A Father and His Grill: It's a Man Thing in My HouseCody
There are some stereotypes that I’m going to use to my advantage, like the one about outside grilling being the man’s domain. Is it sexist to take advantage of those stereotypes? Probably. But when it comes time to picking out a new grill, sexist or not, that little chore gets to be my decision.
My dad never had a fancy grill. Throughout all my years in his house, he had a two burner P.O.S. The starter on the grill never worked and the grill itself was made of some kind of hard plastic. Lighting that old grill meant a risk of death on each occasion—I lost my eyebrows on more than 10 occasions. Despite the danger involved, the grill worked okay and it produced some pretty average charcoal covered hamburger balls for many family dinners.
The first grill Casey and I owned was one that we bought during my second year in law school from a local Wal-Mart. It was one of those fancy shiny grills with all the bells and whistles. All the important parts were covered by a layer of chrome so it looked more impressive than it really was. It had four burners and a burner on the side for pots etc. The propane tank was even encased inside a metal housing and it had a temperature gauge on the cover. The thing looked impressive, and it churned out some pretty impressive burgers. It also cooked some impressive ribs, kabobs, chicken, and corn. I thought it was going to be our grill for the next decade, but just two years after buying the grill it began to rust from the outside in.We kept a cover on the grill religiously, but the grill was cheaply made and no cover was going to save it from rusting apart within a few years.
The last year of its usable life it spent the first month of that summer being the home to a squirrel. The squirrel got itself in the grease trap and spread grease all throughout the grill itself. Then one day I went outside and lit up the grill just as I had done a hundred times before. Next thing I knew flames were shooting out every crack of the thing. Flames rose about four feet high and the temperature gauge shot up to the very hottest temperature it could go before it melted under the heat. Even the siding on the house melted from the heat. As quickly as I could I threw box after box of baking soda on the grill until the fire went out. When it was all said and done, the inside of that grill was burnt to nothing.
After going a year without any grilled food, we finally decided to get a new grill this year. We wanted one that would hopefully last for a decade, which meant we weren’t going to get lured into a bad purchase by the bells and whistles and the pretty clothes that the grill wore. We wanted one that could stand the test of time, and Casey wanted to be the one to choose which grill that would be. That’s where we had our disagreement.
My lady cooks a lot of food on the grill. She’ll cook the steaks and the ribs on the grill and many other types of food. She’s a fantastic grill chef, but I cook the cheeseburgers and I have to say that I make a pretty fantastic cheeseburger. I don’t know why it was such a big deal that I get to be the one to pick out the grill, but it was. Maybe I viewed it as my reward after all those times I had to lose my eyebrows as a kid, or maybe it was more symbolic that I was finally an adult and that I was capable of owning a grill. Or maybe it’s the fact that there’s just something about being outside standing in front of my grill while cooking cheeseburgers for the family. It’s relaxing and enjoyable. It’s my thing.
Is that sexist? Meh.
More on Babble Dad: