years back… can’t remember how long…i had my gas stove disconnected and i bought a counter top oven (think giant toaster oven) and a hotplate. I was done heating an entire metal box just to cook a small anything. i also didn’t like the idea of a continuously burning pilot light..not to mention i always owe the gas company my soul. Anyway things work out fine with my other methods of cooking food. the mic on top of the fridge pops popcorn and reheats things, and the counter top oven…a model i adore but they no longer make, i keep in good order because i can bake bread, cakes and whole chickens in it nicely. The one thing you CAN’T cook without an actual flame is a piece of steak. at least i can’t..i’d rather not ruin a nice piece of meat by frying it up, so during the few times of the year that i have the overwhelming urge to eat steak… it’s not often but i do live downwind of a steak house…i will usually get it to go.
In the summer there are other reasons to have access to fire…grilling vegetables is one, grilled anything else is another. – chicken, steak, corn on the cob, the odd piece of fish… so every couple of years I buy one of those tabletop – all of the assembly required – gas grills. And when they get too cruddy to overwinter on the porch, i throw them away and buy another the next year…i know that’s frivolous of me..but they aren’t built to last and oven cleaner costs $6.50 a can…so in my mind’s eye….it works out. When i started buying the little suckers they listed at $19 on sale for $15.99 or something…then they inched up to $24 on sale for $19…where they hovered conveniently for 10 years…these last couple of years they have practically disappeared from the shelves replaced with much more elaborate and costly models. when i do find them..such as the back corner of the Walmart they are now $24 no sale price. So last year i didn’t get one.
This year I did…i told you can’t be trusted with money….and i bought a few small pieces of steak…i wrapped them and tossed them in the freezer to be thawed when the urge gets too great. mostly I grill vidalia onions and corn inside its wrapper and so forth. Nothing better than grilled onion and peppers even without any sort of dead animal flesh to accompany it.
i bought the damn thing 2 days ago when i WANTED the steaks…and the box sat until i had time to assemble the bitch..now i have constructed at least TEN of these fucking things – perhaps more…and can generally do it without the instructions…but what i have noticed is that every year the are different..and every year they are slightly more complicated – not in the design but in the assembly…the handle is still the hand, but now the hand screws also hold up a bracket for the heat diffuser, whereas last time the heat thingy just balanced on something not so complicated. needless to say, i like to cut corners and always end up with extra pieces…hell this year they sent along the name plate and two screws and wingnuts to make sure i attach it.
Now the changes aren’t radical, it still looks the same and does the same job, but certain holes and screws and brackets are moved, changed enlarged etc.. just enough to require full attention..not something you can do drunk, unless you aren’t very hungry. I suppose the improvements all stem from complaints lodged against the previous models… i mean it IS a small steel box meant to contain FIRE, it is a reasonable assumption that it is HOT to the touch right? I am hoping they do not continue to get much more complicated – my patience for such self serve things, wears thin and my screw-to-washer-to-locknut-to-wingnut dexterity will not likely improve. If a part rolls away there’s a very good chance I will just continue as best I can with the ones remaining. I don’t think cleaning or maintaining it for a life long affair is worth the effort they are prime examples of designed obsolence…by next summer what itsn’t carbonized will be sporting rust and so forth. Or perhaps I should just get the stove reconnected so i can house grill my Vidalias in peace….nah… the gas company can still get stuffed.