Editor’s note: When it comes to grilling, I have a ‘zest’ for innovation

August 26, 2012

I don’t cook.

To me, the whole process takes the fun out of eating.

There are exceptions. Give me a bag of charcoal and a Weber, and I’m happy to grill just about anything.

The preparation of the food has generally been left to my better half, in part because recipes intimidate me. They come booby-trapped with unfamiliar ingredients and steps that are completely foreign to a non-cook like myself. The directions for Caribbean jerk chicken, for instance, instructed me to “zest” a lime.

Huh?

Do we have a zester? I asked my wife. She handed me a strange implement, and then rushed out of the kitchen.

After a few feeble attempts scratching at the fruit, I did what any modern man would do: I googled “How to zest a lime,” and soon was watching all manner of excellent instructional videos (where I learned that in zesting, you have to make sure to cut away all the white stuff from the underside of the skin because it’s really bitter).

I soon was bouncing from one video to the next, my marinade forgotten. It turns out there is a grilling fraternity online, all trading tricks of the trade.

Here was a tangible example of what’s known as the “maker movement.” Instead of trading Tweets and photos on the Web, people have begun collaborating and sharing ideas on making physical things, speeding the process of innovation.

Chris Anderson, the editor-in-chief of Wired magazine, even has a new book out called “Makers: The Next Industrial Revolution,” arguing the movement will lead to a renaissance in American manufacturing.

It’s clear we are eager to learn from one another. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg wrote a post recently about using something called iGrill and the number of people checking out the product crashed the company’s Web site.

The world is unlikely to beat a path for my new marinade. But they haven’t seen my zesting technique.

Dan Beyers is the founding editor of Capital Business, The Washington Post’s go-to source for news about the region’s business community.
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