Grilling is just about as American as apple pie or baseball. Especially in the spring and summer when the winter frost has melted and people are excited to spend as much time outside as possible. Most red-blooded men relish time spent working over the coals, armed with nothing more than a pair of tongs for prodding a few sizzling hot dogs. My husband has bucked tradition, though. He hates the grill.
At this point you're probably scratching your head, wondering how anyone can have such disdain for a tool that makes outdoor dining so pleasant. But that's the point: My husband finds grilling and all of the minutia surrounding eating outdoors to be more trouble than it's worth.
The scene usually unfolds like this: I arrive home and pull out some marinated meat, fish or chicken. My children see me pulling out the tongs and get excited, saying, "Can we eat outside, Mommy? Can we, can we?"
I love eating outside. I am happy to prepare the meat and I'm even OK manning the grill. But I always have to gird my loins for the moment when my husband walks in the door, because I know a barrage of complaints will ensue.
It's worth pointing out that we live in New York City and are extremely fortunate to have a backyard big enough to fit a grill and some seating. Most New Yorkers would give their eye teeth for outdoor space of any sort; include green grass and the capability for outdoor entertaining and we are in the league of the very, very lucky.
But despite all this, my man gets outright annoyed when we eat outside. He's not totally cuckoo -- it does take advance preparation (prepare the meat, light the grill, get all the paraphernalia outside). His argument is that when he has arrived home from a long day at work, the last thing he wants to do is schlep dining utensils outside, and then schlep them back inside once we've completed our meal.
I understand his irritation, but it doesn't stop the steam from spilling out of my ears as I scream (inside my head) "We live in New York City and have a backyard, you fool! We're so lucky, so get your ass outside and enjoy yourself!"
Needless to say, dinner through clenched teeth isn't that pleasant. Maybe I'll just give in and give up the idea of eating outside. Maybe we will spend the entire summer sitting indoors, eating microwaved meals in front of our window air-conditioning unit.
Screw that. He can eat by himself. We'll be outside, eating corn on the cob and swatting away mosquitoes.
Here, a few outdoor fireplaces so you can eat outside without freezing your rear end off.
An outside living room definitely needs this feature.
What could be better than stepping out of a cold pool and warming up by that fireplace?
It's built right into the wall -- pretty convenient, huh?
This has a pretty modern design.
We're loving the stone work on this one.
It's clean, sleek and beautiful.
This is definitely a unique design to have in a backyard.
We're loving the chimney-like feel of this one.