5 Ingredients or Fewer

Koeller Salt

March  1, 2011
0 Ratings
  • Makes 1 portion
Author Notes

It was Lin Yutang who said that patriotism is “the love of the food one ate as a child.” This is the dinner of my childhood. Most often it was chicken; most often in the summer. Fittingly, I associate it with the Fourth of July.

When I told my mother that I was going to submit it to Food52 I asked her for the background, which I did not know. Her email was warm and poignant and showed me a side of her I have rarely seen. She wrote, in brief: “Every year that I was in college I stayed in Columbia (Missouri) to go to summer school. One of the girls I shared an apartment with used this recipe for grilling. Her father used it for all of his grilling--steaks, burgers, chicken, etc. He put it on the meat, put the meat on the grill, then kept the meat moist by brushing on a combination of vinegar and water. She did all of the grilling. I made all of the salads. We had a little grill out on the balcony--and drank wine and beer and daiquiris as we watched the grill, and we thought we were soooo sophisticated. There was a swimming pool in the center of the apartment complex and all but one building looked out over the pool. Almost every day the guys would take up a collection and go get a keg that would be set up by the pool. We spent the afternoons at the pool, swimming, listening to music somebody played from a radio on their balcony, and drinking. Everyone knew everyone in the complex, and on the weekends our friends came in from Kansas City or St. Louis or where ever they lived and stayed with us. They brought sleeping bags and slept on the floor. Those were the good old, very innocent days. Then the Vietnam War reared it's ugly head, we got closer to graduating and having to face the real world, and nothing was ever the same!”

We don’t always think about who our mothers were before us. This recipe has always reminded me of my childhood. Now it will have the added layer of reminding me of a happy time in my mother’s past, gone but not forgotten.

What You'll Need
  • 1 part freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 part kosher salt
  • 1 part garlic powder
  • 1 part paprika
  • vinegar
  • water
  • meat or seafood for grilling
  • melted unsalted butter
  1. The goal is to use equal parts of the dry ingredients to make a rub. You can use any portion you want, depending on how much meat you have or if you want to store some.
  2. The wet ingredients are also flexible. Use whatever type of vinegar you think would be best and mix something like 1 tablespoon vinegar with 1 cup of water. I use white vinegar and those measurements.
  3. Rub the spice blend onto the meat or seafood of your choice – I think it is best with chicken – and let it sit in the fridge for a few hours or while you prepare your grill.
  4. Prepare your grill according to your need or preference.
  5. Grill the meat or seafood. Periodacally brush the meat or seafood with the vinegar and water combination. I have no idea how often I do this, but it's not too often.
  6. About 5 minutes before you finish cooking brush the melted butter on the meat or seafood.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • checker
  • nannydeb
  • Kitchen Butterfly
    Kitchen Butterfly
  • hardlikearmour
  • Sagegreen

Recipe by: checker

Someone once said, "the wise man knows that he knows nothing at all." Therefore if I spend my days seeking knowledge than I am simply trying to be a better fool. Hopefully I will eat well along the way.

20 Reviews

checker July 13, 2011
What women accomplished during WWII just amazes me, and makes me so proud. Your Mom sounds like a wonderful woman. Thanks for understanding!
nannydeb July 13, 2011
What a great story! It's made me all sentimental and weepy. When I was in high school my parents told me that during WW2 my mom moved to Ft. Worth and became "Rosie the Riveter" building war planes. Learning that she had the courage to do that gave me strength in my life too. Thanks for sharing this!
checker July 13, 2011
Oops. That last comment was supposed to be here. Long, hot day.
Kitchen B. April 10, 2011
So, so so true - we don't often think of who our mothers were before us...... Lord give me grace to see my mother in new light!
checker April 10, 2011
We get to an age where we want to see our mother as her own woman and not just "Mom," it seems. Thanks for the comment!
hardlikearmour March 27, 2011
Thanks for sharing this! Great, great story. It's so weird to think of your parents as college kids, but in an amazing and eye-opening way.
checker March 27, 2011
It really is strange! Mom is such a gentle person, to me. She told me a story about throwing a drink in a the face of a man who had said something terribly inappropriate to her and a friend, and I thought "that can't be my mother." Thanks for the comment!
Sagegreen March 27, 2011
This recipe is all the more precious because of your mom's story. Thank you for sharing.
checker March 27, 2011
Thank you. Food is such a powerful tool for memory-making, isn't it?
boulangere March 27, 2011
What a precious story, and how generous of you to share it. My son and daughter are roughly the age you describe your mother as being then; we have great times talking about my life when I was their ages. I have no idea what it means to them, but it gives me a lovely perspective on life's span. Thank you!
checker March 27, 2011
Thank you! I would be willing to bet that hearing about your life experiences at their age means a lot to them. Somehow knowing that our parents survived the same sort of drama we are experiencing makes it a little easier to cope. I'm glad you can share those memories with your kids.
boulangere March 27, 2011
Oh, indeed! For any of us to see our parents as people, not just parents, is quite an eye-opener.
TiggyBee March 4, 2011
My eyes are leaking at this moment...
checker March 4, 2011
She is one of the hardest-working people I know, and in the child welfare field too. So seeing her as young and carefree was so great for me. Thank you for understanding.
drbabs March 4, 2011
Your story moved me to tears.
checker March 4, 2011
It did the same for me, so I am glad to hear that other people found it equally moving. Thank you.
mrslarkin March 1, 2011
Thanks for sharing this recipe. And that was the best story ever!
checker March 1, 2011
Thanks mrslarkin! I wasn't sure if anyone else would enjoy that story as much as I did, considering that it is my mother and thus I have the context. But I figured we have all had that moment of seeing a new side of our mother and being so happy and amazed to have a sense of who they once were, before us.
drbabs March 4, 2011
And we all hope our daughters will one day be able to see us as people who were young and energetic and hopeful, and not just annoying or boring old mom, too.
checker March 4, 2011
drbabs - It's funny, because I didn't realize that I never thought of my mother as young and energetic. I suppose that is how it always is - she is just "Mom" to us, until we are fortunate enough to see her in another light. I am so happy that I had this awakening.