Now, there are three things a man should know from birth: how to throw a baseball, how not to ask for directions when lost, and how to grill. So it was with a deep sense of shared concern that I, and every other male in the class, watched as our brother stepped up to the grill. Under Raichlen's watchful eye, Sean Sullivan managed to turn out a perfectly acceptable set of grilled scallops on rosemary skewers. Triumphantly, he returned to his seat with a glint in his eye and announced, "Oprah won't have me to kick around anymore."
While savoring Sean's grilled scallops, I became aware of a disturbing feeling: I no longer wanted to just hang out in the backyard flipping steaks. I wanted to create. I wanted the world on my grill, sizzling and waiting to be turned. I pictured myself grilling . . . kiwi fruit! Lox! Bagels and cream cheese with hatch marks on them! Smoked cornflakes!
Day three came all too quickly, and there we were receiving our barbecue diplomas. With exaggerated pomp, Raichlen presented each of us with a big, stainless-steel spatula (which I like to carry around the office in lieu of a swagger stick) and a camouflage apron that—thank goodness—says Barbecue Boot Camp instead of Kiss the Cook. The masculine ego is a fragile thing.
The Greenbrier, 300 W. Main St., White Sulphur Springs, W. Va.; 800/228-5049 or 304/ 536-7863; www.greenbrier.com; doubles from $2,752 (for room and instruction). Boot camp sessions this year are July 21—24 and September 15—18. Steven Raichlen's latest book, Beer Can Chicken, has just been published.