Monday, October 06, 2008

City Life

I have to live in a city. I just have to. The sight of the strip malls and carefully spaced cookie-cutter housing developments of suburbia makes me itch and wretch, in that order. I was raised in a city, I live in a city, I’m a city-person through and through. I love everything about the city. Except…

... the absence of grilling. There is no grilling when you live in an apartment. No back yard, no grills in parks, no place to act out my love for all things grilled over a flame. You do what you can. You hop on a boat to an exotic and grill-friendly destination. You force your friends with the rare back yard and other adaptations to invite you over - and often.

You have to give in to the city, because it won't give in to you. You adapt, and you embrace. You stick a grill on your balcony, porch, roof, windowsill, whatever. It’s not entirely legal, it’s not entirely safe, but you’ve gotta do what you gotta do.

My grill, on my pseudo-balcony/fire escape/extended windowsill

It’s a piece of crap propane grill. I feel like I am in constant threat of explosion, even when the thing isn’t on. I would have preferred charcoal, but open flames are unsafe enough right outside of your apartment window - glowing embers that don't go out for hours are not the smartest thing in the world. It heats unevenly and weakly. I’ve hardly used the grill, but it’s there. It's not the best grill in the world (or in Target), but it’s comforting to know I can always turn to it at will to get that bit of char flavor I love.

As far as city adaptations go, this one ranks somewhere below keeping a dog in 600ft apartment and above accepting the fact that your car will be dinged and scratched within 10 minutes of being in the city. Feel free to contribute your own city adaptations in the comments, if you are so inclined.


leena! said...

I'm not sure if they have them in Boston, but in Chicago you can find a similar size charcoal grill at Walgreen's for $10. It's not magic, but it flavors food much better than a propane. Or just become really good friends with some that has a bigger balcony and a kick-ass grill, and offer to cook for them. Then charcoal smoke a leg of lamb that is so damn delicious, they can't help but invite you over every weekend!

Speaking of Boston, I got into the Food symposium at Boston University in late January. Would love to grab lunch or dinner with you if you are free!

Mai said...

haha. so ghetto.

you need to make friends with someone in the burbs. or someone with a roofdeck.

i miss the city.

-country mouse

DD said...

I'm taking public transportation now that I'm in the city. That's my adaptation.

I am not a city girl. ;)

P.S. Please be safe with the grill.

rpg said...

This entry made no sense at all until I translated 'grill' into 'barbecue'.

Then all became clear.

By the way Anna, it's probably about time you updated your profile...

Anna said...

Leena - Yo. I am afraid of charcoal because the embers glow and stay hot for a long time. I don't want glowing hot embers 7 feet away from my bed. I would rather sacrifice some taste for a propane off switch. Lame, I know, but you gotta do what you gotta do. I am so excited that you will be in Boston!! I am absolutely thrilled to meet you. We will go eat bacon. Email me! Oh I am so looking forward to meeting you!

Maiya - Ghetto-FABULOUS you mean! I hope. Come back to the city! I will make you grilled things.

Archna - Um, now that's ghetto. I don't do public transportation. I did, for years, till I said no more. Can't do it. I don't like people enough to be cramped into a small space with 500 of them. What are you talking about, anyway? What public transport are you talking? I thought you were walking to work?

Richard - Dang, you're right. I need to update the profile on this blog. I think I have been stalling because I still don't know what I am going to be when I grow up. Seems a little strange to write about a "good eater in transition" in my profile. On second thought, maybe that's not so bad...

lissa said...

Yay to new profiles! 'bout time. I will (and do) miss the days of Newton bbqs with Josh. But I do have to agree with the ghetto fabulousness of your set-up. Although after the roasting prowess I was privileged enough to taste the other night, not sure what better chicken one could ask for... Supposed to say 'hi' from DC :)

One Food Guy said...

You should check out the Weber Q, it's also propane powered but heats up evenly and cooks quite nicely. It's a favorite of mine for tailgating, but balcony barbecuing, excuse, balcony grilling would be a good use for it too!