A Brief Waterproof History of the Umbrella

Posted by Stevenski Brewster on

It may surprise you that the history of the umbrella is long. Umbrellas are one of the oldest tools man has invented and has been around for centuries. According to ThoughtCo.,  “Ancient umbrellas or parasols were first designed to provide shade from the sun. The Chinese were the first to waterproof umbrellas for use as rain protection.”

The long handle and ribs, the long fingers that make up the canopy, of early umbrellas were made from whale bone or wood. The canopy was often made from palm frond, feathers, leather, or paper. When the Chinese started to use them to repel water, the paper was covered with wax and lacquer to waterproof them.

In the ancient world, when umbrellas were being developed, they were a sign of power and affluence. Only emperors or kings could use an umbrella, and they would not hold it themselves. The umbrella holder even became an official position within the royal court. The ancient Greeks and Romans used umbrellas in the same fashion as the Chinese, as a parasol for relief from the sun. They felt that to use an umbrella was effeminate and only for women, unless you were in a position of power.

As the Roman Empire spread, so did their influences. The umbrella wasn’t used in northern Europe until the Romans conquered these lands and moved north. After the fall of the Roman Empire, though, the umbrella disappeared in Europe. In the middle ages, European people used cloaks to keep dry instead. Around the 16th century, however, umbrellas started to appear in paintings as an accessory, and by the middle of the 17th century, there was more use among the population. The umbrellas popular then were made from silk and other expensive materials, and they were used as an accessory and fashion statement, not a tool.

The first lightweight folding umbrella was introduced in the 18th century. It was first designed to only block the sun, but soon after, they started to cover the fabric with wax to make them waterproof and repel the rain. This is when umbrellas took on the modern use and look seen today.

The overall look and function of umbrellas hasn’t changed much in 300 years. Advancements made in fabrics and waterproof coatings keep us drier than ever before. Better designs, and stronger materials have been introduced to better stormproof umbrellas, so they can withstand high winds.

Read more →

5 Items to Grill Other Than Meat This Summer

Posted by Stevenski Brewster on

Meat is awesome in all its forms—steaks, chicken, lamb, pork chops, bacon, and even fish, they’re all amazing! However, eating the same stuff can get tedious. In fact, a Statista report stated that, “88% percent of U.S. consumers typically barbecue meat or steaks.”

Everyone likes a little variety when they go to a cookout, and if you keep serving the same stuff, your next barbecue may put you on the neighborhood blacklist. Nobody wants that. It’s time to break the cycle, determine your individual cooking style, and start grilling!

Become a Grill Master

Start off by getting some high tech, trendy accessories to use with the grill. Items such as heat resistant silicone cooking gloves and windproof butane lighters should do the trick. Even if you don’t really know what you’re doing, these accessories will make it look like you do. Once you’re ready to go, it’s time to decide what you’re going to cook. We’ve put together a few ideas of what items you can grill other than meat this summer.

Frozen pizza

Instead of sliding it in the oven, put it on the grill. You can still use the cooking instructions that come with it; get the grill up to the recommended temperature and lay down the frozen pizza—it’s that simple. That smoky flavor will change the way you cook frozen pizza forever.

Corn on the cob

A summer staple, corn on the cob tastes great on the grill. Leave the corn in the husk and cook it using indirect heat. It may take a while, as the corn is steaming inside the husk. Once it’s done, peel the husk back and leave it on the grill for a few minutes—this will give it a nice char. Use the husk as a holder while you eat.

Grilled cheese sandwich

You need to grill this; the name alone demands it! Butter the bread and assemble the sandwich as you normally would. Cook it for two to three minutes, then rotate it 90 degrees and cook for another two to three minutes. Flip it and repeat. You’ll love the end result.


Don’t spoon guacamole onto your grill—it will be a mess. Halve some avocados, take out the pit, and put them on the grill. A few minutes will be enough to get them soft and smoky. From here, you can make guacamole as you normally would.

