Burgers. Brats. Steak. Corn on the cob. Asparagus. Potatoes. Nectarines. Put it on the grill and I will eat it. I’ve always been fascinated with and satiated by barbecue food.
That’s makes my annual assignment of covering the Night to Unite an enjoyable and, at the same time, overwhelming experience.
Everyone that has participated in the Night to Unite (used to be called National Night Out) event knows it’s about neighborhood camaraderie and meeting with local police and fire fighters. But we all know (especially the police and fire fighters) the evening doesn’t center around crime prevention as much as it does on the Weber.
On Tuesday I covered my fourth Night to Unite event in Woodbury. I generally get to about 4-6 neighborhood block parties. At each one I encountered an array of wonderfully charred edibles. And at each I try my hardest not to indulge (journalist’s credo: no freebies), but I still manage to sneak away with a hot dog or burger in my hand.
This year, though, I decided, I was just going to do my job, and not let the food get in the way.
I made it all the way to my last stop without obliging the kind offer of the neighborhood grillmaster to eat some of their barbecue leftovers. Why the reluctance on this night? It was really hot out. As much as I love barbecue food, I always end up feeling like I have to take a nap after a good meal on the grill, especially when the heat index is creeping near the triple digits. I did not want to let a food coma overcome my journalistic motivations. That’s why the hotdog waiting for me at the end of my coverage was probably the best hotdog I’ve ever seen and tasted in my life. Nothing over the top. A Ballpark frank with a Cub-brand bun. Slather on a little bit of Heinz ketchup and I was the happiest man on the block.
So thanks to all the kind neighbors across Woodbury who made this BBQ-crazed reporter feel welcome at your Night to Unite block party. Always a good time.