Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Master Chef's Outdoor Grill Cookbook

Everyone in my neighborhood has a grill, and, as surely as the night will fall, most summer afternoons and evenings are punctuated with the mouthwatering aroma of grilling foods. What exactly is being grilled may be unknown, but the deliciousness of the smell is indisputable. Since I'm not privy to their grilling menus, I can only imagine if my neighbors are the sort of Master Chefs depicted in The Master Chef's Outdoor Grill Cookbook (1960). The subtitle of the book ('A fine collection of sometimes old and often original ideas and recipes for hearty, happy and even elegant outdoor cookery and entertaining') is rather a tall order, but one look at the cover picture (below) proves the mettle of the true Master Chef: a man of purpose (a hero, if you will) who will stop at nothing to provide morsels of a hearty and delicious nature. Pouring rain, skittish guests who fear the elements, nagging wives, and milquetoast sons can't waver the passion of the Master Chef.

'Kids these days. It seems like only yesterday they're tagging along beside you, telling you, 'Pop, I want to be just like you.' Next thing you know, they're off to college where they get all sorts of ideas. The intellectual mumbo-jumbo those so-called professors feed their impressionable minds. Then they come home and they're like strangers. Look at this picture. I could barely get the boy to hold the umbrella while I grilled the chicken. Look at that scowl, that infernal furled brow! Then there's the neighbors.. If you didn't want to get your fancy gabardine suit wet, buddy, you should have worn Outdoor Grill clothes like mine! Sheesh!'

I'm starting to think that maybe I'm a little morbid. The first thing I thought of when I saw this picture was A Place In The Sun.

It's almost as good as beef. Try some!

Three examples of the sort of miniature grills popular with Master Chefs.

Here the Master Chef sees to the Barbecued Bologna Roll.

That's an artfully arranged grilling area. (That's also a duckling on the spit!)

When I say 'summertime grilling,' you probably just think of franks and hamburgs. That's exactly why you're probably not a Master Chef. This fellow is preparing his Frogs' Legs Feast. Now, that's a treat that can only be followed by Freezer Ice Cream.

Ultimately, this is a pretty strange cookbook. There aren't a whole lot of pictures of the grilled foods. It's mostly men crouching over tiny grills with spindly legs.. or families that seem less than enthused about spending time together, most with their backs to the cameras. It very well might be the most antisocial cookbook I have, which is perhaps why it's so appealing!