Take Back the Grill!

I don’t know when Memorial Day became a National Day of Grilling. But what was once a day of remembrance, has become a time to relax — with friends, a six-pack or two and a Weber.

If you doubt the significance of the Memorial Day barbeque, look no further than this hilarious New York Times story  about the Weber Grill hotline and its busiest week of the year. While the tale of Weber’s grill experts (who are overwhelmingly women) is my favorite cooking-related article of the weekend, grilling stories abound. And here’s what irks me: Most all of these articles ignore vegetarians — or insult them. A recent O slideshow titled “6 Inventive (and Tasty!) Takes on the Classic Burger” includes this telling line: “To come up with topping ideas for vegetarian burgers, I think of a big bowl of plain rice—what could I add to that bowl that would taste delicious?”

In other words, meatless burgers are about as tasty as a bowl of plain rice.

I guess I should give the O editors props for including a real vegetarian main course — a brown rice and lentil burger — rather than just a side dish like grilled corn.

But still. I want more. I want to take the grill back. I want backyards across the nation to fill with the scents of slowly roasting peppers, of carrots and onions — getting sweet and charred, of spicy black bean burgers, and generous slices of corn bread. I want the grill-queens at the Weber hotline to be answering questions about the right temperature for grilling cauliflower and how to stop their portobello mushrooms from drying out. Dammit, I want to hear Sarah Moose-Shooting Palin brag about Todd’s grilled asparagus!

Until then, I’m doing my little part to take back the grill.

The Professor’s sister and brother-in-law are visiting, and we fired up the Weber on the night they arrived to cook asparagus and pizza.

I admit, we did make one or two pizzas with chicken sausage for our Southern guests. I also made two with garlicky spinach and fresh ricotta. And one with sauteed wild mushrooms.

“When you make a mushroom pizza, you do not joke around,” said The Professor as he carried my portobello- and shitake-smothered pizza to the grill. He’s right. And hmmm, hmmm was it tasty.

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