Friday, July 1, 2011

Memory Lane Friday - Cookouts and Barbecues

This week's Memory Lane Friday topic is "Cookouts and Barbecues."

I've loved cookouts for about as long as I can remember. There's just something about eating outside, eating food that was prepared on a grill that makes everything just so delicious. And fun!

Back when my grandparents lived in El Paso, TX and I spent lots of time with them (as a very young girl), I can remember an occasional cookout at White Sands National Monument. My cousins and I would be out on these fantastic white sand dunes playing (and "sledding") and working up an appetite, while somebody would be preparing the meal on a grill (which the park had for public use).

We'd all be famished by the time the meal was served. It didn't matter if it we were eating hot dogs or something much fancier, it was always downright tasty!

I took this photo of White Sands a few years ago, when I lived in New Mexico.

I can also remember times as a student at Culver Academies, that we equestrians would have a cookout on the Riding Hall terrace, overlooking the parade field and Lake Maxinkuckee. Typically, a few of the riding instructors would man the grill and cook steaks (or burgers, or whatever) for us during one of these cookouts, all of us teammates having a good time, enjoying the company and the food. 

Those didn't happen too often, but they were fun when they did happen. 

When I was older (after college and also while I was in the military), I'd sometimes visit my grandparents and have the opportunity to grill steaks on their backyard grill. Oma would usually be inside, fixing a salad and/or other side dishes while I was outside tending to the steaks. Sir Rafa would sometimes accompany me outside to "supervise."

Occasionally, we'd even eat outside on the patio after I finished grilling the steaks.

This wasn't too often, so I tended to really appreciate it when the opportunity arose.

While in the military, we'd occasionally have unit cookouts, with family members invited. It was always about the camaraderie, getting outside and enjoying some downtime together . . .and it was also about the food, of course.

Andrew and I would also grill a lot (steaks, chicken, veggies, burgers, hot dogs, whatever) when we were stationed just outside Boston, especially when the weather was nice. I'd gotten a nice Weber grill as a "present" for both of us as an anniversary gift our first summer there.

We loved getting jalapeƱo/cheddar burger patties from the meat department at a specialty grocery store down the road from the base. They were so delish! 

However, the last time I ate tried to eat one of those burgers . . . well, it wasn't pretty. Andrew had just been deployed and my mom was out visiting me and baby Livie (who was about 3 months old at the time). 

I'd picked up some of those burgers for my mom and myself. But after I'd fired up the grill, Livie decided it was time to nurse, so I went upstairs to nurse her. My mom offered to throw the burgers on the grill and prepare them for us, so they'd be ready by the time I'd finished nursing Livie.

But she was is not a griller . . . she'd left the burgers on the grill too long, turning them into charred little hockey pucks. So sad. 

Of course, there were also times when we would go out for BBQ, like to a BBQ restaurant for a meal - like my whole office (such as when I was stationed in Tucson - we'd go to a place called Jack's BBQ - I think I even took Andrew there once when he came out to visit). It was always fun getting out of the office for an hour or 90 minutes and having some tasty BBQ. (Of course, we'd also go out for sushi for lunch . . . but that's another story.)

Speaking of BBQ . . . there was this BBQ place Andrew and I found when we were stationed in the greater Boston area. It was down the block from the ballroom dancing studio in West Newton, where we took weekly lessons. This place, Blue Ribbon BBQ, was AWESOME!! 

They have the best, best, BEST baked beans. To this day, they are my favorite baked beans, ever!! My mouth is totally watering, just thinking about this place (and their baked beans). I usually got either the pulled pork or the pulled chicken to go with the beans - you know, so I wasn't just eating baked beans. 

Most weeks, we'd go there for dinner (either before or after our lesson, depending on what time our lesson started - the dancing lesson and dinner ended up being our "date night"). When we ate there, I always said, "the better the BBQ, the messier it is," because I usually dripped BBQ onto my clothing when we ate there. So if we planned on eating there (instead of the pub down the street), I'd need a spare shirt to change into (in the studio bathroom, of course), because I usually spilled BBQ sauce (or baked beans) on myself.

Another favorite BBQ place of mine is called Dinosaur BBQ in New York (NYC and upstate NY). I've only been to the one in Syracuse - a couple times while I was active duty with other members of my unit, as well as a time Andrew and I were on a road trip and spent the night in Syracuse. 

As soon as he and I checked into our hotel, by the way, I insisted we go to Dinosaur BBQ for dinner, for both the food and the ambiance. 

If you click here, you'll see that a lot of bikers stop there. It made Andrew a little nervous at first, for some reason, but then he realized it was all okay! 

Besides, not only is their BBQ awesome, they also have the most delish fried green tomatoes . . . and the desserts? I love their key lime pie and their pecan pie! Yum!! 

And now I am so incredibly hungry for BBQ!!

Memory Lane Friday is hosted weekly by Lisa at Two Bears Farm. Please click on the button below to read her entry this week, as well as other participants' posts:


Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

Oh my goodness, you're making me so hungry! I should pull something out of the deep freeze and get a marinade going!

Nancy @ A Rural Journal said...

BBQ memories -- yes! Always had homemade ice cream at Mom and Dad's. Best ever. :)

Kim @ Stuff could... said...

You have many good memories of eating outside! It is nice to have cookouts as a kid til now...Sounds yummy.

Michaele said...

I have been to White Sands. You have some great memories to share!

Crosby Kenyon said...

I imagine the idea of grilling and BBQing hearkens back to when we humans essentially had little choice--it was all outdoors. So we easily, even joyfully, connect to it.

Randy said...

I love White Sands. I am hoping to visit there in the winter this year. Speaking of BBQ we had the best BBQ in Albuquerque today at a place called Rudy's. Happy 4th!

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