In July 1979 I packed my bags, left my forester’s house in the Taunus hills and embarked for New York to seek my fortune That was after the woman I was in love with and who I wanted to be the mother of my children made it clear that she a) would not live or have children in that remote forest home and b) that she would not marry me in the first place…
The years before I had been self employed, in fact, I was running three companies in the end. A publishing company with a weekly stock market advisory service, an asset management company and a brokerage firm with a seat on the European Options Exchange in Amsterdam…and I was kind of burnt out at that young age after working for 18 hours a day and more for years…I wanted to live and have a family and children.
So, I got in touch with US brokerage companies. Back then I was not completely unknown in Germany and all of them wanted to hire me. In the end I went for the company with the lowest offer, Merrill Lynch Because they had the best reputation.
To make a long story short. I sold two of the companies and transferred the publishing company to the name of my best friends wife. Then I packed and went to New York.
I shared an apartment with two colleagues at 32nd Street and 6th Avenue. Just around Madison Square Garden. A rough area at the time – but then New York was not for the fearsome on those days of the rise of black power.
I did not know anyone in New York, of course. Fortunately, however, a very good friend of mine from Germany came to stay with his emigrated childhood friends on Long Island. And they became also my friends quickly and I spent all most of my first months free time out there.
Of course, they had become real Americans – and did no ore cooking whatsoever. It was always either “bing-bing” (microwave) or “ding-dong”(delivery) But on the weekends it was BBQ time.
As their grilling results consisted mainly of charcoaled chicken I started to take over and organise things. For this purpose I bought my first (and last) BBQ cookbook ever:
Back then this was the US bible for BBQing The average American family still looked a bit different then:
I don’t want to make myself older than I really am, so I confess I bought the book second hand. It is from 1965
It was not a bad teacher to start with because it covered all the basics. Nowadays we are much more international, of course- or are we ?
For me at the beginning in NY everything was BIG – the food portions as well. A good BBQ steak had to have three pounds or more
Here are a few things that were really good and that I would still cook the same way now, after 35 years.
Like these ribs, for example:
When I see these lamb racks I remember how cheap lamb was back then in comparison to today! Who is grilling such stuff nowadays? In Bulgaria?
Even in the sixties burgers were quite popular – and I also tried my luck with them. But they were not my favourite – and I also don’t need them nowadays…
One of my real favourites however was the “Campfire Pot Roast”! An inexpensive cut with an awful lot of flavour! I recommend this from my heart to every BBQ enthusiast
The meat is from the front shoulder, the “chuck” part. Sometimes I buy a big piece of shoulder at my favourite butcher’s in Yakoruda. Then I “dissect” it to my liking and freeze the parts. You can do the above recipe also with a big “teleshki kotlet” that many butchers offer.
Another inspiring feature for me back then was the seasoning-table in the book. Of course, we are light-years from that nowadays but not everyone is as advanced and versatile as my friend Jun Yoshida. For a “normal” BBQ fan this guide gives you the basics on which to build
I only wanted to share some of the stuff of the cook book with you but, as usual, I wandered off and told you half the story of my life I hope you still enjoy the pictures and also find some inspiration…
Oh, and six years later, after coming back to Germany and moving on to London, the woman married me and became the mother of my child after all