I love to cook and I belong to several internet food related sites. As an aside, one of my favorites is www.chowhound.com. Maybe it’s my personality, or lack of one, but I’m not a fan of recipes, at least not the details like measuring, ingredients, cook time, and temperature. I think that this is where the fact that I function with equal vigor from both hemispheres of my brain causes conflict—probably also explains why I had such a difficult time completing my math degree. If I don’t like the details, what else is there, you may ask? It’s more than the pictures, if that was all there was I’d be satisfied just cutting pictures out of Better Homes and Gardens magazine. I like the ideas those sites generate, but I also can’t stand to be encumbered by some silly set of rules. I guess I figure that with a set of rules anyone can be successful making that particular recipe, so where’s the challenge in that.
So anyway, I decided to smoke a nice sized duck on my grill. I rinsed the bird, trussed it, pricked the skin with a fork, stuffed it with a few blood oranges, and applied my homemade rub to the skin. The apple-wood chips were smoking nicely as I placed the bird, breast-side up on the roasting rack I had placed inside the cast-iron skillet. After turning down the burners I closed the lid. The grill, I should point out, is a seven-burner, infrared, stainless steel monstrosity with which one could probably roast an entire pig or forge iron ore into ingots. Total roasting time, about two hours. I checked the thermometer on the grill’s hood; it displayed a temperature of three hundred and fifty degrees–perfect, more or less.
It turns out that it can take as long as five minutes for the grill’s thermometer to register the correct temperature. The temperature dial on this particular model redlines at seven hundred degrees, high enough to produce spontaneous combustion. After two hours at 700 degrees, interesting things begin to happen to the carcass of a duck. Upon raising the lid the entire bird looked as though it had been spray painted a matte black. The roasting rack had melted. The leg bones appeared to have been charred from the inside out—they disintegrated the moment I touched them. I felt like a helpless doctor in the ER, there was nothing I could do to save it.
Have you ever felt that way when you try to understand how any of the healthcare IT projects are progressing? How’s EHR? What’s the impact of reform on EHR? Why aren’t we doing more with social media? How come we don’t have a patient relationship management (PRM) system? According to the reports that come across your desk, everything seems to be humming along nicely. In the committee meetings, seats are filled. The emails imply all is fine. Looking fine and being fine are not the same. Looks can be deceiving. Ask the duck.
By the way, the duck fat did a great job of seasoning the iron skillet, so if that ever happens to you simply explain that what you were really doing was seasoning the pan.