Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Out Of The Pit

I used to think that the ultimate betrayal was watching any version of Star Trek except the original William Shatner/Leonard Nimoy series. After all, one of my writing mentors was James Goldstone who directed the pilot of that series. And so I have never watched any of the subsequent permutations. I could not stoop that low.
And yet I have now stopped even lower and committed the penultimate act of betrayal.
I love to cook outdoors. I'm descended from a long line of folks who cooked by campfire. Years ago when I worked in South Central Los Angeles (Watts) I admired the pit bar-b-ques made out of barrels cut in half and welded together and mounted onto stands. So I bought one and enjoyed firing up the charcoal, watching it go out, firing it up again until finally the coals glowed and eventually were ready to use for cooking. There was just something about getting covered with smoke and watching sparks fly into the night sky.
Not so these days, though. I've finally admitted that I live in a high fire hazard area. It just didn't seem right to use charcoal and risk even one single spark flying through the air and landing on grass begging to burn. Besides the old South Central pit had rusted through.
However, here it is summer and the call of the wild is calling. Or at least the call of cooking out of doors is whispering.
Off we went, then, to Sears which has, as we well know, everything, to buy a grill. A gas grill. The final and ultimate act of betrayal and we were committing it. We were switching from charcoal to gas. The generations before me tossed in their graves and then, after all the tossing ended, admitted that cooking with gas was probably better than burning down houses all for the sake of a hot dog.
We bought a Weber Q. It's little. It doesn't use those huge tanks of gas but little canisters which last a couple of hours.
The final insult to charcoal is that I love our little new grill. It's easy. It's clean. I don't finish cooking covered in soot and smoke.
On the other hand, I also don't feel like I truly deserve the terrific meal we've just cooked.
Go figure.
Life is complicated even under the best of circumstances.

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