Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Planned Obsolescence

I understand the manliness inherent in producing a compendium of delicious smoked meats from the depths of your home grill or smoker. It's a long, proud, American tradition only somewhat more important than the National Anthem and only slightly less so than Baseball. In some families no woman dare approach the meat cooker - it's hallowed ground so to speak.

In most families - the man stands around ferociously guarding the grill (the vestigial tail of his wildness) and, regardless of how entirely poor his meat-preparing skills are - he'll maintain them completely unaltered until death.  If you're lucky somebody got hold of him at a young age and taught him how to sear, grill, or smoke properly. If not - you're stuck with him and his rudimentary skills and it ain't going to improve. We're like wolves - better catch us before 12 weeks of age or you'll never get us quite domesticated. In that case, the threat of regression is always eminent. You'll look through the kitchen window around noon on a Saturday and there your man stands - naked, grilling, and holding a crudely sharpened stick.

"Honey! Pants please, and no more stick, ok?"

"Bobby no stick?" he'll reply looking dazed.

That's the norm, but I've approached this situation with a somewhat different perspective.

Instead of stumbling through life fiercely guarding these ancient rituals of manhood; my plan is to carefully train my wife to handle many of these important man-tasks and very gently fade into the comfortable obscurity of my fishing vessel and/or workshop and/or huntcamp. I am planning my own obsolescence. Why wait for nature to do it for you?

One day you're going to come home from the pharmacy, painfully wheeze your way into the house, don your favorite smoking apron and slowly shuffle out the door to the Green Egg. You'll arrive and realize you left the lump charcoal in the house. Back you go.

You're too old and weak to pick up the charcoal and now you can't find your fingers, everything smells like the color brown, your glasses fell off somewhere under the sink and your left shoe is untied. Your wife is still young and healthy because she hasn't spent the last 60 years bent over 10lbs of smoking charcoal, so naturally she's off frolicking at yoga and you're going to have to wait for her to get home to tie your shoe so you don't trip over your gouty toe, fall and break your neck.

You eventually fall asleep leaned up against the fridge with the door open, the meat spoils, you catch pneumonia and you never smoke meat again. It's a sad story and if I've seen it once - I've seen it a thousand times.

Yesterday I got home from work to find the Green Egg puffing away merrily, my various man-sized cooking utensils fanned across the kitchen table, and three racks of baby back ribs thawed, rubbed, and slathered awaiting the grate.

Thanks. I'll take it from here.

Take what from where? You're late and I'm grilling.

"Smoking." It's called "smoking." On a grill: "searing." Peons "grill" - its classless and base. Don't let me catch you talking like that again in this house.

Open the door and hand me my big leather grill gloves.

They're mine.

Open the door.

She pranced gaily outside with 10lbs of pork and began layering it about the grate with precision.

"Here I better do that" I said, loudly, as I began gently easing away from the kitchen.

"That doesn't look right!" I hollered, covering the rusty sqeak of my favorite chair.

"Stay away from my Green Egg" wafted gently in on an applewood-scented breeze. I'm an egghead too and you're not taking credit for my smoke this time!

Nuh uh! You better don't! I am the SmokeMaster around here! I hollered from the den as I gently eased back the lever on my recliner.

Fuel up the boat, Fred: I am officially obsolete.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love you. And your wife. What time is dinner???