Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Summer Cookouts and Burn Offerings

I don't know why I've not done as much blogging about grilling this summer. It's not like I haven't fired up my grill a time or two this year. We had a great time celebrating Independence day with grilled sausages and American potato salad. Pioneer Day, Utah's birthday, is coming up this weekend so I'll probably pull it out for that holiday, as well.

So why haven't I done it more? Or blogged about it? You got me.

It's my second year moving to charcoal. I have to admit it's been a lot of fun cooking with fire. Part of my likes cooking with charcoal more than propane. I like the smokey char it delivers. I'm pretty convinced it's not as good for the environment, though. Which side of me will win? The inner arsonist or the tree hugger? The jury's still out. I suspect that if I continue grilling as much as I am, that I'll end up getting bigger grills and using them both. Why decide if I don't have to?

I really like grilling in the summer. Even though there are moments when I have to pay attention, most of the time I get to set up a reclining deck chair on the patio, grab a soda, and let the smoke waft around me. I get to relax, something in short supply these days, waiting for the food to cook.

If I'm working on something that's going to take more time, I may grab a book to read while enjoying the sun and shade. At times like this, my girls will sometimes join me in their own patio chairs for a “sit and chat with ol' Dad.” What doting father could ask for more?

What can I say? Some days it's good to be the cook.

There's something primal about cooking with fire. Maybe that's why Steve Raichlen calls his newest show Primal Grill. It appeals to the primitive in us. Something deep in our DNA connects with the basics of fire and food. If you think about it, the sparks coming off that fire may be the very sparks of the first human civilization. Being able to cook food was a big step in our evolution as humans.

Food and fire played a big part in early sacrifice, as well. Adam built an altar for such things, and the Israelites observed the practice of the burning a sacrificial lamb, looking forward to the Messiah.

Of course, I don't think we should confuse their sacred burnt offerings, with the typical “burnt offerings” many of us will be taking off our grills this weekend. Especially if I fall asleep in the reclining deck chair.

Sweetie? Go grab Daddy another soda, will you?

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