He's done it again.
Hick barbecued yesterday. Just for the family. He goes all out on the grilling. I must admit that his fare is tasty. Much better than that of my dear old dad that I was raised on, charred within an inch of its life, crusty leather pork steaks and hard, hockey-puck, tasteless hamburgers. I didn't know any better at the time. So Hick's skills were impressive. He was in high demand for our impromptu apartment-complex cookouts when we first met.
Because Hick believes his time tending the coals should be maximized, he never cooks just enough for one meal. We must lay in a doomsday-prepper-sized stash of grilled meat. So yesterday, he served up nine hot dogs, three pork steaks, a T-bone, two Porter Houses, and six hamburgers. I did my part by cooking up a potato/carrot/onion medley seasoned with Hidden Valley Ranch powder, Worcestershire Sauce, steak sauce, and fresh ground pepper. That was to keep him from using valuable space on his two Webers for heating his version, a foil-wrapped packet of sliced potatoes and carrots with a dab of butter on top. Let the record show that this dish usually yields only half the expected serving, due to the vegetables sticking to the foil.
Hick assured me that from lighting the coals until serving the meat, an interval of sixty to ninety minutes would pass. And I believed him! So I put my already diced and seasoned roasting pan of veggies in the oven at the same time Hick set his Kingsford ablaze. I could have slid that pan in the oven at any time. But I coordinated my part of the meal with his timetable.
Forty minutes later, Hick entered the kitchen with the meat. All of it. Of course my side dish was not ready. Unless you're one of those raw foods people. Which I doubt, if you are planning to eat barbecue. But the issue of microwaved vegetables is not the focus of my story.
As Hick entered the kitchen, and I was frantically deciding how to best entice my children to eat substandard veggies, I hear a THUNK!
Hick had dropped the large black metal roasting pan filled with all the meat.
I looked at Hick over the counter that separated us. Hick looked at me. "Ahh...I only lost two hot dogs." He disappeared from sight as he bent over to pick up the spoils. I took him at his word. Just like with the ETA of the meat. Which I should have known was a mistake.
As I busied myself with microwaving potatoes and carrots and onions without their tasty sauce, Hick set the pan of meat on the cutting block and commenced to moving it all around. It was like he was tossing a salad with his hands. Like Clark Griswold's niece, Vicki, stirring the Kool-Aid with her arm up to the elbow in the pitcher. "Here's your two hamburgers."
Let the record show that I had asked for my hamburgers to be medium rare. They are so tasty that way. But I did not want them manhandled by the man who just picked up two hot dogs off the kitchen floor. The section right inside the door. "Will you please quit touching them?" Hick acted a bit put out.
I served up steaks and sub-par potatoes for the boys. Hick busied himself in another room, probably washing the dirt off his hands that he hadn't rubbed off on the meat. I used a spatula to dig around in the meat pile, looking for my hamburgers. I found one right away, on top, and slapped it on a bun. But I was unsure of the other one. I figured it must be there somewhere. Because Hick told me so.
We partook of our repast. Then went our separate ways. Hick busied himself with letting his goats feast on my lilac bush. The Pony and I headed for the basement to feed our electronic addictions. Genius no doubt worked on what he works on every night...trying to take over the world.
A couple hours later, I went to clean up the kitchen. There were leftover slices of tomato, onion, and pickle to be disposed of. Since Genius had taken out the trash without prompting, I did not want to put such refuse in the new trash bag. So I did what everybody down here in Backroads does, and flung my garbage off the back deck. Upon re-entering the kitchen, something caught my eye. It was leaning up against some form of briefcase or tool case that Hick had set against the base of the kitchen counter.
It was a plump, barbecued hamburger!
Dang! That man needs his eyes examined. This rivals the time he left a banana peel in the recliner, and lost half a donut under his chair in the pre-surgery room at Children's Hospital. Of course he was nowhere to be found. My hands were full. I passed it by for the moment, and resumed my galley cleanup. The errant medium-rare hamburger did not cross my mind until a couple hours later. I told Genius to inform his dad, who was still missing in action, to pick it up.
"You mean you couldn't even pick it up?" demanded the boy who steps over his own discarded wrappers on a daily basis.
"My hands were full. Then I forgot."
"I'll do it!" he responded, magnanimously.
This morning, I informed Hick of his barbecue faux pas. And he asked, "Did you pick it up and wash it off?"
Let that stuffed-to-the-gills record show that approximately four hours had elapsed between the time the hamburger hit the floor until I discovered it. There's no four-hour rule for floor food as far as I'm concerned.
But then again, according to Hick, I'M the one who thinks food has to be refrigerated or it will spoil.