When I was in Target recently, I saw a Grill King apron, and I got a little mad because I didn’t see a Grill Queen version nearby. (Thankfully, Zazzle has my back!) I know there are other lady grillers out there, but like Rodney Dangerfield, it seems like we don’t get no respect. (Except for the people coming back for seconds of what we’re cooking… maybe that’s not such a big gripe after all!)
How did I become a grillnista? And why? I have fond memories of cookouts as a child, the sight of the smoke, the smoky smell in the air, the smoky taste imparted to everything coming off of the grill. This was at relatives’ houses, as my father wasn’t a big griller, but I guess that made it even more of a big deal at my house when the little grill was pulled out, along with a sack of charcoal. It a highlight of the summer to eat outside at my house, dining on burgers lovingly coated with barbecue sauce.
As an adult, I’d say I enjoy grilling because:
- It adds another dimension of flavor to everything. Compare baked chicken to grilled chicken, or a burger made on the stove vs. one tattooed with parallel lines from the grill. The grill literally and figuratively leaves its mark on the food that arrives on your plate. It becomes your sous-chef.
- I like the fast-paced nature of grilling. Having to pay attention to the progress of the food, moving it from a hot zone to a cooler zone to keep it from getting overcooked, searing sides long enough that they get crisp over the flames but not burned… And as Steve Raichlen always alludes to, there is a sense of performance art to it as well. I guess it appeals to the part of me that always wanted to be a DJ, in the art of observation and manipulation required to be a success.
- As someone who is trying to bring healthier food to my family, I like that the grill enables me to make delicious meals without the use of a lot of fat (as long as you’re choosing lean meats, of course).
- It also doesn’t hurt that having a grill outside during the summer beats being holed up in a kitchen, with the warm weather, stove and oven conspiring to create a sauna. Cooking al fresco is a special treat for me when the weather allows.
Salute to all the grillers out there! And if you are a fellow grill queen, I send a special wave of my grill fork to you and ask that you speak a little on what has lured you to cook over open flames.