Food and cooking have been an integral part of my family life for as long as I can remember. Growing up in a traditional Italian family, our kitchen was the heart of our home and I have many fond memories of life that took place around the family table. When planning to celebrate any special day, the first question out of my mother’s mouth would likely be, “What should we have to eat?” And if it was somebody’s birthday, “What do you want me to make for your birthday?” Good times…
Cooking outside was largely a team effort. My mother would prepare things inside and send the grillables out to my father via me or one of my sisters. She would continue to cook side dishes, additional courses, etc. inside, while my dad tended the grill(s) outside. Following tradition, I observed and helped my father outside, while my sisters helped our mother inside. This is how I first learned to grill.
Mind you, we didn’t grill in silence, either. Pop and I would discuss all manner of things, catching up on each other’s lives, solving the problems of the world, observing the garden, and so forth. Sometimes there was wine, but my dad was never that big on drinking away from the table. That was a practice I cultivated on my own.
To this day I derive great pleasure from hanging outside and grilling various meats and vegetables for friends and family, especially if I have somebody out there to keep me company, solve the problems of the world, etc. And there is usually ample wine or beer on hand (my house, my rules).
Sometimes the simplest things in life are most enjoyable.