Sunday, December 23, 2012

Things Change

Okay… this is a little hard for me… I have a confession.  No I meant a confession… CONFESSION! 
Look, I was raised, by a Pentecostal mother and a Catholic father.  Mom took us to her church but we knew that Catholics confessed their sins, and to a priest at that. 
So you may be asking, what sin?  Sloth… lacking ambition… not a self-starter… for the love of God, I’m a lazy bastard!

So how did I, at the ripe old age of fifty-five, come to this self-abasing conclusion?
I started off innocently enough.  I was posting an answer to a question, on a discussion group, I belong to, on Linked-in.  A question about which smoker, a member should buy after his was destroyed in a storm.  I gave my two cents worth and that was that… or so I thought!

A few days later, posing as an innocent offer, Jim Van Buskirk, from Green Mountain Grills, sent me an email;
Hey Mad,
Can I get you hooked up with a grill to try out?
Jim?  He signed it Jim, good old Jim, and like a lamb to slaughter, I foolishly said, Sure.
With that one little word… sure, things changed.  And not just a little. But I digress.

I’m thinking about my next book and I have two titles in mind.  One on the baking of Artisan breads and the other on 50 years of cooking with fire.  As I said in my first book “The Sonoran Grill,”  I believe that cooking with fire is deeply ingrained in our DNA.  Some hidden code that was developed, when those that ate meat cooked over a fire became stronger, faster, more able to meet women!

Likewise, as a young man I found that food cooked over a fire was nurturing, delicious, it brought people together.  I could be good at something and so I put a large amount of my attention to learning and then developing my natural talents as a grill cook, a few short decades later and I had a name for myself. The press called me a “Grilling Guru!”

But back to good old Jim, he arranged for me to pick up a Green Mountain Grill at The Barbecue Island it south Tempe, Arizona, about an hour from my home.  The staff was great and there was even a rep form the company.  Looking back now I see I was like the mark getting those free drinks in Las Vegas.  They got me all hooked up, explained everything about pellet smokers… what?  Didn’t I mention pellet smokers yet?  We’ll the Green mountain Grill is a pellet smoker.  The idea is this, a side hopper holds different varieties of wood pellets, oak, mesquite, pecan… what have you. A screw drive feeds a small fire chamber, which in turn creates smoke and heat at a well thought out rate.  All of which, is controlled by a small computer, that keeps the smoker at a very precise temperature.  
Jason, the sales rep (and evil minion of good old Jim) even had the balls to offer me the remote control model which allows a person (me), that once had pride in their ability to control a pile of burning wood and craft it into an amazing meal (really amazing), to sit on their ass watching television reruns, while the smoker does all the work for you.  It even has a meat thermometer, so with one touch I can not only see what the internal temperature of the meat is I can also see what the internal temperature of the smoking chamber is, and with one more touch, I can raise or lower that temperature to speed up or slow down the cooking process, or even raise the temperature enough to sear and finish if need be. 

I once had a friend that was a resident of the state for 5 years for implementing an import scheme that violated several Federal Statutes.  While a guest of the state he read the entire DOS manual.  Upon regaining his freedom he felt ready to conquer the computer world as a well-trained tech, but a funny thing happened, The Macintosh computer and Windows.  The world no longer needed a guy that knew several hundred shortcut key commands, they could just click on the command from a drop down menu.  I remember him saying, “What next?  If this doesn’t change anyone will be able to use a computer… even children.”  Being a friend I assured him saying, “ what’s the chance of that happening?”  And so I thought, well what do you expect.  And that was okay but now this is happening in my world, with these pellet smokers, busy housewives can turn them on (clearly lighting the grill is a man’s province), toss the meat on the grill and walk away.  While doing other things she (yes boys, I said she) can produce fantastic, ribs, tri tip, and even the hallowed, brisket, while chatting with her mom… Ahhhhh no it’s too cruel, CHATTING WITH HER MOM!  Oh the humanity!

And once they know this (remember the garden, the snake, the first woman, and the tree of Knowledge,) will we, be able to stand out by the grill with our buddies drinking beer, Beer that I might add creates jobs, saying to her every time she needs us to do some little chore,  I can’t honey I’m watching the grill.  She might even say it’s okay honey I’ve already got the grill going and the ribs look great, so you can vacuum before my Mom gets here.

And here’s the worst part, like a junkie saying I’ll only try it once, then I’ll do every now and then, and soon you’re doing unspeakable things in a bad part of town just to get a fix.  I tried out good old Jim’s Green Mountain Grill.  I wrote him a nice thank you note.  But told my wife, “oh it’s okay, but I like working the charcoal, watching the meat as roasts, you know, a hands on approach!  But two days later we had a small dinner to cook and as always we were busy so I thought, why don’t I just save a little time and use the pellet smoker.  It’s been a few weeks now and my big grill hasn’t seen a fire since the Green Mountain Grill showed up.

Well there you have it, What did Patton say in North Africa, “Mechanized Warfare… no valor, no heroes, nothing reaffirmed, not for me, no sir!

Listen I gotta go, I have some vacuuming to do!

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