My Father: Host and Grill Master
Recently a friend from high school, Paul Wood, died. He was well known as one who loved to share food, especially that which he himself cooked. I recall he also won some barbecue contests?
His passing reminded me of my father's passion for hospitality and grilling. The latter was a family tradition on both sides. A 55-gallon drum turned into a grill, mesquite wood, slow cooking, smoked, an oil & vinegar baste, and the semi-secret ketchup/worcestershire sauce/lemon based barbecue sauce. At family gatherings and reunions, the men folk would hang by the grill, drinking Pearl beer (think 3.2, perhaps Coors Light style). My great-grandmother was unparalleled at catching and quickly dispatching chickens with a flick of her strong wrists and the women folk would do the plucking, but the grilling was a man's thing.
My father was a natural party host and was first to volunteer to grill up chicken and ribs. His face would light up watching guests enjoy their meals. When my parents moved back to Texas in 1979, the company for which he worked hosted customers at the "deer lease" in Central Texas or at golf tournaments, with my father manning the grill. Eventually, he had a huge, trailer-sized grill fabricated, on which he said he could cook a full cabrito, a dozen chickens, ribs and more. I do believe he enjoyed the spectacle of pulling up to the party with this monster grill. When he died, we found Costco sized supplies of party goods - paper plates, plastic utensils, napkins, Solo cups - in the attic ... remnants of who knows how many meals.
My brothers, my husband and now, my son, follow the grilling tradition, though, at our home, vegetables get cooked in the process. It is a commitment to cook this way. Hours during which to play games or hand down family stories.
A place to decant my brain, to capture inspiration and share fresh insights. [Posts from 2015 onward]