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July 27, 2005



When I was little, we had a tiny kettle grill. The ritual of chimney-starting the coals in a coffee can, of the squirt of lighter fluid and the tossing of the match was terribly interesting, because of course I wasn't to play with fire, so I really wanted to. Later, I was allowed to stack the coals, squirt the fluid, light the match--do everything but toss the match in, under the careful supervision of my dad. And of course, everything tasted better when grilled. Our grilling was a dry sort, with no sauces interfering. The meat would be rubbed with spices, sit to "marinate", then be grilled and devoured. It's the kind of memory that blends into an ur-grilling experience, where there's nothing distinct and singular--all grilling is remembered as one, and every summer day is remembered with the scent of charcoal and the taste of grilled meat.


(By the way, neat contest! Smoky Market's ribs look delicious.)


Great story! I too loved fire but scared myself silly as a tot lighting a long fireplace match by myself. I didn't realize that I could create real fire on the end, and when it lit I freaked out and dropped it and ran from the room. Took years before I'd light a match again!


I grew up in Singapore (although I'm an American) and the barbecues there were so delicious---all kinds of seafood: squid, prawns, and more. And usually there would be curry dishes to be sopped up with crusty bread, warmed on the grill. When we moved, I was 13 and absolutely didn't want to leave my friends, and they threw us a big going away barbecue. It will probably never be replaced as the top barbecue experience of my life!


Claiming a GC for Susan who replied via email rather than via web...


I think I have pretty much the same memory as Vani, watching Dad barbecue in the back yard -- from an exceptionally safe pre-assigned distance, of course! I remember looking across the top of the open grill, my view of Dad distorted by invisibly rising heatwaves. The grill just compounded the effect of the swelteringly humid midwest-summer air, but Mom always reminded us it was cooler than cooking inside! Steaks and freshly harvested corn from our own backyard was our favorite summer meal. I don't have the grilling gene, unfortunately -- maybe it was too much watching and not enough doing as a youngster? -- but my SO is an amazing griller (grilleur??? grilland???).

*His* favorite ribs come from Delancey Street... whenever we go, he insists he's going to try something new, but each and every time, you guessed it, he orders the ribs. For my part, I never tease him about it because the ribs come with Sonny's Mother's Sweet Potato Pie, which is amazing, and I want to maximize my access to shared sweet potato pie!


Do I win?
I believe that man's inate desire to grill everything comes from our caveman roots. Pterodactyl a'la orange spit roasted over an open fire with the clan gathered around grunting stories about the days successful hunt. From the first time I heard the sizzle of meat as it hit the hot grill, I had succumbed to my inner Cro-Magnun and new BBQing was my destiny. How I long for a rack of dinosaur ribs served hot from the grill. Or better yet to have a humungous grill that could handle ribs fit for Fred Flintstone. I bet they would be a little gamey, so I would have to go with a tangy sauce and a big wine. Zinfadel anyone?


Yeah, yeah, yeah, Bill, you're not too late. You get the final GC. You can't expect these ribs to be as good as your own, though...

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