“Come with me if you want to live!”
-Kyle Reese, The Terminator, 1984 -The T-1000 Terminator, T2: Judgment Day, 1991
This summer Terminator: Genisys will again recite the classic line above. This line ties together nearly thirty years of Sci-Fi evolution. That’s quite an achievement, but this summer we can tie together all of human culinary evolution just by charring up some meat in our own back yard. “The history of grilling begins shortly after the domestication of fire, some 500,000 years ago,” according to Food Network, the Einstein’s brain of all things food. “The backyard ritual of grilling as we know it, though, is much more recent.” It wasn’t until the 1940s and 50s—the suburban second domestication of fire—that grilling became a summer pastime rather than a camping necessity. The grill as we know it today was forged around the same time by Chicago “metalworker by trade and a tinkerer by habit,” George Stephen who “had grown frustrated with the flat, open brazier-style grills common at the time,” George had also inherited controlling interest in Weber Bros. Metal Spinning Co, which mostly made metal harbor buoys back then. Ol’ George took a buoy, “cut it along its equator, added a grate, used the top as a lid and cut vents for controlling temperature” and “the Weber grill was born and backyard cooking has never been the same,” (Food Network, 2015). I’m sure we recall back in Fat Guy’s Guide to Health, discussing that the key to Adaptive Eating is discovering what we find most compelling in the eating experience and prioritizing it healthily. We explored the balance of flavor, texture and volume and how they fulfill us. “In terms of getting maximum nutrition without sacrificing flavor, grilling is a great option,” accord to Kathryn Siegel, renowned health journalist. “It requires minimal added fats and imparts a smoky flavor while keeping meats and veggies juicy and tender,” (Siegel, 2013). Spring has sprung, and taste buds are stirring to wakefulness; casting off the blankets of comfort food and perking at the hope of summer tastiness. Let’s look towards a summer of Adaptive Eating and grilling our hearts out.
“The future’s not set. There’s no fate but what we make for ourselves.”
-John Connor, T2: Judgment Day, 1991
In terms of volume, grilling veggies will always be your best bet. Spice is the Spice of Life tackled that last summer; go get an awesome recipe. Fill your plate (and belly) with those tasty treats but add a controlled portion of meat, wonderful meat, grilled as God intended. “Just stick with lean cuts of meat that require less cooking time, and keep dark meats on the rarer side,” and understand that we need to punch up the flavor and texture, because volume will not fulfill. (Siegel, 2013) Pork loin or chop, chicken breast, or any seafood are all lean and awesome choices for higher volume grilled meat. If we still seek to sacrifice some form of cow on our backyard altar then Mayo Clinic (2015) suggests that we use eye of round, sirloin tip, top and bottom round, or top sirloin since they are all lean cuts of beef, and to “choose cuts that are graded ‘Choice’ or ‘Select’ instead of ‘Prime,’ which usually has more fat. Choose cuts with the least amount of visible fat (marbling).”
“[The Terminator is from] one possible future. From your point of view… I don’t know tech stuff.”
-Kyle Reese, The Terminator, 1984
Flavor and texture are the calorie-balancing powerhouses in grilling. Food Network’s Restaurant Impossible host, chef Robert Irvine and Iron Chef Bobby Flay—both grill masters—advocate for the simple magic of salt and pepper on all meat as well as trying just about any spice blend. Everything from cocoa and cinnamon to tarragon and fennel to even instant coffee are worth a try. Best of all, as long as we keep the brown sugar to a minimum, they’re calorie free! Marinades with any vinegar, many condiments and fruit juices impart both flavor and a more tender texture by breaking down the meat, also for few calories. Experiment and go wild! How we grill is just as important as what we grill. Open camp fire adds woodiness and smokiness and, let’s face it, will add a crunchy char to most meats, no matter how careful we try. Gas grilling is the fastest and most temperature controlled, which can get a crispy skin, but it’s hard to get the campfire crunch. Charcoal is the slowest and the least direct-flame charring but some people find it the most flavorful and tenderizing method.
“Hasta la vista, baby.”
-The T-1000 Terminator, T2: Judgment Day, 1991
Aside from the typical tongs, fork and spatula an accomplished grill master—especially one seeking to eat adaptively, will add a few other tools to their arsenal. Grill baskets are great for grilling small, loose veggies or shellfish. Many different types of grill toppers (essentially a pan or pot with holes for flame to lick through) are great for grilling thin meat, carrots, asparagus or broccoli. A grill wok is out there for stir-fry grilling or leafy greens. But let’s not overlook the simple tools of tin foil for fish, potatoes, a spray bottle to keep the flame under some control and skewers for the best form of balanced, portion controlled adaptive eating; kebabs. Grilling is an adventure. It is a flavorful bit of time travel back to the earliest days of man, but with technology that he would have found pure science fiction. In that genre, with Reese, the T-1000, Sarah, John and whoever will restate the classic line this year as inspiration, again the invitation is given, “Grill with me, if you want to live.”
__________________________________________________ Food Network.com (2015) A Brief History of Grilling. Retrieved from: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/articles/a-brief-history-of-grilling.html Mayo Clinic Diet Cuts of beef: A guide to the leanest selections (2015) Retrieved from: http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/cuts-of-beef/art-20043833 Siegel, K. (2013) The Healthiest Cooking Methods Explained. Time. Retrieved from: http://healthland.time.com/2013/02/01/the-healthiest-cooking-methods-explained/