The Scott Murphy Hat

People often give me items for cooking or the kitchen that are sometimes useful, sometimes not. And you never quite know at first in which direction they will fall.

The Scott Murphy Hat

The Scott Murphy Hat

For example, you may open a Christmas gift to discover a beautifully designed utensil from Williams-Sonoma that looks like something you couldn’t live without, and find over time that you have no use for it at all. Conversely, someone may hand you something you couldn’t imagine ever using, and it winds up being one of your MVPs (Most Valuable Products). Such was the case with the Scott Murphy hat.

We were over at the home of our friends and neighbors, the Murphys. Wife Tracy was expertly grilling a skirt steak while husband Scott and I drank wine and talked about manly things. Somehow the conversation worked its way around — as every conversation between two men eventually does — to cooking meat over fire. And Scott paused, a little light going off in his head.

“Oh, I have something I need to give you,” he said. My heart raced with anticipation as he strolled off. What could it be? A rare vintage of Chateau Petrus? A box of Cuban cigars? Tickets to a championship sporting event?? He returned and handed me a hat.

“Oh,” I said, masking my disappointment. “It’s a… a hat!”

“It’s not just any hat,” he said. Sure, it was a corduroy baseball cap with the name of Scott’s company, “Black Equities Group,” stitched in white across the front. Not exactly the style of hat I would typically wear. But then he took the hat back, flipped it over, and motioned. Any resemblance to an ordinary baseball cap suddenly disappeared, as I witnessed the sub-fabric bulges, twists and turns of a high-tech instrument that culminated in two small barrels capped with concave plexiglass.

“Is it a high-powered laser beam gun!?” I asked excitedly.

“No,” said Scott. “Even better… it’s a flashlight!”

On camping trips for my son’s Cub Scouts troop, I had watched grown men tromping around in the dark with spelunking headlamps on, like giddy boys sprung from the shackles of the expectations of adulthood. That wasn’t my thing. But Scott was shrewd, and sensing my skepticism (or noticing the grimace on my face), clarified:

“It’s for barbecuing!”

The author, with Scott Murphy hat, in action

The author, with Scott Murphy hat, in action

Of course! It was for barbecuing — a promotion Scott’s company had given away at some event or other. My barbecue sat in a darkened corner of our deck — just fine for summer barbecuing when it stayed light until 8 or 9. But inconvenient for any other season. Over the years, I had resisted purchasing one of those little clip-on lamps for the barbecue. I tend to hate “clip on” anything. Now I had a solution — even if it didn’t exactly fit my fashion sensibilities.

The first chance I had, I got out the hat. It was a fall evening, the sun falling behind the saddle of the mountains to the west of us before I had a chance to get a very large ribeye on the grill. I wandered out with steak in tow to the hulking black shadow of the barbecue, fired up the burners, set the steak on grill and clicked the brim of my hat. Suddenly, all was illuminated!

The steak was a success, and we toasted the Scott Murphy hat. Now, having gone from apprehension when I was first gifted the chapeau, I wonder what I will do when eventually the batteries run out and it’s just a hat again.

Juicy ribeye on darkened grill

Juicy ribeye on darkened grill

And now, when I put on the Scott Murphy hat and watch the cock-eyed looks on the faces of those who have not seen it before and find it a curious accessory, I respond: “It’s not just any hat…” And let the grilling commence…

8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kathy Rautureau
    Nov 19, 2013 @ 03:59:11

    Okay, I want one!!!!


  2. linnetmoss
    Nov 19, 2013 @ 17:36:31

    You can also use it for spelunking in your cave du vin…maybe you’ll run across a forgotten case of Petrus!


  3. pal-O
    Nov 21, 2013 @ 17:37:07

    That is as manly as your cowboy hat!


  4. Trackback: Eating New York | skinny girls & mayonnaise

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