In October, my husband Matt and I bought our first home in a 1907 coop building in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of DC. We know our neighbors by name. We know our neighbors’ cats by name. We have potluck parties and lend each other jars of dried oregano. I feel like I’ve been transported back to my childhood block, where we walked out our front doors with cups of sugar for the neighbors across the street. I am wildly in love with this little community we’ve found.
So, you can imagine that when my downstairs neighbor asked me if Matt and I wanted to split the cost of a new grill with her, I, punch drunk with nostalgia, immediately said yes. “I can’t live without a grill,” she said. “Neither can I!” I thought, even though I had been managing to do exactly that for the past decade.
I grew up in a home where grilling was not just a summertime ritual relegated to hot dog and hamburger cookouts. My dad grilled year-round – under an umbrella in the pouring rain or after removing a foot of freshly fallen snow from the grill’s lid. The grill was an extension of our kitchen. Our plates were full of blistered asparagus, skirt steak marinated in Italian dressing, and even clams casino on very, very special occasions.
I am starting with the basics since I’ve forgotten what little I knew about cooking over a hot, open, gas flame. On Sunday night, I killed a London Broil, cooked it to well done and then a little more. So, tonight I tried cooking a meat that’s nearly foolproof, covering the grill in a layer of chorizo and bratwursts. They sizzled and smoked and sported perfectly charred grill marks. After I cleaned the grill, turned off the propane, and carried the food and tongs upstairs to our third floor walk-up, I decided to cut into a bratwurst. The center was, quite predictably, completely raw. So, the sausages went into the microwave, an appliance that I truly cannot live without, and the grill silently waits for my next attempt.