Prairie View

Saturday, June 24, 2006

My Customers Are My Teachers

My role as the "Flower Lady" at our county's farmer's market gives me inside information on a wonderful array of the segments that make up my customers' lives and experience. I think something about being surrounded by flowers must have a friendly-tongue-loosening effect.

One of my faithful friends, Jan, has never once bought flowers from me. Yet she stops by nearly every time I go to the market and visits for a long time. If I'm in the process of putting together bouquets, I go right on, listening and talking by turns. Conversation makes the time go fast. I pray for God's blessing on these contacts.

Today Jan reported on the trip she and her newly retired husband took to Alaska. The cruise was a dud with the crew taking very little thought for the pleasure and comfort of the passengers, but some of the land tours and the river trips were spectacular.
Jan also gave me some wonderfully practical information about grills when I mentioned that Hiromi wanted to buy one. "If you're willing to part with the dollars, buy a Traeger. Pools Plus is the place here in town that sells them."

As Jan continued, I was convinced she liked the same things in a grill that I liked. I had just told Hiromi I really didn't much care for propane-flavored meats (courtesy of the gas grills we'd had in the past), and that I found the constant grease flare-ups annoying. The starter fluid flavor of charcoal briquets wasn't much better. Yet I loved the idea of keeping cooking heat outside the kitchen in the summertime, and being able to cook meats without any added fat.

Jan described a wood pellet grill that ignited the fragrant hardwood pellets with a built-in electric "glow plug" and then with an electrically-powered auger kept supplying pellets to a combustion chamber. The heat from the combustion chamber cooked food indirectly, either feeding pellets constantly for a hot fire for grilling, or intermittently for roasting, baking, or smoking. Best of all in my books, a drip pan caught any grease or other drippings and funneled them outside the grill to a container placed for that purpose. The only downside was the price--$600-$800.

I did some more research online when I got home and determined to tell Hiromi what I had learned. I didn't really expect him to spring for a Traeger. He planned to use some of the money he earned for working overtime, but he wouldn't be working that much overtime.

We were outside when I saw Hiromi's car creeping down the road with its trunk lid open. I was pretty sure I knew why, and I was right. He had bought a grill, and it wasn't a Traeger.

Undaunted, I quickly filled Hiromi in on what I had learned from Jan before he ripped open the box. "Earn lots of money," was his practical suggestion. And "I think this is good enough for now," concluded the discussion.

The pork chops Hiromi cooked for supper were delicious. The $139 grill also cooked with indirect heat, and had a drip pan for shunting off dripped grease. The grease "catch" container looked suspiciously like a recycled steel can rather than the chic, small galvanized pail on the Traeger, but the grill was indeed "good enough for now." If there is a Traeger in our future, I believe it will be more appreciated for our having waited, and meanwhile both the bank account and Hiromi's decision-making prowess have escaped serious assault. A summer's worth of grilling awaits.