A friend of mine laughs at me and says I can find spiritual lessons in just about everything. So when I offered to help a friend learn how to grill, it also got me thinking about the qualities that are important when making food on the grill.
One of the things I began thinking about is that the quality of what comes off the grill often depends on what is done before the food ever goes on the grill. This past Memorial Day, like every other holiday, we had our potluck barbecue. A friend called me the day before to let me know she was bringing some marinated chicken and pork chops. By the time she arrived, the meats had been sitting in their marinades for more then 24 hours. The marinades had soaked through the meats and you know that every bite you took would be incredibly flavorful. Conversely, another friend brought some chicken to cook, which was not seasoned or marinated at all. She brushed some sauce on while it was cooking. While it looked flavorful and tasty, it was dry and flavorless. The one that had been marinating all night was moist and juicy and made you want to keep going back for more; it was that good.
At our potluck barbecue, we had friends from a diversity of faith traditions: Christian, New Age, Metaphysical, Spiritualist, Catholic, Atheist, and Agnostic. What I realized is that regardless of what your belief system is, it is important to be marinated in that belief system. Regardless of what my friends believe, (I believe being Agnostic is a belief) it is the extent to which we are marinated in that belief, which shapes the way we move through life. Are we marinated in our belief system, or are we just trying to brush on some flavor
There is a great deal of patience needed in grilling. One has to be patient while the charcoal and/or whatever else you are using become hot enough to cook for your food. Sometimes it can seem as if it takes forever for the coals to become warm enough. However, putting food on a cold grill does not expedite the process and can actually slow it down. One also has to be patient while cooking some foods. Some foods, like shrimp, grill up in a matter of seconds, while others take more time.
One also has to be mindful while grilling and stay focused on what one is doing. One of our friends was grilling some burgers. She was so busy talking to others that she was not thinking about the meat on the grill. As a result, all but one of them burned. Staying focused on what one is doing can assist one in ensuring that whatever you are grilling will come out just fine.
Being a master griller is not just about how you season and prepare your food, it is about taking care to prepare yourself and your food, stay patient during the process, and be mindful of what you are doing. Now, I am off to think about what foods I can grill for Zoe and I this week. Nothing like meditative grilling – just have to make sure I do not do that with shrimp.