Last thursday we trekked to Seattle to hear Steven Raichlen and Tom Douglas talk about all things barbecue. Raichlen was in town to promote his newest book Planet Barbecue as part of the Visiting Chef Series put on by Kim Ricketts Book Events.
Steven Raichlen is my kind of food geek. He graduated with a degree in French Literature from Reed College and in 1975 received a Watson Foundation Fellowship to study medieval cooking in Europe. This academic beginning sparked a passion for live fire cooking and Raichlen went on to bring barbecue to the masses. In 1998 he published The Barbecue Bible and 29 books later he is still going strong with two shows on PBS as well as his own line of barbecue gear and his wildly popular BBQ University.
Raichlen doesn't know me from a jar of spice rub but he taught me how to barbecue. Several years ago I was in the house making potato salad and staring with envy at my husband who was drinking a beer and lighting the grill out in the sunshine. "Hey, I thought resentfully, why does he get to stand outside drinking alcohol near an open flame?" After all didn't I go to culinary school? Didn't I stand shoulder to shoulder (technically shoulder to elbow, I'm kind of short) with all those wanna-be-chefs over blazing hot stoves. Why should he have all the fun?? So I went out and I bought How to Grill: The Complete Illustrated Book of Barbecue Techniques. And since then, weather permitting my husband and I have been a grilling team.
Raichlen and Douglas took the stage and introduced each other and then Douglas said to Raichlen, "Who the fuck made you the barbecue God?" Most people in the audience laughed and the mood was set for the following hour of conversation.