“It’s a magical world, Hobbes, ol’ buddy…Let’s go exploring!” Calvin & Hobbes

Spring is here. I have never wanted a winter to end so badly! When you were a kid you waited in anticipation for the first snow so you could play outside. You yearned for summer to end the school year and start those late night games of hide and seek. You had dread and fear in your heart as autumn approached and you were back in school and breaking in a new teacher. But I never remember wanting spring to arrive so quickly as I did this year.

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Looking outside and staring at the snow mounted on my BGE and BBQ’s has been the most depressing sight for me over these past few months. I have been vigilant and dusted them off from time to time, but the cold and the snow seemed to keep pushing me indoors.

But that’s over now! The Equinox has arrived with a fury breaching this dull gray world back into the light! It’s doubly blessed us with a solar eclipse and an extended view of the Northern Lights. I’m not much for the holistic view of the universe but all these events must mean something.

Speaking of meaning something, I have a Bodhi tree. It’s the tree that Buddha supposedly found enlightenment under as he meditated. When I found it it was reminiscent of the Christmas tree in A Charlie Brown Christmas. Two sticks placed in a pot that needed support. I gave it a new home, water, some nourishment and a home. It flourished under my care and grew. But somehow I forgot that I had left it outside and it experienced the first frost. In my mind I heard Charlie Brown say “Rats! I killed it!” But being determined I brought it inside and left it in the corner for the winter. Every now and then I would see it and offer it some water. Every leaf fell of it and it was back to its original two sticks.

Then, if like an omen of spring a bud would appear and it would show me that it was back. Not dead, just dormant for a while needing a rest and then back with foliage abundant.

I didn’t hold much hope for it this year. I poured my glasses of water on it from the night before sleep and just had a little faith that it was still in there.

You get to an age and wonder in small miracles. Last week Bodhi came back to me. This time with passion and fury! By this the first day of spring, he’s made a complete comeback from his winter hibernation to stand before the world and claim “I AM BODHI! HERE ME ROAR!”

Ok that’s a little over the top but it’s the worlds way of telling me that we all need a little withdrawal and hibernation for a few weeks or months to recharge our batteries before we can once again take life for a ride.

I ‘ve spent some time in humble consideration of who I am and where I’m going. My life has changed drastically over the past year and I am in no way reflective of where I thought I would be at this point in my life. It’s been disheartening and yes depressing. But what I see each spring in that silly little tree is new growth and new opportunity to become something new again. This year it hits a little more to the soul than before. I’ve been through changes, heart wrenching, and soul breaking changes and have come through on the other side. This year they seemed to take a little more out of me. Maybe it’s my age, maybe it’s the lack of vitamin D, or maybe, like my Bodhi, I needed to hibernate for a while. I blame the weather.

Whatever it was it’s done! The leaves have broken through and the branch and are once again reaching for the sunlight. Ideas are flowing and the smoke is billowing from the gray matter.

Spring is here and I’ve never been so ready to welcome the path in front of me.

Life is good!

So the food? After all this is all about the food.

I’ve been thinking about food and writing things down for this and other considerations. I have once again found my mojo.

So here are some of the things to be ready for.

Bacon Sushi

Stuffed Bacon

Candied Bacon

Maybe a little to bacon focused so there are new recipes and ideas for

Pork

Beef

Chicken

Fish

Shellfish

Breads

Soups

Stews

And words about life

Oh and there were those Smoked Boneless Beef Ribs I stuffed into Yorkshire Puddings.

Talk soon. Actually, I’ll talk and you can read.

Be well and eat well

Scott Tait

The Artisanal Grill

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“Spring is nature’s way of saying, “Let’s party!”” Robin Williams

First burger of the seasonThere it is! It’s over! The fat lady has sung!……Hopefully?

There’s an anomaly that happens on my street. There is maybe one foot of ice and snow left in my backyard along one fence. I can see what will be grass in the next few weeks. The spring smell of damp decaying leaves and plants that were omitted from the fall racking has hit my olfactory and the raccoon that has been living under the tarp at the back of my yard is having his eviction notice served. Yet when I look in my neighbours backyard they still have fence to fence snow and ice. Maybe the gods smile on me and not them or maybe I have a military stockpile of nuclear weapons buried there. I don’t know why but it makes me smile.

The covers have never been on the BBQs all winter. Smoke and fire has been offered to the gods on a regular basis and my neighbours jealously drool a few times a week. The best part of spring is here, the start!

So the big decision you have is What’s First? What am I going to create?

Remember your last meal outside last fall? Did you love it? Would you change it up? Would you try something new and exciting? What’s your favourite thing to do on your grill?

Though burgers are mainstream and everybody does them, I took the lead from my kids and went for the obvious. However, my burgers aren’t the frozen hockey pucks from the local grocery store. Medium ground mixed with Italian sausage meat, onions, and roasted garlic topped with old cheddar and bacon.

I roasted off red pepper rings and used them as a border for some homemade guacamole. All this on my granite grilling stones. Take a look and try not to drool!

There are some great tips on the internet about how to clean and prep your grills for the start of the season. If you’ve been using it like me all winter, then you clean and wipe it down on a regular basis. If it’s been sitting since your last burger in the fall, take some time with it. Check the lines, check the plenums, check for anything that has decided to take residence in it, and give it a good clean.

So start your grills my friends. The season is here.

Be well and eat well.

Scott
Burgers on the stones