The Summer Barbeque
Many of us celebrate the summer by unplugging the oven. We think that this cost saving measure will compensate for the air conditioning usage, that tend to dramatically increase our hydro bills during the hot summer months. What we discover, when we open that first summer bill, is we should have unplugged the house.
As we celebrate this time of year, gentlemen take advantage of using their barbeques, as a symbol to show they are supreme experts in the art of outside grilling. Those of us who live slightly north of the Mason Dixon Line all realize that the season to cook outside is short, as The Game of Thrones keeps reminding us that “Winter is Coming.”
There was a time, and by a time I mean my father keeps reminding there was a time when barbequing was a very simple procedure. I do have fond memories of my dad standing outside over a circular, three-legged device that was responsible for each evening’s slightly burnt meal. The family barbeque was filled with charcoal. My father’s secret weapon was lighter fluid. He would spray this natural ignitor with reckless abandon to demonstrate to the onlookers, his mastery over fire. His eyebrows were very scorched in those days.
Well that was then and this is now. Today the sophistication of outdoor cooking apparatuses is profound. Now all you English majors are mentally correcting my use of the plural of apparatus. Sadly the correct plural is apparatus or apparatuses not apparati. This will challenge your understanding of Latin roots, however it seems in the 18th century scholars pretty well gave up on all this pluralizing of Latin words. The good news is when you are determining the many centers to the edges of your many barbeques, you can declare you have discovered the radii of the apparatuses you use.
Now let’s address the proliferation of multiple outdoor cooking systems. The first question you might ask is “Why are there so many choices for outdoor barbeques?” Actually the first question you might ask is “Why doesn’t this author get to the point?” If you would stop interrupting me, that is precisely what I am trying to do.
I have an unsubstantiated theory about how this all began. I believe many years ago the world business gurus had a secret meeting at the Trump Tower hotel in New York. The purpose of that meeting was to address the sad state of affairs with the current barbeque market:
World Business Guru 1: Well we have convinced the female population that they must spend over $1,000 for a Coach, Michael Kors, Prada or any other purse with a name on it. We must now find a similar strategy to tap into this underdeveloped male population market. I suppose our real challenge will be that this male population is genetically so underdeveloped.
World business Guru 2: Yes our success with the women of the world is pretty well complete. I thought our piece de resistance was when we convinced the ladies that $200.00 is a reasonable price for Yoga Pants.
World Business Guru 3: Before we create our male strategy, why don’t we review our Starbucks model, where we conspired with both women and men, that a cup of coffee should be $9.37 if we add leather couches to the coffee shop.
World Business Guru 1: Superb suggestion my learned colleague.
World Business Guru 2: Well, clearly we can achieve success with the masculine gender, we just need to focus on the right item.
World Business Guru 3: What item do the men believe they control in a typical household? What is the simplest device available, that even a monkey could operate, yet males feel like geniuses when they use it?
World Business Guru 1: Hmm.
World Business Guru 2: Hmmm
World Business Guru 3: Hmmmm
All: The Barbeque!
After that meeting the males didn’t have a chance. The typical forty-nine dollar barbeque immediately skyrocketed to other designer like cookers, that now started at about one thousand dollars.
This was considered the pedestrian form of BBQs. This old standard had become so passé, that many guests questioned your integrity if that is the best you can do. The good news is you probably forgot to refill the propane tank, so those half cooked burgers were never going to be eaten anyway. Well technology coupled with the male tendency to buy the best toy, has changed the fundamental engineering of this old style cooking choice. Right now there is a sale at GrillTech on an infrared Propane Gas Grill. It was $3,999.00, but if you order today you can get it for a steal at $3,599. http://grilltechs.com/new-patio-fr.html/
The Green Egg
The original ceramics for this barbeque were developed by NASA for the space program. This is not a lie. Essential and constant airflow within the design are revolutionary for this odd looking masterpiece. Note: The Green Egg users now act like cult members, as owners of this device will constantly try to convince you to join their brethren. Some of the more fanatical owners will refuse to come to your house if you don’t use the Green Egg. This new options starts at the unbelievable low price of $1,283. That price of course gets you none of the accessories needed to achieve the grilling magic they guarantee.
Now most people are against smoking. I appreciate this is not the type of smokers we are talking about here, I just thought I would remind everyone that smoking is no longer tolerated in most churches. I will check back with you on the Rastafarian’s position on this new law.
When you go to a summer BBQ where the host has a smoker, you need to be a little respectful of the pre-work done for your dining pleasure. Most smokers require the barbequeist (that is not a word, not even in Latin) to place the meat in the vessel three weeks before the party begins to ensure the optimal tenderness of the meat. Smokers are not for the spontaneous types. There is an unwritten rule about Smokers. Never question the quality of the offering, because it exposes your ignorance of what marathon cooking is all about.
These are just a few of the many options for males to select, as they demonstrate their superiority over their fellow man. One nice side effect of this new barbeque phenomenon, is that if you are very lucky, every male will give you a brief one hour explanation with intricate detail, the purpose of every button, grill, vent and option they have purchased to ensure your hot dog is the best you have ever eaten.
Postscript: It is worth repeating that husbands enjoy their moments at their grill. Most wives prepares everything else. The spend hours of work to prepare the salads, the appetizers, the vegetables, the picky children’s meals and the dessert. The husband stands at the their designer barbeque flipping things for about 15 minutes and for most of the night, all the guests praise the man for all his hard work.
Cue the Blong: Enjoy your summer weekend folks.
Enjoyed your “origins of the designer BBQ” rant although I am not sure that there is a plural of apparatus – just as there is no plural of “weather”.
We have just said good-bye to a family of six English relatives (including four young women from ages 22 to 15) who have been staying with us. When they arrived we invited another 32 close family members to our home for a welcoming BBQ. (if you are counting you should be at 38, then and two for Elaine and me.)
My youngest brother fancies himself as a BBQ expert and so I acceded to his request to wear the apron while various other siblings and close relatives kept him in beer. What a disaster! Charcoal veggies, undercooked beef, bloody chicken – you get the picture.
What makes men think that they can turn BBQ tongs into magic wands when they approach the BBQ?
Wow Tom, that is quite a story. Thanks for sharing and thank God they were English as they were probably very mannerly about the quality of the food. Stiff upper lips are highly under appreciated.