One of my first jobs after college was teaching at an elementary school in San Francisco. There I tried almost every day to cram Latin into the minds of prepubescent boys whose parents thought they should learn a dead language. In other words, I tried to cram a square peg into a round hole. This band of angry boys considered my demands to conjugate verbs like “amo, amas, amat …” unforgivable acts and they told me so with disdainful stares.
Twenty-some years later, those boys are grown men now and I wish I could have one more chance to teach them, because I have left Latin in history’s dustbin and embraced the glories of grilling instead. What kind of red-blooded American man or woman could resist an afternoon learning professional tips and secrets related to hot coals, fragrant smoke, and meat so succulent you can slurp it (yes, the students do get to eat their work)!
This class photo comes from the Weber Grill Restaurant in Lombard, Illinois, where I taught a class during June. We didn’t actually use that red kettle, but wouldn’t you like to give it a try?
One man came up to me after this class with a wide grin of complete relief. He confided to me that he had always wanted to be the kind of griller that could tickle the palates of his friends and family, but he had been making disastrous mistakes for years -- grilling everything over the same blazing-hot fire. In this class he learned how to match his fire to different cuts of meat. Some cuts like it hot, but others like it medium, and others do best over indirect heat. We all have a little Cro-Magnon DNA that compels us to cook hunks of meat over fire; my books and classes pick up where nature leaves off. If you pay attention, you will eat many culinary rewards, and I promise … no Latin required.
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