Fall Flames

italian-style grilled chicken

For most, Fall conjures up thoughts of apple crisp baking and pumpkin soup making. And it does for me, too. But I also associate Fall with grilling. When I was growing up, my family didn’t own a grill. Living in an apartment complex, we couldn’t. I understood the concept of grilling but only remember my friends’ families serving up things like hot dogs and hamburgers from their fancy-dancy gas-powered contraptions. Fake grilling.

But then, there was the grilling that my dad’s friends did over fire pits, essentially. I remember showing up to cookouts with my dad, where we would eat beautifully charred pieces of meat and deeply caramelized tomatoes, skewered on thick metal rods that resembled an ancient warrior’s sword. The chicken kebabs were technicolor yellow thanks to a liberal dousing in turmeric and Persian saffron — the good stuff. And the taftoon (bread) and large beds of fluffy Basmati were the perfect carbs for absorbing all of the flavorful juices from the meats of the red variety, which were always cooked well-done but somehow still juicy. I don’t remember wondering why we didn’t eat this way at home. All I remember was the smell of the fire, the food, and the wet grass. Oh, and it was always chilly. You know, big sweatshirt after dark weather.

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