It’s that time of year, dear reader, where the outdoor grill becomes your best friend. You buy some meat, slap it on a bun, and dinner is served. You receive text messages, and even send a few yourself, with an all-day invite to the backyard barbecue. Even while talking with your neighbor across the fence, the proverbial invite is offered.
Swing on by, we are having a barbecue this weekend.
As a born and bred Texas gal knows, there is more to barbecue than the sauce. For me, my love of barbecue began with my relationship with my father. (Happy Father’s Day, Dad!) He, a true small town Texas native, used to scoop me up as a toddler and take me to enjoy the tasty, sloppy stuff at our local barbecue joint. Even then I must not have been too fond of meat– and have now been a vegetarian for 15 years– as I would always order barbecue beans and a baked potato. But the food was not what mattered most to me. Sitting with my feet dangling from the chair, looking up at the steer heads on the wall, I was right at home. The reason? Time stood still, and the relaxed meal brought about relaxed time with my dad.
After all, barbecue is not just a description of food. It is an event itself.
Fast-forward a few years or so, my feet now touching the floor, I still eat the beans, and the baked potato. And I still love the sentiment that barbecue itself conjures up. My guess is that you, too, feel similarly.
Barbecue is a time for family and friends, listening and laughing, caring and being carefree. It is backyard and summertime and kids running through sprinklers; it is finger-lickin’ food and stains on shirts and baseball caps to block the sun; it is the American Dream and apple pie and days that never end.
So, this week, as we celebrate our fathers, and as we look ahead to July 4th and the celebration of our country’s independence, I encourage you all to pull out the barbecue bib, dust off your tongs, and fire up the grill. Spend some time with those you love, and, much like the sauce that marinates the meat, allow the relaxation of the ritual to infiltrate your psyche. Get in some good old-fashioned downhome, downtime. The ritual of this tradition, as any Texan will attest, is food for the soul.