Tag Archives: Grilling

Here Comes the Sun

Image by Karsten Paulick from Pixabay.

“Little darling, it’s been a long cold lonely winter
Little darling, it feels like years since it’s been here
Here comes the sun.”
                                                —The Beatles

Decades ago, a science book convinced my brother Ned the sun was a star.

I scoffed. How could the big, round, yellow sun and white, diamond-chip stars be one and the same? Anybody with a brain could tell the difference.

Besides, had anybody ever suffered from star burn? Huh? Huh?

Image by Pexels from Pixabay.

Eventually, my teachers forced me to admit Ned was right. However, this April, I find myself playing cynic again. Despite Indiana’s strong evidence to the contrary, scientists insist the sun is still there.

Whether you believe the scientific or my sensible view, one important expectation remains: with May’s imminent arrival, here comes the sun! Let sun rituals begin!

North American ceremonials are less all-encompassing than ancient Aztecs’. They believed they perpetuated the sun by sacrificing human hearts. But we do follow the sun’s dictates year after year — despite protests from dermatologists, who prefer we live in subterranean caves.

Nope. No ritual is more sacred than sunbathing. Women will pay big bucks for the smallest amount of fabric they’ll wear all year, then don cover-ups and hats. When quarantine’s over, we hope to set up beach umbrellas and tents. We’ll slather ourselves and our kids with gallons of sunblock. A fog of its fragrance, similar to fall’s smoke from burning leaves, will fill the land. All to protect ourselves, at any cost, from the sun, for which we have yearned the past six months.

However, that’s not the only odd chemistry set in motion by the sun’s advent.

Grill addicts will barbecue every meal outside, including romaine (which is wrong on so many levels). Picnics will dot the land. Despite sun worship, everyone calls dibs on shady spots.

All part of the love-hate rituals we keep religiously with the sun’s advent.

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay.

We also up our junk food consumption to proper warm-weather levels. Dieticians, citing the availability of fresh produce, delude themselves that we will eat healthy.

Seriously? In six decades, I have yet to encounter a single concession stand that sells carrot sticks. Unless they’re deep-fried. And dipped in chocolate.

Unfortunately, when the sun gleams through dirty windows, we sense a moral obligation to wash them. Our cars, too, as the slush excuse won’t work anymore.

We also fertilize grass we don’t like to mow and bushes we hate to trim as well as plant flowers we hate to weed.

Amazingly, we don’t avoid these rituals. On a lovely spring day, we may even embrace them, because here comes the sun, ready or not!

I think we’re ready.

Even if we get star burn.

Image by jplenio from Pixabay.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What’s your favorite sunny pastime?

Sweet, Burning Hunk of Barbecue Love

Visiting the South a few years ago, we sought to sample its bodacious barbecue. So we braved Saturday night kill-the-Yankees traffic to find Blaze’s Piggy Pit.

Homemade posters taped to its front windows warmed our hearts. We had not arrived at a restaurant that demanded we share an appetizer and a dessert, the kind John Steinbeck said took pride in serving food untouched by human hands. Instead, the signs shouted all-you-can-eat nights. A picture of Mr. Blaze himself adorned one window — wearing a suit and tie fit to make his mama proud, with a tortured smile to match.

The poster said he was running for mayor.

What better way to please his public than to cook up the world’s best barbecue?

Inside, I poofed my ’do because big hair and hardworking blue jeans obviously were required. The dining room smelled yummy-in-the-tummy-smoky, as it does at a family reunion cookout, when Mom tells you to go play with your cousins until supper’s ready.

The waitress, upon greeting Casey Jack and Junior Lee by name, skipped menus. She handed them shovels and steered them toward the barbecue and fish bar.

Bankrupting the Piggy Pit on our first visit wouldn’t be neighborly. So my husband ordered a slab of ribs, and I selected pulled pork. With our first bites, my husband closed his eyes. My taste buds fell in love. We paused for a moment of silence.

Then Hubby proceeded to ruin the family name. Even a Yankee knows a true barbecue connoisseur picks up ribs. Instead, my husband not only used knife and fork, he surgically removed every shred of gristle and/or fat.

Barbecue blasphemy.

Mayoral race or not, it’s a wonder Mr. Blaze didn’t toss us out of the Piggy Pit.

Fortunately, he kept too busy to notice. No suit and tie tonight. He wore jeans and a T-shirt. He and his poofy-haired mama called us “honey,” and did we “want more sweet tea, darlin’?”

I ordered cheesecake for dessert. Steve overdosed on pecan cobbler, suffering sugar-induced hallucinations.

However, we turned down complimentary golf cart service that hauled blimpy customers to their cars. I am proud to say we walked out of the Piggy Pit on our own two feet.

Does Mr. Blaze know about tax rates and sewer systems? I don’t know. Still, anyone who bestows that kind of barbecue on mankind — plus infinite hush puppies — for a reasonable price must be a man of mayoral vision, with deep concern for friends, neighbors and even hungry Yankees.

Definitely a winner, in my (burp) book.

 

When (and where) was the last time you ate bodacious barbecue?