Five cool tools for summer cookouts and honoring the contributions of gay and lesbian chefs for LGBT Pride Month are subjects of recent USA Character Approved Blog posts.
A fun, exhausting weekend road trip and a surprisingly debilitating summer cold are conspiring to keep me out of the kitchen this week. I’ll return next week with a recipe.
Grilling equipment used to consist of a fire and a sharp stick. Or maybe two sharp sticks, so you could use one to protect your meal from a saber-toothed tiger. Things have certainly evolved since then. Our tandem loves of grilling and of gadgets have converged to create a dazzling array of tools and accessories for outdoor cooking. Some come with a princely price tag—how many pizzas would you have to grill in your artisan fire pizza oven to amortize its $6,500 cost? Others are just, well, silly. Do you seriously need your grill thermometer to alert your smartphone when the steaks are done?
But some make a lot of sense. Like the steel grill pan above that keeps veggies and other small foods on the grill, not in it. For a look at five cool grilling tools that make summer cooking easier, check out my latest post on the USA Character Approved Blog.
Celebrating LGBT Pride Month, out in the kitchen
June is LGBT Pride Month. I have mixed emotions about celebrating it. On the one hand, its mere existence is wonderful. It is a worldwide recognition of the contributions lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and queer people have made and continue to make on a daily basis. LGBT Pride Month also stands up to the prejudice that still lingers here and around the world. In a proclamation last month, President Obama said, “I call upon all Americans to observe this month by fighting prejudice and discrimination in their own lives and everywhere it exists.”
My problem is that we need an LGBT Pride Month, that we haven’t gotten past the discrimination of people over their sexual orientation. It is, after all, just one part of who we are, like having curly hair or being left-handed or good at algebra. In our daily dealings with others, it should have no more and no less importance than any of these other traits.
One place that comes close to achieving that ideal is the professional kitchen. And one reason I think it’s so is that when you cram that many people into a cramped, hot space under often stressful, hurried conditions, everyone quickly becomes judged for what they can do, not who they are. Anita Lo, celebrated chef/owner of Annisa in New York, takes this idea further when reflecting on the high ratio of gay to straight female executive chefs. She asks, “Are gay women less bound by societal norms and therefore get further in this field?”
Help us celebrate the contributions of gay and lesbian chefs and food entrepreneurs; take a look at this recent slideshow and post on the USA Character Approved Blog.