Originally Published in the Greenwood Daily Journal Saturday June 16, 2012
I can kill my own spiders, get the door for myself , change my own flat tire and toss a baseball with my kids. I am a fairly independent person and I really don’t need someone to do many things for me. I think I am a product of growing up in a time where women were groomed to be more self sufficient in the home and more ambitious in the workplace.
Having said this, I am not an island. In an era of ‘hold your own door, women can do it better’ thoughts, these extremist views almost shed more light on the role of the father in a child’s life. A yen for the mother’s yang. The Good Cop to complete my Bad Cop sandwich. And most definitely, someone to put the worm on the hook, I just wont do that!
One thing I also do not do ,and in this house it is my husbands role, is grilling. Now he would argue that it is also just his role to take out the dog, put away laundry and take out the trash. I just see this as semantics.
I like to do an occasional flip of a burger or testing for doneness, but the grill to me is just a hulking piece of metal that needs to be cleaned. It may be because he has just always taken the lead where the grill is concerned but I generally avoid cooking on it. I will admit, however, that I am the one who suggests the out of the box recipes and adventurous experiments. I did have to be the one to point out to him that just about anything can be grilled, which he scoffed at. Then I grilled peaches and topped them with a scoop of fresh vanilla bean ice cream and grilled shortcakes. He changed his tune then!
The bottom line is that I come up with the recipes for outdoor cooking and he implements them. I guess he could be called by grill minion. This week he made the best thick cut pork chops I have ever had. Cooked to perfection and topped with a fresh strawberry salsa it was the perfect Indiana Summer meal to enjoy outdoors by the water. All he did was use a pork rub by Famous Dave’s and made sure to cook them low and slow.
Besides grilling, my husband likes to try his hand at making barbecue sauce. Whenever I make any kind of barbecue or pulled meat, I always know it will be a slam dunk meal. It’s simple and easy to make even if you don’t have a smoker, which believe it or not I don’t. What you drench your meat in can really make or break your hard work and time spent getting the meat right. You have noticed this if you have ever eaten BBQ from a restaurant and the meat is just so so and the sauce saved the day or vice versa.
We have tried most of the BBQ eateries in Central Indiana and that is no exaggeration. Like the perfect pork tenderloin sandwich, we are always on the scout for a new and exciting place. We recently found out about a new place in Richmond, Indiana that is in an old firehouse. Aptly named Firehouse BBQ and Blues, this dining established has recently opened and is really owned and operated by firemen. How authentic is that? They boast of having live music and all of the sides that accompany a meal are served in mini Ball jars.
So I thought of no better time to try it out than for Father’s Day weekend. We are heading up there today for a visit and will also check out a few newly opened shops in and around the Historic Depot District. The boys will leave their toys at home and we will enjoy the trip up on a beautiful day. We all like to venture out of our home area to try new things so it will be a fun day for sure!
I had to think outside the lines because Father’s Day is a hard one for me. If you were to believe what the store ads purport, men really want golf clubs, neck ties, lawn mowers and cologne. Not my father and certainly not my husband.
The men in our lives want what most women want for their special day. To relax, spend time with family and do something that interests them. My husband likes a good hunk of meat so I was happy to oblige. What he doesn’t like is my boys and I going all out and try to best one another to give the best gift ever.
We had a laid back week filled with fishing, an Indianapolis Indians game and cooking together on the grill as a family. See, the gift you can give your husband, the one that costs you nothing but love? Letting him be the Dinner Hero for once. Letting his sons see that Dad can cook as well and clean up. Blur the well defined mommy and daddy lines a bit.
Dads can cook and moms can mow the yard and at the end of the day the best lesson you can teach your kids to just be, not put yourself into a box that defines you because you are a man or a woman. I know I don’t want my sons to grow up thinking they need a woman to cook and clean for them. I want them to know how to do this themselves and the best way to teach them is to model that life for them.
That is my gift to my husband this year: cooperation, flexibility and compromise. His gift to me was a little concoction that is so quick to throw together on a weeknight you will swear he actually brought home carry out BBQ.
Quick Barbecue Sandwiches
adapted from Cooking Light
1/2 C no salt added ketchup or whatever you have will work as well
2 TB honey mustard
2 TB water
3/4 tsp ancho chili powder
3/4 tsp smoked paprika or any paprika you have
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/8 tsp kosher salt
3 C shredded skinless, boneless cooked chicken, I used rotisserie chicken
3 TB canola mayonnaise
2 TB cider vinegar
1 tsp sugar
3 C pre-shredded coleslaw, I used a bagged blend
1/3 C shopped green onion
hamburger buns, toasted-optional
Combine the first 10 ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer, cook for 10 minutes on a medium low heat. Remove from heat and add the chicken to the sauce.
In a bowl, combine the mayonnaise, vinegar and sugar. Toss in the cabbage slaw and green onions.
On a bun, place a small amount of the chicken mixture and top with a spoonful of slaw.