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Monday, June 1, 2009

What's cookin'?

I love to cook. It has always been my big dark secret because if people knew I loved to cook then they would expect me to do it all the time. But I haven't always loved to cook... And to be honest- shhhhhhhhhh, it's a secret- I haven't always been very good at it either.

One time, several years ago, I decided to invite a few friends over and I was going to grill out- you know, have a backyard BBQ/ cook out type of thing. Everyone arrives, we mix some drinks and I decide to light the grill.

Have I mentioned I'd never USED a grill before? In my life, men had always grilled but I thought it didn't look that hard and that I could do it... Ummmmmm, well....

It was a charcoal grill and I didn't know about the easy light kind of charcoal so I got the cheap kind and doused it in lighter fluid. And then threw a match on it and closed the lid. That was the first among a long list of mistakes. Another error was grill placement- it was in the driveway, but sort of near the actual garage, sitting under the garage overhang, sort of close.

When I flipped the lid up about 15 minutes later a ball of flame shot straight up and POOF- the garage over hang was... well, it was on fire- a small fire with more smoke than flame, but nonetheless on fire. Party guests were standing open mouthed, someone party fouled by spilling beer in shock while another friend grabbed the hose and doused the grill, the garage and me. I wasn't on fire- other than my face being red with embarrassment- and I sort of had a POOF of soot on me- I think she just wanted a chance to hit me with the hose.

This was not what you would call my best moment so the men of the party took over the grill. I picked up the platter of meat, took it in the house, rinsed it off and the guys threw it on the grill. I also changed clothes since I was dripping wet. The rest of the night went off without a hitch.

And I will now publicly admit that I never told my landlord what happened; I just cleaned off the soot, nailed some boards up and then painted the hell out of the "charred" area

But I have decided I want to learn to grill. I have done without grilled food during the major parts of my life when I am sans a man and that's stupid because I LOVE steaks and chicken on a grill. Why am I missing something I love just because there is no testosterone operating the meat over flames? I've learned to kill spiders and take out the trash, so I've decided I MUST learn to grill.

Over the years as I've had one cooking disaster after another as I learn the craft, I'm usually making a cooking fool of myself in front of others. And since I'm still living in Daddy-O's attic I haven't wanted to learn to grill and ruin food that he bought or make him feel like he should take over and grill FOR me.

So Daddy-O is leaving on vacation tomorrow and while he's gone, I decided I'm going to learn to grill. Daddy-O has a charcoal one and I can just mess with it until I get it right or until I give up, or until I burn the garage down- Oh just kidding, that won't happen! (But I do notice that Daddy-O made sure his insurance was paid current before he left...hmmmmmmmmmmm)

While I was visiting Farrago a few weeks ago, I teased him a little bit because he was timing to the second our steaks, but I guffawed too soon and I'm glad he didn't make me eat my words but instead he made me eat a great steak and his perfect timing was worth it. He shared his secret AND he also told me his secret to grilling an entire chicken on a grill without needing a rotisserie. Daddy-O also told me a secret to charcoal lighting. I've read some cookbooks for grilling and some online articles. I am ready!

I plan on trying some steaks and making chicken and adding my homemade BBQ sauce. I'm armed with knowledge, meat, the grill, and charcoal. And the fire extinguisher.

Daddy-O doesn't have a thing to worry while he's gone! I know where the garden hose is located and I know how to dial 911!

Soon to be a Grilling Queen,
Maggie

2 comments:

Hecate said...

So when's dinner?

Farrago said...

Good luck! It's easier than writing a grant.

And thanks for the kind words (again). I never realized I had a secret. Damn! I blabbed it!