‘Long about January every year, I’m longing for a Spring Lunch---pastelly and asparagussy and the windows open to the sounds and scents of the season. May Wine sounds enticing when someone else talks about it, and it’s a lovely thought shining in the glass, but probably only Caro would take a sip, and maybe Chris (but he’d probably want Sprite in his).
But this year----THIS year---I’ve been dreaming of a Summer supper on the lawn, with a marquee over the table, and the gauzy panels catching the late-evening breeze. The menu would be straight off the grill, in that decades-old repetition of Southern cookouts---ribs or chicken, baked beans, potato salad, maybe some crisp-cut slaw or summery pasta salad, sliced tomatoes----but not burgers.
For burgers are of themselves, with their little side-rounds of onion and pickle and tomato on a plate, and maybe chips on the side.
Burgers are what you have at the end of a day of yard work, when you all just wash up and sit in the shade around the patio while the grill heats up, or when somebody’s bringing their children, and you rustle open a bag of Lay’s and fill up the KoolAid pitcher.
But chicken, now---that’s a good sit-down-with-friends supper, with corn cooked in the shuck, or some caramelized onions.
And Ribs---Ribs are the ne plus Unh-Hunh of grillwork. Chris makes the ULTIMATE backyard ribs---tender and succulent and with a sweet bronze glaze; they’re simple, and simply perfect with a cold Wonder-Bread-Blue-Plate-Sweet Onion sandwich when it’s just us, or with all the trimmin’s when there’s company.
It’s not BARBECUE, but, like a short message from a friend, ‘twill serve til better days.