I’m writing this pre-7/04 so that you will have time to make changes in your holiday routine, IF you are so inclined after learning as I did recently, that according to the Sierra Club, "Nationwide, the estimated 60 million barbeques held on the Fourth of July alone consume enough energy–in the form of charcoal, lighter fluid, gas and electricity–to power 20,000 households for a year." C**p. Talk about raining on the parade.
There’s nothing, nowhere, like a good backyard, charcoal grilled hamburger. Never did the gas grill thing, except that once when we were "camping" in a log house in Yosemite. There was a gas grill on the deck, and I was so excited to FInally get a great barbequed hamburger that we stopped at that little grocery on the drive up and paid WAY too much for the fixin’s. The short story is, gas grills, to me, are no more than a gas stove moved outdoors. Convenient, yes, trendy, and I suppose more earth friendly, but I like to grill outdoors for the way it flavors the food…not the "experience". The Yosemite hamburgers could have been more disappointing only if we weren’t so hungry. Or surrounded by such beauty.
So, the last time I fired up the grill was October. Lamb chops. The little, tiny couple o’bites lollipop chops from Corti’s. Oh, my gosh! I marinated them overnight and the coals were so hot that by the time I laid the last one on the grill, it was time to turn them over. And they were worth every penny.
Yessiree, if I’m going to grill, it’s going to be over real charcoal. If you feel the same way, but still feel a little guilty now (oh, you’re welcome!), here’s a couple things we can do to lessen our footprint:
1. Use additive-free lump charcoal, which is just plain, ol’ charred wood. Conventional briquettes may contain wood scraps, sawdust, coal dust, sodium nitrate, borax, paraffin, and lighter fluid…
2. …and lose the lighter fluid completely! It can release volatile organic compounds into the air and contribute to ground level ozone, besides leaving an icky residue on food. And ground level ozone can compromise your immune system. With all the nasty new viruses flying around, you should absolutely do everything you can to keep your immune system happy. NOTE: Your immune system hates sugar, too. (you’re welcome, again! )
3. And I know you were never the type to squirt even MORE lighter fluid onto already burning coals, because that’s just plain stupid. This is why the gods created chimney and electric type starters. Weber even granted my wishes by creating a charcoal grill with a propane mechanism to start the coals. But, it’s like $400 and I would never use it enough to justify that expense. I’ll consider it when they make the baby, $50 version.
4. Make sure you use a grill that has a lid and vents you can close. As soon as you’ve finished grilling, you can close the lid and vents, thus extinguishing the coals instead of letting them continue to burn for an hour or more. Not only are you not throwing more c–p into the air, but you can use the partially burned briquettes next time you grill.
5. Talk to the children about why we celebrate the Fourth of July. Take a moment to think about our people in Iraq. Light candles for them. I know this has nothing to do with backyard grilling, but just as you give thanks to the animals that gave their lives to feed you, think of these men and women, and their mothers, fathers, husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, children and friends. Squeeze your loved ones tight and imagine never being able to hold them again. And for gods’ sakes, VOTE at every opportunity!
6. Be friends with your neighbors, so that when you or they smell a grill being fired up, you can all feel free to pool your contributions to the glowing coals. Oh. Wait. That’s for the chapter on Living In A Perfect World. Try it, anyway. Being friends with your neighbors comes in handy.
7. If you like eating barbeque alot, cook several night’s meals on the same fire.
‘Kay, that’s all I can think of now. Let me know if you have additional ideas. Enjoy your gatherings. Come and see me and my birds at 1:30 on The Fourth at the fireworks stand at the corner of 49th and Folsom Boulevard. That’s the parking lot of Burr’s Fountain. We’ll release 50 doves representing the 50 states. And afterwards, I’ll buy chocolate banana milkshakes (or Lime Rickies for you vegetarians) for the first five brides who can produce a signed and sealed contract from any vendor providing a service for your 7/05 wedding or later. Call me to reserve your place in line, but the contract is what will ensure your place in CBM nirvana. Sorry, but that’s to weed out those who might want to take advantage of The Dove Lady’s generosity.
Be there or be square!
The Dove Lady doesn’t do trendy, and completely concurs with Sue Gallardo whose idea of camping is a hotel without room service.