Hard to imagine, I know, now that one of our more common harbingers of summer is the aroma of meals prepared on our backyard grills, at least for us suburbanites: there was a time when an outdoor grill was considered an exciting new invention.
Meals were prepared indoors on stoves and almost always by women. Betty Crocker in her red checkered cookbook backround reigned supreme, and I still have a well worn copy that I turn to, most often to check out the cooking time for a food.
So early in the 1950′s it was revolutionary to find the man of the house in charge of cooking all or part of the family meal. Suddenly, the black kettle of fire seemed to proliferate in every yard. Suddenly, it became essential to own and use this new emblem of “cool”, the back yard grill.
And to my delight, my handsome, young husband took to it with relish! John became something like a priest as he ministered to his charcoal broiled meats and fish, cooked the properly primitive way above smoldering fires. The children, any guests and I would gather around the grill in admiration, often fighting back thick black smoke that stung and watered our eyes. It was all part of the ritual.
Ah, but what mouthwatering sirloins and T-bones emerged from his skilled hands. And no doubt about it: we were a successful American family. I had married wisely. My John had a natural knack for the barbeque.