Thursday, July 21, 2011

Ribs, Kraut and the Hot Hot Heat

Last night I went down to Honky Tonk BBQ in Pilsen and reveled in some solid barbecue and cold Lone Star beer in a non (or at least really, really faltering) air-conditioned space, and absolutely loved it. Sitting there, slightly sticky from the humidity, thinking that the barbecue itself was is fine, the service serviceable at best, and boy-oh-boy it's all hot and sweaty, I was really loving it. And that's the truth. Seems you've gotta have a bit of sweat on your lip if you're biting into some chewy St. Louis ribs, the sounds of a just-moved-here-from-Georgia singer wailing on a guitar in the heavy air. That's what the beer's for. If it was a perfectly clean, air conditioned, stark white room with, say, Kraftwerk piped in through some jerk's iPod as you eat ribs sous-vided at whatever temperature for however long with triple organic vodka tonics served to you by a gnome in white gloves, well, it wouldn't be quite the same, would it? Let it be known that I'm a big fan of Kraftwerk, and cooking things under a vacuum seal sure does work wonders, but there's a time and place for everything. And what an important part of food and eating--not just this "what farm did every single thing on my plate come from" and "are these wet-naps sustainably produced" business, but the actual time and place of it all--the sights and smells and feel of it all. The guts and soul of the experience. After all, it'll be winter soon, and we'll be listening to Nick Cave wishing for that sweet sweet sweat.