Archive for August, 2011

Friday, August 19th, 2011

We start today’s column with a quiz. When blind people read Braille, they read it with their             ?

 Send your answers to the Prime Minister’s office and you may win yourself a free RCMP probe. For those of you who guessed fingers, congratulations. Oddly enough that is also how I barbecue –  with my fingers. These handy little digits can not only distinguish the difference between the Braille letters ‘D’ and ‘Z’, but they can also flip chops, wrestle a ribeye and locate wayward weenies that have wandered off the grill. (You’re familiar with the 5 second rule? Something hits the ground, it’s still edible if it’s rescued in 5 seconds or less. They’ve expanded that window of rescue for blind barbecuers to ten minutes.)

 I’ve tried using the traditional tongs and spatulas to flip junk, but they offer me no feeling. Despite the scorching flames, my hands-on approach works best.

 Oh I wanted to be that swashbuckling barbecuer flashing tongs, wielding spatulas and spearing slabs of meat with that long forky thing. Practice, practice, practice, I thought. So, for one entire day I used tongs for everything. Tongs to tie my shoes, to brush my teeth, to wipe my  . . . You get the idea.

Then one evening in our kitchen I put on a pair of oven mitts to remove a pan from the stove and like a smack upside the head, I thought, “I wonder if these mitts would work outside?” Searing heat the common denominator. I figured indoors or outdoors ain’t going to matter to the mitts. Good old fashioned oven mitts, they’re functional, I can grip any piece of meat over the flames and bend it, twist it to my heart’s content and walk away without a singe. Plus oven mitts are always in style and they go with any outfit. And comfy? I’ve often gone to bed forgetting I’ve got them on.  Catherine says it’s like going to bed with Chef Boyardee.

 Unfortunately after flipping mucky ribs covered in sauce I’m pretty well obligated to pitch the mitts into the trash. It’s not like I can toss these things into the wash with the little lady’s unmentionables. (Cath and I learned that lesson real quick.)

 The ancient art of blind barbecuing goes way, way back to the time of the Hagersville tire fire. Sure, they blamed it on the tires, but in truth it’s a fine example of how quickly a blind barbecue can go, ummm . . . sour?

 I do find it tricky trying to co-ordinate the grilling of the well-done steak along with the medium rare and so I barbecue best for a maximum of one people. Me! Two or more folks and barbecuing becomes some sort of 3D puzzle. Have I turned this chop? Or this one? Or this one? Seventeen minutes on the grill and I’ve flipped the same chop 27 times.

 And you can forget this gently pressing your index finger into the grilling steak to check how well done it is. In blind barbecuing, we just wait till the fire trucks arrive.

 “Hon! Apparently the steak’s done.”