|(L) Mojito. (R) Applewood smoked oysters. © Ryan Schierling|
While not technically the first day of summer, Memorial Day weekend falls close enough on the calendar that it has truly become a cultural celebration anticipating summer's start. While we come together on this day to pay respect to our nation's lost soldiers, we also take this holiday weekend to entertain the companionship of family, friends and neighbors. The weather is warming and a new season is upon us – what better way gather folks around than by building a fire?
Grilling season has begun.
When it comes to the grill, there are family traditions and regional traditions that influence our choices. Here in the heart of cattle country, there will most certainly be a lot of beef on the menu this summer. On the coasts you are likely to find fish and oysters featured more prominently. But whatever you choose to cook, the act of grilling itself is about much more than what you put over those glowing coals, it is about the community it builds. It is your hearth outdoors and the smoke signals an invitation to join in, contributing in your own unique way.
Even if you don't eat meat (for some, I know, it may feel like a tricky time around the grill) the community is still there and the fire doesn't discriminate. There are so many delicious non-meat preparations we have grilled over the years – skewered squash and mushrooms marinated in a favorite vinaigrette, fresh pineapple, and green beans or asparagus steamed in foil – that we don't believe anyone should ever feel left out.
Beyond the occasional roasting of marshmallows over a campfire, I really didn't have the traditional American grilling experience growing up. It was our small courtyard community in Seattle that graciously taught me to appreciate the joys of the shared grill. The lighting of the coals was an open invitation to throw something on and participate. So, if someone had just brought home a bag of fresh oysters, they might be joined by vegetables and steaks from another neighbor. There were evenings of grilled pizza topped to anyone's liking and foreign foods we had to practice to pronounce.
The diversity was fascinating, the smoke comforting, and the warmth of the coals reassuring and inviting.
This weekend marks the official start to summer grilling. So, over the next few days, Ryan and I have decided to share a few of our grilled favorites with our family and friends here on FGHD. We'd love to have you hang out with us, or take an idea and run with it.
We're ready to celebrate summer.