Boys And Grills

   I’m very blessed in my life to have a much larger than average group of wonderful people I am proud to call my friends. As a traveling entertainer, I’ve had the opportunity to cross paths with a wide range of interesting characters of every imaginable variety from one coast of this country to the other. I might not see them all as much or as often as I’d like, but I still value their friendship.

It’s always rather flattering to be invited over for a sumptuous meal with a group or family that requests my presence in their home – often as the guest of honor. I can’t wait to sample results of all of the slick culinary skills that go into the entire process of preparing a meal from square one.

I myself have a difficult time making toast, boiling water or pouring myself a bowl of cereal in the morning. Cooking is just is not my calling, and never was. Whoever got caught in the kitchen with Dinah, it sure wasn’t me. Not only can’t I cook, I’m not a very good banjo strummer either.

What I am good at is being able to recognize a dangerous situation when I’m in one – probably because I’ve had so much practice throughout my life. That being said, I’m always extra careful when it comes to accepting invitations to barbecues. This is the season, so let the reader beware.

Like a lot of things in theory, being invited to a barbecue sounds great. There is the implication of massive amounts of freshly cooked animal carcass being served, and rarely is there an official cover charge. Bringing something along is optional, but most people feel the need to reciprocate.

That being said, some friendly advice I would like to impart for everyone’s benefit is: alcoholic beverages of any kind are NOT recommended as something to bring as a gift when attending any outdoor cookout. I can’t stress this enough, and anyone who does deserves exactly what they get.

What that usually ends up being is a horribly disfigured blackened chunk of disgustingly dried out smoldering ash that used to be a perfectly presentable piece of prime cut palate pleasing meat earlier that same day. Don’t let this happen to you. Friends don’t let friends cook when crocked.

I made this mistake ONCE, and I’ll never do it again. I don’t drink myself, and never have. It’s my personal choice, and I’m not one of those crusaders who get in the face of anyone who might like to enjoy a cocktail or beer. You do what you do, I’ve got bigger things to occupy my time.

Apparently, not everyone else does. I brought a bottle of scotch along with me that my friend’s wife said he liked, not thinking he’d kill most of it before he lit the grill. I watched in disbelief as the red hot coals turned what was supposed to be my juicy steak into a demonstration of what the fires of hell must be like, and the more I tried to warn my friend, the more belligerent he became.

I’m not trying to make moral judgments on anyone, but I strongly advise drinking any alcoholic beverages AFTER getting in front of an open flame. I enjoy living in Lake County, and it would be a shame to see it burned down by a barbecue. Let’s be careful out there. Steaks are at stake.


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