Grillin’ like a villain
So, you know the deal, we get labor credits for all of the “commune useful” things we do, one hour of credit for every hour worked, all that good stuff. Some of what I do definitely feels like work. Indexing feels like work, especially on a sunny spring day. Gardening, when it’s unpleasantly cold or hot, feels like work. Loading the tofu truck feels like work. Some things are “work,” but don’t feel entirely worklike: hanging out with my kids, gardening when the weather is pleasant, delivering the tofu once it’s loaded.
Which brings me to cooking. I cook at least once nearly every week I’m on the farm. Sometimes, when the weather is lovely or I’m feeling uninspired, cooking feels like an “I’d rather be somewhere else” job. Most of the time, it feels like “well, I gotta be doing something, and this is pretty enjoyable” work. Sometimes, it feels like “here I am just having fun in the kitchen playing with food and getting labor credit”-type work. And sometimes, I get to grill meat.
For most of the time I’ve been at Twin Oaks, our outdoor grill setup was pretty pathetic. I would call it third-world, except that any self-respecting third-worlder would have a better outdoor kitchen setup; I guess it was more fourth- or fifth-world. Basically, it was a long metal tube sliced in half lengthwise, balanced precariously on some hunks of concrete. Several strips of metal held the whole thing together, but also got in the way of building a proper fire. To cook on this contraption, you had to squat down at an entirely uncomfortable height– the inconvenience of the whole thing was an effective deterrent to outdoor cooking.
Then, about a year ago, ex-member Rick built us this beauty:
Solid cinder-block construction, a stable surface to lay the racks on, a comfortable height for cooking, and a slab of tin to keep the smoke inside. Since then, outdoor grilling for the community has been a delight, and I fire it up anytime I have enough meat (mostly dumpster treasure) to cook for the whole community. I feel like every time I use the grill, I get a bit better at using it; last night, I discovered that if you rake all the coals to one side, then put the meat on the other side and cover the whole thing with the tin slab, you can turn the grill into a hot smoke oven. Yum! Grilling meat, I must say, is one time when I get to say “Here I am, drinking beer, playing with fire and meat, and getting labor credit!” Not a bad way to spend an afternoon, and everyone definitely appreciates sinking their teeth into some delicious bar-be-cue that’s been slow cooked over oak coals!
(above photograph is actually from a cookout a couple months back, not last night, but you get the idea–it didn’t look all that different)