Portobello mushrooms

Cut off the stems and clean the caps. Next, brush on a mixture of melted butter, garlic, and onion and let it sit, gills up, for an hour. Once it’s ready, you’ll want to grill the mushrooms for 10 minutes. Immediately serve it as is or make a sandwich.

Read more →

The Art of Grilling: Grilling Tips for Beginners

Posted by Stevenski Brewster on

Don’t be intimidated by the prospect of grilling out: it’s actually one of the most basic cooking methods. It harkens back to a more primitive time and a place absent of streaming, technology, social media, and screen time. Something about fire and food activates those primal instincts that we all still have deep down. It’s time to embrace that caveman feeling by cooking a chunk of meat over fire.

Cooking on a grill is simple, but you may want some more information if you’re just getting started. Here, we outline some grilling tips for beginners that will take you from grill rookie to grill master in no time.

Gas vs. Charcoal Grills

The biggest decision to make is which type of grill to purchase: gas or charcoal. Each backyard griller has an opinion on their grill and which type is best, so don’t make a hasty decision when deciding which one to buy for yourself. There are some glaring differences between these cousins, the first being taste. The same cut of beef will taste differently depending on which type of grill it was cooked on. Charcoal will deliver a smoky flavor on top of the seasonings and the taste of the meat, while a gas grill will give a cleaner flavor.

Another difference is the cost. You can purchase a stripped-down charcoal grill with no extras for as little as $20. Gas grills, on the other hand, usually come with a wide array of options such as warmers, shelves, and lighting, and they can cost thousands of dollars. Gas grills are also more convenient, which can justify the higher cost: you just turn the dial to ignite the burner and start cooking. With a charcoal grill, you’ll need more time and patience to light the fire and let it get up to temperature. Each style of grill comes with its pros and cons, and one isn’t better than the other—it comes down to personal preference.

Accessorize Your Grill

Wherever you land on what type of grill to buy, you’ll need some accessories. According to the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association, “The majority of [grill] consumers have three or more accessories, indicating that consumers have invested in ways to customize their grilling experiences.” Personalize your own grill by getting a metal utensil kit that includes tongs, a spatula, and a wire brush. Some heat-resistant gloves for cooking will come in handy, too. Adding a rotisserie will elevate your grill game when you start roasting chickens and prime rib roasts. Also get a digital temperature probe to quickly check the progress of your grilled meats.

Lighting the Grill

If you bought a gas grill, this part is easy: just turn the knob to ignite the gas and heat up your grill. For charcoal grills, this process takes some time. Don’t use lighter fluid to start the coals: the odorless fluid can still leave an unsavory flavor on the meat. Instead, get a chimney, which is a large cylinder that holds the charcoal. Light some newspaper underneath, and it will burn the coals evenly and leave no odor or flavor. Leave the coals in the chimney until they’re all burning, then dump them into the grill. Spread them out evenly and wait until they burn white and the temperature has stopped climbing before putting your food on the grill. Be patient and use this time to season your meat and prep any side dishes.

What to Grill

You can cook almost anything on the grill—not just meat! If you can dream it, you can grill it. Fish, shrimp, whole ears of corn, and pineapple all taste delicious on the grill. If you’re a complete beginner, hamburgers are some of the easiest things to learn how to cook. Get a pound of ground beef, make some patties, and give it a go. Once you’re comfortable, get your favorite cut of steak on the grill.

The Art of Grilling

Once the coals are ready and the grill temperature has stabilized, it’s time to cook. Don’t cook the meat straight out of the refrigerator. If you can, take it out a few hours ahead of time so that the meat can come to room temperature. Let the grates heat up for a few minutes and scrub them with a wire brush. An artist always starts with a blank canvas, so you’ll want to get your last meal off there first.

Don’t huddle all the food in the center: this is usually the hottest place on the grill, and your food could burn. Instead, use an indirect approach and arrange the food around the middle of the grill. You’ll soon be able to gauge where the hottest point is, and you can then rearrange the food accordingly so that everything cooks evenly.

