. There’s nothing – ahem – wrong with canned soup. (Please see an earlier blog entitled “An Unsolicited Endorsement”.) Canned soup has many redeeming qualities, can keep you from having to run out and spend ridiculous amounts on lunch, and has recently become an office desk-drawer staple.

It’s very convenient, you know.

But I remain firm on my charcoal grill stand.

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