Is there anyone, anywhere, short of those with nuclear capabilities, who wields as much power and confidence as Grill Man?
He hunts–going to EarthFare or Fresh Market–for meat…never a regular (oh, the horror!) common, ordinary grocery store. Like an explorer to the East, he rarely returns without a new rub or marinade.
Sometimes he fishes…at the dockside fish market, thus earning the right to his swashbuckling swagger.
Man grilling is completely different from woman grilling. A woman lights the grill, runs back in to work on the potatoes, starts making the salad, and sets the table. A man fires up the grill, turns on music, grabs a beer, and kicks back in a deck chair. His scepter and sword (spatula and tongs) lie nearby at the ready.
This trip to the beach house-not-on-the beach I did not buy many groceries in the hopes of eating out–often. My plan has had mixed results. The rain dampened our enthusiasm for going out, so we’ve had frozen pizza as well as tomato soup–twice–that I jazzed up a little. Yesterday, however, DB hunted and gathered, going to the dockside market where the fishing boats come in. The market carries a few vegetables for one-stop convenience, so he had bought corn, tomatoes, and cucumbers along with freshly caught flounder.
Excellent job, DB! We had a bag of lettuce in the fridge. It was going to be a quick, easy, healthy meal.
While I don’t know how I WANT him to do it, something about the way he begins the process raises my dander. We were watching the news and enjoying a glass of wine when he suddenly announced, “I’m turning on the grill.”
It’s something about his tone every time he makes that pronouncement that I’m still trying to identify: quite solemn, along the lines of Will you please stand for our national anthem... Elvis has left the building… or perhaps, Begin the anesthesia.
“Are you going to do the corn on the grill?” I asked him. No, the doctor will be leaving that task to his staff.
The Lighting of the Grill is not unlike lighting the tree at Rockefeller Center or the fireworks with the Boston Pops. He can make a ceremony of anything and our kids have fond memories of Dad’s traditions. For instance, the first snow in Wisconsin always meant driving to the church and doing wheelies in the parking lot. He helped Santa arrange the toys so artfully that Macy’s window dresser could have learned a thing or two. The Thanksgiving turkey? OMG, don’t even ask.
Then comes The Procession of the Sacrifice. I promise you that if Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton, Queen Elizabeth, and Oprah were mingling between Dearly Beloved and his grill, he would not hesitate to direct them to “STAND BACK!” as he and his plate of meat begin the royal, Magi-like walk to the grill.
I jumped up to begin shucking the corn as he and Miss Piggy headed outside for the lighting ceremony. I was just taking the shucks out to the compost bin when he called out from his deck chair, “Is everything else ready? This will be done in about thirty seconds.”
I sprinted back to the kitchen and was throwing together a salad when he came in bearing the Chef D’oeuvre. Judging from his entrance, it could be the Holy Grail on that platter, could be grilled flounder.
It is not a good thing if the rest of the meal is not ready and plated. Sometime during the meal he might lament, “The meat got a little cold.” I know his index fingers are itching to rub one over the other, like trying to start a fire with two sticks, in the international Junior High SHAME sign. This time he was mellow, giving no indication that the sous chef had under-performed.
The move that always tickles me most is that five seconds after picking up my fork, he will ask me, “How IS it?”
God forbid that I should take a bite of something I prepared first.
It was delicious. The world could continue in its natural orbit. As usual, I searched to see if there was a silver bullet beside my plate.
Thanks, Grill Man.