Close the lid and leave it shut until it’s time to flip the food. If you’re cooking meat, you ideally only want to turn it once. Let the meat cook for a few minutes on each side, depending on how done you like it. Remember: if you’re looking, you aren’t cooking—so leave the lid closed and watch the clock to know when it’s time to turn. Use your temperature probe to check the meat’s internal temp when you turn it. You can always put something that’s undercooked back on the grill for a few more minutes.

Keep a close eye on the grill once the meat is on. Fatty pieces like chicken, bratwurst, or burgers can drip fat onto the coals, causing flare-ups. The fire can char the outside, and the charred meat won’t taste so great. If this happens, move the meat and close off the air flow temporarily until things calm down.

You can also open or close the vents to control the temperature. If the grill is too hot, then close the holes slightly to choke off the oxygen. However, be careful not to close the vents all the way—this can put the fire out, and you’ll have to start over.

Don’t be discouraged if your first shot at grilling isn’t a life-changing success. In fact, the odds are that it won’t be. Like anything else, you will get better with practice and become the grilling legend you were born to be. You have the tools, the drive, and the ambition to get better at grilling, so keep trying and experimenting with different foods on the grill.

The Art of Grilling Tips for Beginners

Read more →

Be the Hero America Needs at Your 4th of July BBQ

Posted by Stevenski Brewster on

68 percent of Americans claim they don’t need a special occasion to fire up their grills, but Independence Day is the most special of occasions. It’s the biggest moment of the BBQ season, and it needs to be treated as such. If you’re hoping to host the year’s greatest 4th of July BBQ, all you need are three things: cold beer, fun tunes, and—most importantly—a ton of grilled foods. Throw some veggies on the grill if you must, but the meat is what’s going to draw people to your place on the 4th of July. Needless to say, you better do it right. Here are three tips for throwing a great Independence Day BBQ.

Prepare Your Grill

Get up early to get your smoker or grill up to temp so that you can start cooking your prepped brisket, pork shoulder, or ribs in a timely manner. This simple act will have two benefits. The smoke will act as an olfactory and visual signal for miles around, telling the world that your backyard is open and that it’s time to party. Second, you’ll be able to humble brag all day about how early you got up to cook for everyone. Plus, if you start early, larger cuts of meat such as pork shoulder will be able to come off the grill sooner; your guests can eat that while your other offerings are still cooking or resting.

Appease the Masses

Once you’ve prepared your grill, get the burgers, bratwurst, and hot dogs on the grill for the horde of hungry kids. Put those offerings out early to keep the younger crowd occupied: odds are the kids will prefer the simpler foods, so don’t feel bad about serving them hot dogs while the adults enjoy more of the good stuff, such as the ribs, steak, and brisket.

Spit Roast for Glory

The magic you can make on a rotisserie cannot be matched. Get your protective black cooking gloves on, hang the tongs from your belt, and get ready—this is where BBQ legends are made. Light the fire and move the coals to either side of the grill. Skewer large cuts of meat such as prime rib roast and whole chicken together. When you open up the grill to check the internal temperature, don’t be afraid to dip a chunk of bread into the drip pan and taste that little bit of heaven. While the meat is cooking, we suggest peeling and trimming a whole pineapple to get it ready for the spit. Run the spit through the middle of the pineapple and roast it on high heat for an hour for an amazing, smoky-sweet treat. Save the rotisserie for last—it won’t take as much time, but it requires more attention than the smoker. Plus, anything that comes off the spit is sure to be a showstopper at your 4th of July BBQ.

Read more →


Posted by Stevenski Brewster on

Where the BBQ is concerned, if you have any large things grilling away such as a whole rack of ribs or a chicken, you can wear your gloves to handle the food directly. When the food is cooked, you can pull it apart with your gloved hands without the need for any shredding utensils. 

To read this article in it's entirety please visit:

Read more →