I miss grilling. I haven’t grilled anything for months. Admittedly, this is a self-imposed limitation. By my decree, grilling season, in Western Washington, begins in April and runs through October. The season may be a little longer or shorter depending on when the warmer weather begins and ends, but once the grill is put away, there won’t be any grilled ribs, roasts, or chickens at my house until Spring. This is a source of frustration for my family and neighbors who appreciate my grilling skills.
There are two reasons for my edict that grilling is a seasonal activity: charcoal and strawberries.
- Charcoal – When it comes to grilling, I am strictly charcoal. I’m snooty about it, too. I look down upon those who operate propane-powered ovens on their back porch. Cooking outside with propane gas is not grilling, it’s just cooking outside. Real grilling requires tending a fire: monitoring the temperature, adjusting the heat by adding more coals or reducing the amount of air that blows through the grill, and generating smoke to enhance the flavor of the food by adding wood chips to the fire. Charcoal grilling requires a lot of effort in good weather conditions, and the rain and cold in Western Washington during the fall and winter make it more trouble than it’s worth. I’ll leave the wet weather “grilling” to the button-pushing, knob-turning propane heads.
- Strawberries – Across the road from our house is a berry farm and every summer they have strawberries. Those beautiful, deep red orbs of sweetness are only available for a few weeks and people come from long distances to pick up a flat or two. While strawberries are available in the grocery store year round, I only eat strawberries when they become available at Spooner Berry Farm. The deliciousness of the berries is due, in part, to their rarity. I have to wait for them and that sense of anticipation makes them that much more desirable. We don’t anticipate much anymore. Most of what we want is immediately available to us and I believe that diminishes our ability to appreciate what we have. I think a little patience and anticipation is good for the soul, so I wait for the good weather to return before I start grilling. When the sun starts to shine on a regular basis, I’m grateful for it. And so are my family and neighbors.
Hang in there, everyone.