Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Gender at the Grill: Rumaki on the Hibachi

Betty Crocker's Outdoor Cook BookI'm pretty much assuming that anyone reading a rather-colloquial English-language blog in 2011 knows what a barbeque is, and doesn't need a history lesson about the word's French roots or a detailed description of what a kettle grill is. Betty Crocker's Outdoor Cook Book makes no such assumptions, coming as it does from that time before blogs and ubiquitous suburban Webers.
The barbecue at home is the aristocrat of outdoor meals. though its mood is informal, food often is as sophisticated and service is as elegant as in a dining room--but much less trouble if plans are carefully made.

This is where women, experienced in the day-to-day organizing of menus and meals, shine. They know the importance of the complete shopping list; of cleaning, or peeling, or otherwise preparing vegetables in advance; of having tools sharp and handy; and of not asking one burner or one oven to produce a whole meal at the same time. There is plenty for everyone to do before and during a big cookout. Most women I know are quite content to concentrate on advance preparations and the duties of a hostess, and leave the more dazzling duties over that hot bed of coals to the males.

...I don't quite know where to begin with this pretty little insight into women's happy role of prep cook. No, really, I don't, because as much as I like to rail against outdated sexist gender role expectations, I have to admit: when it comes time to slap the meat on the grill, I'm usually handing the tongs off to Chefly Husband. So, boo on the gender role expectation that I fully embrace in real life!

If there's a broiler around, though, I'll reclaim the same dishes that otherwise I'd get all Donna Reed-y about outside.

Rumaki on the Hibachi
A delectable do-it-yourself chicken liver appetizer for guests to prepare while host or hostess finishes dinner preparation. Pictured on page 139.

6 chicken livers
6 strips of bacon
water chestnuts
brown sugar

Cut chicken livers in half; slice water chestnuts (about 3 slices per nut). Marinate in Teriyaki Sauce (p. 94) for 4 hr. Drain; cut 6 bacon strips in half. Wrap chicken liver pieces and water chestnut in bacon strip. Fasten with toothpick and roll in brown sugar. Arrange appetizers on hibachi over hot coals. Grill until bacon and liver are tender, 15 to 20 min. Turn often. Makes 12.

Variation: Appetizers may also be baked in the oven. Place on a wire rack over a shallow roasting pan. Bake at 400° (mod. hot) 20 min., or until bacon is crisp. Turn occasionally for even browning.

I remember the first time I had rumaki. It was in a tiny rowhouse on Capitol Hill, in a teeny kitchen that, frankly, looked a bit scary. But my friend Nancy was working magic with water chestnuts and teriyaki sauce, and bacon. Bacon! She popped her liver-less rumaki under the broiler and I was hooked. So tasty. So salty. So sweet. So crunchy.

I like chicken liver, but have never had rumaki with chicken livers. I did find out that some of our good friends are chicken liver fans--Chefly Husband was talking about making a strawberry risotto with grilled chicken livers, and they swooned--so maybe this recipe will come out and play soon.

1 comment:

  1. When I was dating and married, I let the menfolk perform the ritual buring of meat. But when I was single and now as (gasp!) a divorcee, I get the fun of playing with fire and food. It's far more enjoyable!