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Grill Wars

June 13, 2012

Grill Master General Chris Garlasco

Last year I reported on the partners at the Founders Insurance Group making the decision to grill each Friday during lunch hour for our staff. It turned to be a big success and the staff has been waiting with excitement for this coming year’s Friday picnics. I am pleased to report that our partner Frank didn’t kill off any of the staff members with his cooking prowess as originally feared. I am also pleased to report that Frank’s large hole filled with cement, holding a chain attached to our picnic table, survived the winter fully intact.

Now, last year, you may remember that our little grilling adventure erupted into an all-out cooking competition between the partners. Each week, each partner prepared a meal designed to outdo the previous week’s lunch.

I am also pleased to report that I kicked their butts, ending with the crescendo of a clambake at year’s end. If there was any doubt who the best cook was, all of that was put to rest the final week of the picnic. I peppered them with marinated chicken, my secret steak recipe and the best burgers this side of the Connecticut River.

However, this glorious victory didn’t come without a price. Our staff, expecting to simply enjoy an hour under the Friday afternoon sun, became accustomed to a lunch that was beyond all expectation. As a result, the bar has been set even higher this year. The point of this isn’t lost on my competitive partners. Both Frank and Dennis came out of the blocks with their “A” game. Frank made fajitas on the opening day, followed by Dennis preparing his “fall off the bone” ribs the following Friday. Was I nervous? If I had any concern at all, it was erased when I found out that their wives were actually behind part of this grill mastery. Frank….fajitas, no, I knew it just couldn’t be true.

I have been fielding a lot of questions about this coming Friday’s meal. I have decided that I am going to rely on the wisdom of the great fighter, Mohammad Ali. I am going to “rope-a-dope.” For those not in “the know,” Ali used the “rope-a-dope” as a tactic in his famous fight, dubbed the “Rumble in the Jungle” in 1974 against fighter George Foreman. The “rope-a-dope” was the key in Ali’s victory over his much larger opponent. He allowed the bigger Foreman to “punch himself out” while just trying to save his energy and absorb and block as many as punches as possible. Once Foreman was exhausted, Ali went to work and ultimately won one of the most famous fights in history.

Friday, I will begin the culinary version of the “rope-a-dope” by cooking up simple hot dogs and hamburgers. You see, I plan on lying low for now. Frank’s wife won’t be making his lunches for him indefinitely, and Dennis will grow overly confident, not entertaining a second thought of me in his rear view mirror. Like Ali in the final rounds in the jungle, under the heat of the August sun, I will be the last man standing over the open flame, barley breaking a sweat; I will raise my trusty spatula into the air celebrating total victory!

Have a great day!

Chris Garlasco

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