Summer: Time to grill

Linda Conway Eriksson - Contributing Columnist

Like most other people, I have my favorite charities. I send what I can, when I can.

Seldom am I swayed by bulk-mailed requests. My pockets aren’t deep, so I try to choose carefully before I send money. Since I am an admitted soft touch (some people would say a sucker), I research groups who ask for my money before I give it away. You need to know what percentage of contributions goes to the people or animals that are supposed to be helped before you write that check.

Lots of solicitations come to my home by mail — at least one or two every day. I very seldom throw away a sealed envelope, since the senders have taken to tucking coins into their letters and even dollar bills on occasion.

I have to wonder if they wouldn’t be better off banking the little bits they send through the mail to entice the public to contribute. I guess not, because they keep sending cash.

Along with the requests for charitable contributions, we do get a lot of bulk mail. Under the all-inclusive heading of “junk mail” I include anything unsolicited, such as the random requests for charitable contributions, in addition to which there are the ads for everything from hearing aids to home improvements to cars, and more flyers for grocery and discount stores than I can count. Lately, lots of companies seem to want to build a closet for me that looks like it belongs in a movie star’s home and at 70 percent discount!

If I weighed all the unasked for mail my household receives in a year, I wonder how many pounds there would be!

I am, however, glad to see the weekly grocery store fliers from places I already shop. I don’t have a lot of time to try out new places when I grocery shop. There’s a neighborhood place I really like, along with a big store that offers nearly everything I’m interested in putting on the table plus discounts on gasoline. If I stray farther than that on the weekends, it’s most likely for an exotic ingredient or fresh seafood.

My thoughts right now, along with lots of other people’s, are focusing on what food to serve for the upcoming July 4 holiday. The fliers are helpful. I guess if I shop without a list, it’s guaranteed I’ll spend more than I meant to. There are always some good prices on meat for the grill starting now.

There are also several really good barbecue sauces I buy ahead when they’re on sale. Now’s the time for that! I guess some of that bulk mail is not so bad, after all.

I’ve been hungry for spareribs lately. I make a really good all-purpose marinade that I keep on hand during the summer. For a change, though, I like to make my own barbecue sauce when I have time. Here’s a really good one — slightly on the Asian side — that keeps well refrigerated.


3 large cloves garlic, crushed (about 1 tablespoon)

2/3 cup hoisin sauce

1/2 cup ketchup

1/3 cup dry sherry

1/3 cup vinegar

1/4 cup honey

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon Sriracha

1/4 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder

Place all in a medium saucepan. Stir well to combine. Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat. Simmer for about 15 minutes, until slightly thickened.

Keeps refrigerated up to a month.

Makes about 2 cups.

Linda Conway Eriksson

Contributing Columnist

Linda Conway Eriksson can be reached by e-mail at

Linda Conway Eriksson can be reached by e-mail at