Gas Grills Are Un-American

Josh Ozersky makes a case for charcoal
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 29, 2011 11:38 AM CDT
Updated May 29, 2011 12:15 PM CDT
Gas Grills Are Un-American
Ditch the gas, go with the coal, writes Josh Ozersky.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Gas grilling isn’t just lazy: “It's nihilism in a tank, and it has to stop now,” writes Josh Ozersky in a passionate ode to charcoal grilling. His effusive Time column rhapsodizes about coal, elevating it to the level of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (“It shouldn't require an expensive appliance to grill. It should be equally within the reach of every American.”) while suggesting that gas grilling, on the other hand, justifies what the Communists said about Americans during the Cold War: That we’re “weak and lazy, … addicted to our own capitalist comforts, crippled by affluence and the soft life.”

“Why would someone spend over a thousand dollars … on a machine that does its primary function so badly? Because it's easier to light? Because it looks cool? Because they don't like the taste of wood and smoke and the perfume of hardwood fumes?” As we move from the cold darkness of winter into the spring and summer months, grilling becomes more than just a mode of cooking: It’s “an affirmation of our status as citizens of the land of plenty, free to eat and drink the sunny uplands of human freedom.” When we insist on using a gas grill, we give up “not just flavor, but also the whole feeling and joy and physical connection that a person gets to his food when cooking naturally,” he concludes. “To grill over wood is to be most fully human.” (Read more gas stories.)

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