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Food for Thought

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: Books for Barbecue Season

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After what appeared to be an interminable winter this year, wonderful, life-affirming spring has sprung, in all of its resplendent glory. There exists a solid, logical reason for the line in the song My Girl crooned by The Temptations, "When it's cold outside, I've got the month of May," as May is usually a gorgeous month weather-wise, second only to June (as James Russell Lowell so accurately penned long ago, ""And what is so rare as a day in June? Then, if ever, come perfect days. Then Heaven tries the earth if it be in tune …").

[May flowering tulips.] Image ID: 1575250I was sitting on my porch, relishing every gentle zephyr that slightly caressed the trees in my neighbor's yard and perusing a magazine containing photographs of the tulip festivals occurring in Holland during this month, fervently wishing I was in Holland at the moment, when I was jolted out of my fantasy sojourn by the quite unexpected arrival of my brother in my yard. The only admonishing factor to herald his imminent arrival was the fact that my cat, Chris, who is normally the sweetest cat on the planet, sat up and flattened his ears against his head a minute or so prior to his "uncle's" arrival. After regaining the power of speech, I inquired of my brother as to why he was standing in my yard. He replied that he was "passing through" the area and decided to inquire if I would be willing to host a barbecue. "Not a chance," I responded. My brother actually demonstrated the temerity to feign surprised dismay and asked for the reason behind my adamant refusal to host a barbecue. "As if you've forgotten the incident wherein you very nearly melted my junior membership badge from the Smokey the Bear club over our aunt's barbecue pit whilst simultaneously humming the Kern/Harbach tune, 'Smoke Gets In Your Eyes' at me during my frantic attempts to rescue my beloved badge!" My brother protested that his transgression in that regard occurred over forty years ago, and that I should "let bygones be bygones." "Harrumph!" was my erudite, mature reply. My brother commenced to walk away, Chris unflattened his ears and I was about to re-embark on a mental trip to Holland when my brother resorted to the ultimate weapon, calling out over his shoulder: "All right, I'll just tell Charles and Amanda that they can't have a barbecue." Tossing my magazine down and petting Chris briefly as I walked by, I chased after my brother and stated, "You didn't mention that the barbecue is for Charles and Amanda." It transpired that my nephew and niece read a few articles online on the topic of May being "National Barbecue Month" and "National Salad Month" and desired to host a barbecue. Since I presently rent an apartment contained in a house with a spacious yard and a landlord who is generous regarding the use of his grill, it seems that I was the natural choice to host a barbecue.

Barbecue, Atlanta Exposition. Image ID: G90F147_001F

To be totally self-aggrandizing, it has been rumored that I toss together very creative, tasty salads. I love the inherent versatile nature of salads and the room for creativity afforded to the preparer of same. Plus, it isn't very often that food that is salubrious for one's corporal being actually tastes so good, as is veracious of so many ingredients contained in salads. And, despite my continuing yet thus far unsuccessful efforts to learn my father's original name, which I believe is Germanic, I often quip that I am surely "Grandpa's girl" in that it is my understanding that my father's father was German and I simply adore German potato salad, never missing the opportunity to prepare and consume same. However, I am an admitted novice where barbecuing is concerned, but fortunately for my nephew, niece and their respective guests, the NYPL contains a literal plethora of books and DVDs concerning the topic of barbecuing. (I am, however, secreting away my junior membership badge from the Smokey the Bear club prior to the planned barbecue (yes, I still have it!). One can't be too careful….)

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