Mr. Grove’s incredibly useful book.

For most people, summer is grilling season. I tend to look at a good grill as an extension of my kitchen. Particularly if I’m going to cook something that will generate an awful lot of smoke. I’m most happy to report that my Big Green Egg, a kamado style grill, is a luxury to which I’m rapidly becoming accustomed.  It is truly an engineering marvel and makes grilling, smoking, searing, and baking easier than it should be. But, I am no master of the grill. Thankfully, the nice PR people sent me The Kamado Smoker and Grill Cookbook: Recipes and Techniques for the World’s Best Barbecue to review and, combined with the forums, my meals are turning out better than ever.

To begin with, why didn’t I think of getting a welder’s glove to use to open the top and move things around? Kamado grills can superheat — I’ve had mine up to 700ºF/371C — and that’s truly uncomfortable working around. Mr. Grove taught me about the gloves in the opening chapters of his book. I’ve also invested in a vacuüm sealer to shorten marinating times… .Did I mention that I can now cook breakfast on the grill? Indirect heat and a cast iron griddle pan make fantastic eggs and bacon. I’m thinking about smoking some water to make ice-cubes (A Daniel Chang of Momofuku trick.)

Easy to read, enjoyable to put into action, Mr. Grove’s book is THE one to buy if you dive into the ceramic grill world. Go check out his writing on his blog: NibbleMeThis.com and try to resist the siren’s call of cooking in this ancient and wonderful way.

CoatNoTie

Would you ever just go to work in a tie without wearing a coat?

These days when everything is more casual, and yet we can still find the energy to criticize Mr. Obama for wearing a tan suit in summer, I wonder where you put your stops?

We’ve been discussing the middle ground, that sort of business casual look that has prevailed among offices, entrepreneurs, and the hoi polloi, regardless of what a stroll through your town or mall might suggest. Me? I find it less difficult than I used to to forget about the coat and tie. Tailored shirt and trousers, good shoes and that’s about it. But it’s still 90+ºF/32+C here in The Old Dominion. Even unlined linen sports coats like the one above are a bit much when walking around outside. I’ve tackled the open collar wilting issue with Würkin Stiffs collar bones and highly recommend them.

With a return to cooler weather promised, I’m sure that I will once again embrace suits, ties, sweaters and sports coats for all they’re worth. After all, I never feel as productive and flat-out good as I do when dressed for any possibility. But, for the meantime, it’s open collars, cotton and linen at best. Where do you draw the business casual line?

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