Simple things


Staff member
Joined Jun 11, 2001
Sometimes things just go right. It was a long drive home from Iowa yesterday. I couldn’t get a good song on the radio all day so I just turned it off. The pork chop sandwich at that seedy truck stop was pretty good. But I’m hungry again. My thoughts turn to dinner.

Perhaps it was the trickling sound coming from the creek, or the people out waxing their cars. Somehow is struck me that dinner tonight was going to be special. I think to myself, “today is a good day to grill a steak.” A quick pause to plot my route to the butcher shop and I’m off. Ten minutes later I’m back. Under my arm is a white package upon which is written with a black marker, Ribeye, Prime, 2.2#. I hastily drop my luggage at the front door and head for the charcoal.

I have three Weber grills of different sizes. You could probably feed a small congregation with the large one. I’ve never done it but I estimate you could get at least forty hamburgers of above average heft on that grate. Today I’ll use the small one. It’s fifteen inches in diameter… the perfect size for two perfect steaks.

The coals seem to take forever to light today. I have one of those chimney starters where you place some crumpled up newspaper in the bottom and charcoal in the top. You’re supposed to use a match to light the newspaper and then place it on top of your grate. The burning newspaper creates an updraft which ignites the coals in the upper portion of the chimney. The steaks are ready. What’s taking it so long? I sip on my wine.

About this wine I’m drinking… it’s leftover wine from two days ago. Pretty hardy stuff this wine, doesn’t smell corked and doesn’t taste like vinegar. It actually tastes like some unsweetened grape juice. It seems to smell faintly of slightly less than fresh tuna. Could it be that the smoke from the coals is interfering with my sense of smell? I sip on it nonetheless. If anything it gives me something to do while waiting for the embers to reach their proper stage.

The coals are finally done. I toss the steaks on the grill. They sizzle. After a while the fat on the edge starts to char. At this point I’m fighting the flames. They fight back. The embers seem angry. They seem to spit and slap at the meat with flaming whips. There’s little I can do. I close the vents to try and quell the flames. It works. The steaks are now rare. In one minute they will be medium-rare. I look around for a plate. I seem to have forgotten one.

Decisions, decisions. I find myself staring blankly at my wine collection. There are two basic categories in my collection. First is the value section which consists of wines under $20. These are bottles of wine I consume with reckless abandon. Hardly a day goes by in this section without some kind of attrition. Then there are the occasion wines. These are, in general, more expensive. Don’t ask me if they taste better, I just assume they do. Today is a special day.

I zero in on a bottle wrapped in white tissue paper. It’s a 1995 Jarvis Cab. I consult my inner wine expert. He agrees with me. Now is definitely the time for Jarvis.

Every time I try to purchase a decanter I’m told to wait and see if I’ll get one for Christmas. It’s a game my family plays. Good things sometimes come to those who wait, but this can mean going for eleven years without a proper method for decanting your wine. Never mind, I’ll just pour gently. What the heck, I’ll just drink gently. Oh ****, a little sediment never killed anyone!

Meanwhile that steak’s looking a little lonely. I’ll fix that in a hurry.

For a brief moment the sky could have fallen and I wouldn’t have noticed. I take a swig of wine. The oak is subtle. I get a burst of fruit, then anise, then more jam. The fruit turns to strawberry, then raspberry. Then it slowly melts away leaving only a tingle of Napa Valley sunshine on my tongue. The feeling’s intense… cathartic. My emotions run amok.

“Hey!” my wife says. “Could you please pass me the pepper mill?”

I realize what’s happening. I snap back into reality. “Uh yep, here it is.” I reach for my glass again. Life, for the moment, is good.
Joined Feb 22, 2002
Oooh food stories, yes, I think we could use some more of those. How about a new forum for food stories--creative writing--fact and fiction? :lips:
Joined Aug 11, 2000
Inner wine expert.....great line!!!! Thanks for the good read. I ate a bowl of cold cereal and a banana as I was envisioning the med rare ribeye searing on the grill....
Joined Jul 31, 2000
That was a great read Kuan,

New angle for you in your writting.

I didn't know you we're a wine guy.

For a 95 Jarvis don't sweat not having a decanter,not nessasary.

Again,thanks for the read.


Staff member
Joined Jun 11, 2001
Thank you all for the kind comments :) You're right CC, the Jarvis needed no decanting and as for being my agent, sure 1x, you can be my agent. I'll give you 90% heh... heh. Sucka :D
Joined Nov 17, 2000
Love your story, Kuan! I was thinking the other day that I seem to remember having time to just enjoy the really little things. Two months from now, when school is finally out and the teenagers move on to teenage things, I hope to get a bit of that time back.
We grill a lot in the summer, and we tend to enjoy sitting in the back yard with a bottle of beer from the cooler while waiting for the steak to get happy. Great days!
It's funny how people seem to sort of "live through" whole days and not really stop and notice how neat things are--too much hurry, hurry!
Thanks for the cool story!
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