2007-04-29

Of Flesh and Fire...

There is a age old question than many have tried to answer: Thoreau, Twain, Kipling, Allen and Seinfeld are just a few that come to mind. The question is, "What does it take to be man?" Well, ladies and gentlemen, I believe I have found the answer.

A Man knows how to grill. That is to say, he cooks raw meat over open flame (or briquette ... I'm not picky.) Now, I realize there are other ways to establish manhood, such as: the lifting of heavy things until a hernia is induced, the killing of spiders without flinching, and the memorization of every Schwarzenegger line ever uttered (except for those in Twins, Junior, and Jingle all the Way -- damn you for those, Arnold.) But, none of those things alone is enough to prove manhood, whereas grilling is itself the culmination these most basic manly skills.
  • Fire: To grill, man must harness the primordial power of fire. Nothing proves Man's superiority over nature more than causing blue flame to explode out of every orifice of a BBQ grill or summoning a 6 foot tall pillar of flames from nothing more than a mound of carbon lumps and a gallon of legal fire accelerant.
  • Flesh: To grill, one must handle, nay -- even enjoy to handle -- raw animal flesh. While most are capable of picking out meat when safely ensconced in cellophane, not so many can take it out of the package, massage it with spices, and fling it onto a heated surface. The grill man has no such qualms. He has no fear of blood or bone, and has, on occasion, let his eyes linger over that marbled rib-eye and wondered if cooking is even necessary.
  • Faith: Grilling is half art and science. No amount of marinade or spice can compensate for simply "knowing" when the meat is done. The true grill man submits to the mysticism of the grill, acknowledging that is a process over which he does not have total control. He risks derision and e. coli in search of the perfectly pink steak and the moist but not chewy chicken breast.
Indeed, the grill man, is a real man.