Category: Parenting

Welcome To The Cookout !

                                                           A_Woman_Barbecuing    

Hamburgers  and  hot dogs on the grill are as American as  fireworks  on the Fourth of July.  Nonetheless .  . . . no two  families  cook  outdoors alike.                                          

Outdoor entertaining can be fun and time consuming. At our house the topic of conversation was should you put aluminum foil on the grill or not.

Why do men enjoy slaving over a hot barbecue?  Because they’re cooking caveman style – throw meat on a fire.  It’s their domain, that’s why.  My family is no exception.  The men cook out while the women scurry to get the rest of the meal.  Any minute the cook will announce that the food is ready.

I was raised on grilled food.  A burned, crusty taste is what I remember.  When my father cooked, he’d grill a hamburger so that it was burned on one side and almost raw on the other.  My sisters and I would tell him that it was both too burned and too raw, but he refused to cook any other way.  Eventually we got to like it.

My neighbor puts non-stick spraying oil on the grates.  I wonder why, when you see him prying to get the hamburgers off.  When he fixed cooked cabbage on the outdoor grill, his back yard had a smell for a week.

My cousin grills corn on the cob, alongside the main dish.  Without a doubt, the corn is done before the meat, but he never listens.  We eat crisp, charred corn on the cob every time.   

A friend of ours had a bad experience with turning and basting a lamb on the grill once.  He now refuses to cook anything but hamburgers and hot dogs.

My uncle always cooks in an area super organized.  The spices, tongs, fork, wire brush, kitchen towel, spatula, even a cutting board all in place.  Everything in its place to grill out. 

At my friend Larry‘s house, he grills with no meat.  No meat?  Yes, his wife fixes a totally vegetarian kabob.  The skewers are filled with green, red or yellow bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, carrots, onions, potatoes, pears, pineapples, even apricots.  He’s tried about every vegetable on the grill other than avocados.  Let’s face it, avocados are one of those acquired taste.

Yet; my father never did learn the knack of using the rotisserie; the chicken would still be pink on one side.  Just like his hamburgers.

So,  foil on the grill or not?   My brother-in-law said it  best.   “I’m the guy cooking, so we use aluminum foil.”

My nephew interrupted, “You’re not stacking the charcoal like Dad does.”  A new controversy – yet an old conversation.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pumpkin Carving Opinions !

As Halloween approaches, the most single visible and popular symbol is the pumpkin. Or more commonly called – the jack-o-lantern.

Pumpkins are plucked from the vine then spark into flaming life with leering faces, while leaves die on their branches in bursts of red and gold.

I took my nephew to a local produce stand looking for the perfect pumpkin. Later at home we washed and dried it. A slippery pumpkin would be hard to work with. We then spread newspapers under the pumpkin.

We decided to save the pumpkin seeds. No, we didn’t want to get ahead of next summer’s crop. My mother has a recipe for roasted pumpkin seeds. She uses these toasted pumpkin seeds in breads or muffins, or just to eat as a snack.

The afternoon was turning out to be enjoyable up to this point. Other adults stopped by to visit. The little guy now had way too much help!

Uncle Bob thought I was silly that we carve out the jack-o-lantern. Why cut and clean out the pumpkin. He always painted faces on his pumpkins. “Oh no” says Aunt Linda. First you must decide on the face. Should it be scary? Happy? Silly? She made the little guy draw several rough drafts of his carving on paper first. Aunt Linda went inside and my nephew opted to draw on the pumpkin itself.

I always cut my jack-o-lanterns at the top. We begin to carve a circle around the stem to make a lid. My neighbor had stopped by. He always makes his cut on the pumpkin from the bottom. The neighbor leaves and we continue to carve from the top.

Suggestions were still flowing when my husband drove up and mentioned that we cut a hole in the center of the back of the pumpkin for ventilation.

Hopefully, next year we won’t have so much help. There was more to carving this pumpkin than first met the eye.

Regardless of the different opinions, we transformed an ordinary pumpkin into a magical, seasonal decoration with a frightful design. It should delight the neighborhood with Boo-tiful decoration for Halloween.

School Daze ! !

School has started.  There are some parents out there who are still doing a little dance.  Not my sister.  Her son started first grade Monday and neither mother nor aunt is handling it very well.

I am sure that in time he will recover from the embarrassment and shock  caused by his mother holding on to the back bumper of the school bus screaming, “Don’t take my baby!”

On his first day, I took off from the newspaper long enough to see him off to school.    When I arrived he was in line at the bus stop.   Along with his mother, I had hopes of taking him to school.  Neither of us got to take him, which didn’t bother him at all but nearly killed us.

Since neither of us actually got to take him, we hurried down to the school just to watch.  We wanted to see him.  We parked across from the school, watched him get off the bus, and go into the building.

Both his mother and I were able to walk into his first grade room.  I was not prepared for what I saw.  In kindergarten last year, he sat at a big table with the other students.  He looks so tiny now behind the big desk of his own.

I saw my sisters knees get weak and the room must have gotten fuzzy when she saw him sit down at his own desk.  He looked so much older and more mature than the little guy she laid out clothes for that morning.

He immediately started talking to old friends he hadn’t seen all summer.  My sister stood there a little dazed.  Her son did not even know she was in the room.  Odds are she wanted to go over and hug him.  I myself wanted to go comb his hair once again. 

But instead, she walked over to him and whispered something like “Mommy has to go.”  His response must have come as a blow, “Yeah, sure.  Bye.”

She pulled herself together and  walked in front of me out the door.   I gave her a hug in the hallway.  I thought she could use a little encouragement.

I stopped by their house on my way home from work.  I wanted to be there when he got off the bus in the afternoon.  We stayed on the porch when he got off the bus. I will admit that I had my camera. I didn’t care if it embarrassed him or not.  When he is married with children of his own, he might appreciate the picture.  I jumped off the porch and snapped a quick photo.

He spotted me, ran up the walk and gave me a hug.  Life is good in Indiana.