It is only now, as the new barbecue grill has taken its rightful place on the patio, that I can be reassured Spring has truly arrived. Something changes in me once the smell of grilled food wafts through the air and suddenly I am renewed and find myself donning flip flops and already planning what to put in the clay pots that lay dormant all Winter long.
This year we turned back the clock to a more simple grill. Charcoal. A Weber to be precise. For too many years we went with gas and in the roar of the Celtic Tiger we spent a lot of money on a grill that hailed from Austrailia, took an entire day to assemble and almost caused a divorce in the process. In those days we lost perspective. The bigger the grill.................
But now as we are redefining ourselves in all manners of lifestyle we decided this year we would go back, back to the times when gas was not even considered, when nothing but coals and fluid would suffice.
When I first met H I was bewitched by his love of the Hibachi. He cooked up many a chicken meal for me on that in his student accomodation in Arizona. I thought it wonderful and romantic and had never met anyone so passionate about stooping over a small stove, outdoors in the freezing cold of Flagstaff to cook me chicken. We moved on from that small patio but always carried our love of the grill, the idea of it, the casual nature of eating this way. Many memories come to me as I write this. Lake Powell and days when the heat caused us to crawl into the rocks like panting lizards in search of shelter and the nights coming and out came the coals and the shadows that ensued. Nothing ever came between the shooting stars we witnessed and the meals though simple, knotted our destiny. We took grills to parks in San Francisco and to Utah and to Sedona and anywhere it was allowed. Anywhere our fancy took us.
I liked watching H tonight as he sat there beside his new grill. I was transported for a little while and for a moment I thought I saw him look up to see if there were stars, to see if he could catch one but only clouds hung overhead and yet, I know him and know that even through the grey he can see the light and I know one thing and that is how he loves the hiss of food as it hits the grill. The smoke and the sizzle and the promise off something only fire and passion can make.