Story #4: Cooking the Gleason Way


Originally uploaded by officergleason

My earliest memories of my family involve cooking. My parents were fairly equitable about the house-hold chores. My dad would help cook, handle lawn duty (until Tony was old enough to do it) and work. My mom would help cook, do laundry (until high school then I got that duty) and work part-time. Cooking was the overlapping duty. Some nights my dad would grill, other nights my mom would cook something. Usually, they divvied up the tasks.

For all these memories, my parents never directly taught me anything about cooking. I would hover around my mom while she worked on a sauce; sometimes I’d talk to my dad while he grilled–but I can’t remember either of them saying to me, “This is how you cook this.”

This is a shame–as this year, my goal is to cook my father’s Area-Famous ribs. He promised to teach me, but we never got around to it.

Anyway, my dad’s grill skillz were intense. He grilled in thunderstorms, blizzards, windstorms, humid Chicago summers and for dozens of people. He could grill sober, drunk and hungover. Ribs? Steak? Chicken? Pork? Vegetables? Fruit? No problem.

He preferred Charcoal but he could work propane too. Weber was his grill of choice.

I bring this up because I have a grill now–and technically, I have learned more about how to grill from my uncle Dan than my dad. However, wherein my uncle times things, I rely on my sense of touch–yes, reach in and poke the damn stuff–and my nose.

Hell, my nose is a classic Gleason nose. Its big enough, it might as well be useful.

Grilling has come by naturally to me. I think, given twenty years of practice, I can even surpass my dad.

As for a specific grill story… I can’t really think of one. Sorry.

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