By Kathy Miele
It was after dinner and my son Alex and I were taking a walk around the neighborhood.
We didn’t have to go far before the fragrance of our neighbors’ grill seemed to fill the air. I inhaled deeply. “I have to say I love the smell of a steak cooking on the grill,” I said to Alex as we were busy walking off our dinner of hamburgers that I’d cooked on the stove.
“It does smell good,” Alex agreed. We walked a little further when he turned to me and asked, “Why don’t we barbecue anymore?”
“That’s a good question.” We’d made it to the end of the block when a new smell overwhelmed us. “Wow, whatever they’re cooking, it sure was marinated with a lot of garlic! It smells great!”
As we walked further along I tried to think of when we’d used our grill last. It had been so long ago that I couldn’t even remember if we had any propane left in the tank. We hadn’t grilled this season and I’m pretty sure we didn’t last summer either.
“Your dad’s not big on grilling.” I explained.
“Why does Dad have to be the one at the grill?” Alex asked. “You could do it.”
“Are you kidding? I’m busy getting everything ready in the kitchen!” I argued. “I can’t be walking outside every 5 minutes checking on a piece of meat! It’s easier for me to just cook it inside with everything else!”
“O.k.,” Alex sounded wary. “I didn’t mean to get you upset.”
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to snap at you,” I apologized. “I’m just not big on grill cooking.”
We walked a few blocks more in silence until we came across a new smell. “Someone’s cooking with charcoal.” I said. “I have to say I love the smell of lighter fluid.”
“Isn’t lighter fluid like gasoline?” Alex asked. “It can’t be good for you.”
“I’m sure it’s not good for you but nobody really thought about that when I was a kid.” I had to smile when a favorite memory popped into my head. “My dad would use so much lighter fluid you could actually taste it on the burger,” I told Alex.
“I think I’d rather skip the charcoal grill and stick with the propane,” Alex said as he kicked a stone down the road.
“You know I could teach you how to cook on the grill,” I said.
“Why would I want to do that?” Alex asked.
“It’s a great skill to learn.”
“Let’s see,” Alex said then thought for a moment. “You don’t cook on the grill and neither does Dad but somehow you think I’m going to like doing it?”
“I didn’t say you’d like doing it. I really can’t think of anyone who likes standing outside during a heat wave and cooking over an open flame. It’s really all about the flavor you get when you cook on a barbecue.”
“You know what I like the flavor of?” Alex said. “The cheeseburger you made tonight. It was perfect!”
“I’m getting the feeling that I’m not going to be able to talk you into manning the grill this summer.”
“Nope.” We were coming around the corner of our block and our walk was almost over. Alex gave me a quick pat on the back. “But, that was a really great try.”