Department of backyard cuisine

What happened? On major holidays, courtesy of those who started it all while it was still dark, among morning aromas was the aura of smoke and other olfactory components of BBQ. This pleasing custom seems to be disappearing.

People with less dedication and a higher laziness quotient would fire up their three-dollar hibachi grills at suppertime and pitch on a little or a lot of red meat of some kind and maybe some foil packets of potatoes if they were feeling ambitious.

Those who had invested in something taller than a hibachi, something with three or four legs, tended to indulge in a bit too much charcoal lighter, although for a time there were those who shunned briquets in favor of real charcoal and who used those firestarter chimneys that burn newspaper and don’t stink.

Then came the gas grillers, with each piece of equipment seeming to be more elaborate than another. Is it the gas grills or the times? When did red meat start going away, yielding to chicken parts? And why do so many people douse their non-vegetarian items of all persuasions with soy sauce? When did teriyaki cuisine take over?

This query is made in the spirit of disinterested research by one who as a kid consumed countless meals comprising menu items fried, boiled, stewed, roasted, or baked by a wood-burning range and who has no desire to make a practice of ingesting food prepared for the table using more primitive means than that. What I’m saying here is that I don’t cook outdoors unless camping and, except for the estimable and now disappearing masters of home BBQ, I don’t encourage others to do so.

Maybe it won’t be all Kikkoman, all the time forever. Post-teriyaki, what?

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