Cookin’ With Gas

I love summer. Not merely for the abandonment of winter coats, boots, gloves and, most importantly, panty hose, I love it because this is when barbecue season really abounds. I know that one can use a barbecue all year round, but who wants to stand out in the snow in boots and a parka cooking burgers? Winter is not for barbecuing, but for stews and casseroles and things that will add extra layers of warmth when one heads out into the Canadian winter.

The Canadian winter barbecue. Making the most of the snow.

The Canadian winter barbecue. Making the most of the snow.

I think the whole barbecue thing just goes with summer meals. Like shedding the layers of winter clothes, so is a summer menu. Steak, salmon, burgers, chicken, salads, grilled veggies… and of course that all-important summer staple—Jell-O.


My idea of Jell-O


Jell-O made by someone with way too much time on their hands.

Secretly though, I love it when barbecue season starts because it’s actually one less thing I have to cook. My teenage son has now taken over the official role of “King of the Barbecue.” He did it willingly, and mainly as a source of self-preservation. The alternative was having to eat the things I cooked on the barbecue.

I generally find it difficult to get everything ready and on the table at the same time when I’m working in one room, let alone having to run outside to another cooking apparatus. Invariably, the barbecue items would suffer from lack of attention as I dealt with other more important dinner items, like getting the wine open. Knowing that underdone meat can probably K-I-L-L you, a few minutes more on the grill wasn’t going to hurt it. No one would ever risk getting trichinosis or salmonella eating at my house—usually because the meat was so well done it was inedible. I once cooked a roast on the barbecue that was so well done, even the dog wouldn’t eat it.

Since taking over barbecue responsibilities, my son has created an entirely new “doneness” scale (Gordon Ramsey would be proud). Blue, rare, medium rare, medium, medium-well, well done, burnt, incinerated, Mom. (Saving the best till last, no doubt).

An example of the "Mom" doneness scale

An example of the “Mom” doneness scale

Frankly, if left on my own, I could do the whole barbecue thing. The success of your dinner really depends on how much wine you serve your guests. Enough, and that “doneness” scale goes out the window…or should I say, up in smoke.

My mantra for the day: “More wine?” “More wine?” “More wine?”


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