Monday, July 20, 2009

Mission Statement or why another blog

Ok, it's time. I have nearly a score of posts under my belt. I have spent a great deal of time checking other blogger's sites, and I believe I have something unique to contribute. So, it's time to explain a little about who I am, and what i hope to achieve with this blog.

I am a uniquely retired 52 year old male. I was fortunate enough to be self employed for my entire adult life. I have been lots of places, done lots of things, and enjoyed myself immensely. I have seen Paris in the springtime, London at Christmastime and New York in June. I have been privileged to dine at some of the most famous restaurants in the world, with food cooked by celebrity chefs (or at least the recipes passed from celebrity chefs to their cooks). I am/was a great eater. I love food.

But, now I live in the suburbs of Kansas City. I settled down for the love of a good woman, and life is better than i dreamed possible. We own (the bank actually owns a little less than half, but we are the majority stock holders) a lovely home. We have two cats; Chang (hers) and Eng (mine). And best of all, Mrs. Year on the Grill is truly my best friend.

This blog is an extension of a decision my wife and I made a couple of years ago. Let's set the stage...

We would dine out a couple of times a week. Kansas City has a few GREAT steakhouses. There are a couple of fine dining establishments that serve as good a meal as I have had anywhere. We are known for world famous BBQ joints, and there is no shortage of terrific chef owned restaurants that really love to show off interesting food in very pleasing ways. The quality of KC's dining out options has nothing to do with my plans.

Mrs. YotG (Year on the Grill) and I were enjoying one of KC's best little Jewell's, Pierpont's at Union Station. A fabulous meal, a terrific bar, superb wine list, well trained wait staff in an historical beautiful setting, Pierpont's has it all. We stayed for nearly 3 hours, it was a very memorable night. Then the bill came; $240. I do not want to seem like one of those buyer's remorse guys. I knew when I was ordering how much the bill was going to be, it just got me thinking...

That's quite a bit of money. I wonder if I could do that. I was always a bit of a special event cook. I can follow a recipe, make a little presentation and impress when we entertained. But dining out at the right places left me with the impression that they knew better than I. But why can't I do that. Hell, I can do that (yes, I am quoting the song from "A Chorus Line". From here on out, grab your copy of the soundtrack and play it in the background).

With that basic thought, our life took a big turn. Instead of eaters, we would becoming cookers. Instead of being entertained, we would entertain. We started simple enough. We took a couple simple cooking classes. New Orleans Cajun, cake decorating, smoking BBQ and grilling classes were offered at various locations and we took advantage of them. We also payed a great deal of attention when we did eat out. Ingredient lists and cooking methods became much more important on menus. We started working on the idea that, I can do that.

We ate out much less. Instead of twice a week, we averaged twice a month. We started entertaining in our home more. We began to save money towards a better entertainment setting. two years ago, we had a 10 X 8 concrete slab off a wooden staircase and two chairs in our back yard. We now have a 12 foot circle of brick patio that holds a pergola and dining table for 8 under it, another 10 foot circle of bricks for a firepit with seating for 4 (and comfortable room for 8 if you bring the chairs from the table over). I also have a bricked patio area for my smoker with room to set up a workstation table in front. There is now landscaping around the area and it really looks nice. We are slowly becoming the party area for our small circle of friends in the neighborhood. And just wait til next year when I start work on my outdoor kitchen, complete with running water, electricity and bar...daring to dream.

So, now I have the basic goal, I can do that. I have the setting, and the equipment. It is time to get better. That is the purpose of the blog. I am going to try to get better. I love to grill and entertain outdoors. That is going to be the emphasis of the blog, the foods that I grill. I will list some published recipes (with the proper acknowledgements), but I am also going to work on recipes I can call my own. I plan to explain the recipes that I tweek to my liking. A good example of that, one that I am particularly proud of is my Guinness Baked Bean recipe . Certainly, I took a very good recipe to begin with, and made it my own. I titled the blog, "My Year on the Grill", because my basic goal is to come up with 365 recipes that I can call my own. I am also planning to host 52 different parties with those recipes. My blog will show the journey of fulfilling those two goals. I am a little more than 1% of the way, so you will have plenty of time to enjoy my blog.

Well, that's it. I CAN DO THAT, and I need to get better are now my published goals. 365 recipes that I can call my own, and 52 parties. I have looked over several blogs on the net, and have not found anything exactly like what I am trying to do. I see many terrific BBQ and Smoking blogs. But most are geared towards competitive BBQ events (something I have little desire to do), or are glorified advertising magazines. I can get something from them, but they are not my goals. There are some really amazing cooking blogs with long histories and are very helpful. But these are mostly involved in cooking in an indoor kitchen, or specializing in single courses like dessert or breads. Mine will be aimed at back yard cooks and weekend hosts.

So, anyone want to comment, feel free. Anyone have a suggestion, please comment. To anyone who is in the state I was in 2 years ago... an eater, instead of a cooker; someone entertained as opposed to an entertaining person... follow along and maybe we can inspire each other. It's a journey.

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