Sunday, November 04, 2007

putting out fires

Today, I barbecued.

Yes, yes, yes, so it was cold. I ran outside (forgetting a coat), put the meat down (having forgotten to defrost it), ran back inside (forgot the lighter), corralled the Toddles (he wanted to play, too), and generally got dinner going.

I love barbecueing. It's my solution to a lack of culinary imagination, lack of time, and general kitchen blahs. And it comes in handy from time to time, like last week when Zina offered us the last week's delivery from her CSA. With the glorious bounty, came a pair of stalks with brussel sprouts attached. I stared at them for a while, and finally shrugged. What the hell, the things came with their own skewers, right? So I sprinkled them with kosher salt and olive oil, and 'cued them. They were pretty darned good, especially with a sprinkle of lemon juice.

Yup, bless the nice folks at Weber - they've been a boon. And I adamantly refuse to blame them for moments like tonight, when my darlin' Weber started shooting up flames. The hot dogs were crispy, the chicken was nicely burnt (but raw inside - natch), and there was, in case you missed this bit, FIRE.

Calmly, I turned off the gas. I unscrewed the gas canister, and moved it a fair distance away from the fire. I went inside and got the kitchen fire extinguisher. I took the extinguisher, read the instructions, and put out the fire. Done.

Still calm, I walked back inside, passing the Man. This is why we have these, I informed him. He looked up and realized what I was holding. Oh? Why? he asked. Grease fire, I said. And went to make the salad.

Eventually, it occurred to me that yes, I was cool, I was calm and functional in a crisis, and how awesome am I? Basking in my own admiration palls quickly, and once I was done admiring myself I realized I was also a little irked. Yes, I was cool and calm, but it was HIS job not to be. He should be shocked, he should be grateful and marvelling at my awesomeness.

Wazzamatter, did someone forget to give the guy his cue? Yeesh.

Half an hour - and one very yummy salad - later, the Toddles dissolved.
Milk! I want milk! Inna cup!
Okay, said the Man.
No! I don't want milk! I don't I don't I don't!
Ah, said the Man.
The Toddles, feeling that this response was insufficiently respectful of his current emotional state, repeated his position by banging his fists on the table and, when this didn't improve the situation, shrieked. (The Eldest was startled to see this imitation of himself, and made a fierce face at the Toddles because, as he explained, this is what you do when someone does that. Ah.)
I see, said the Man. Would you like to go snuggle? Read stories?
No I don't I don't I don't I don't I wanna read stories I wanna milk.

The Toddles, banked and loved, cuddled with his father in the big armchair until bedtime. I thought it over, and took my cue.

Afterword: the crispy but raw chicken? I dumped them on a pyrex pan, and stuck them in the oven. And forgot about them. I remembered them when I cleared the dinner dishes, yanked the oven open. A cloud of smoke billowed out... The chicken, however, was perfection.

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