I have a grill, purchased when we moved into our house five years ago. Every house should have one, I thought. I have put food on the grates and cooked, myself, without assistance, about three times. Grilling, still, in these modern times, is male domain. About sixty percent of all outdoor cooking is done by men. A casual sampling of males I know turns up a higher percentage, even on gas or electric contraptions, on which women tend to participate more.
We have a charcoal grill, which requires some knowledge of science and engineering, I am learning. On Saturday, I thought we should use it. The weather was just right. At 5:15, I lit the fire. We ate at 8. This is a long time to the plate for a process that is supposed to be convenient. About three coals turned gray. The other 900 didn’t. I tried to cook four hamburgers and four chicken breasts over the three coals. After a half hour, the meat was raw. I could put my hand on the grill without incident.
“Girls,” I said to my daughters and their friend, “I don’t think it’s getting hot.”
Laughter all around. I threw an entire box of matches on the mound.
“Should I call my dad?” the friend asked.
Horrified I was at the suggestion, four-foot long tongs clenched in my fist. “Absolutely not. I can do this.”
“Maybe, start over,” she said.
I took the meat off of the grill and put it on a plate. Then, I sprayed the coals with the lighter fluid that I am afraid of, and tossed a match on the pile. I stood across the street to do it. Thinking the coals were lit, I put the meat back on the grill. I was getting really hungry. My entire being smelled like a smokehouse. I was a smokehouse. It took an hour to cook the burgers and the chicken, and that is without the finale in the microwave. And, we needed new buns because all the pink juice drenched the original ones.
When we were done eating, the fire was perfect. I filled up the teapot with water and poured it on the grill. Sizzle sizzle.