Bachan’s Japanese BBQ sauce

Three weeks ago, I held another party at my beach house. A BBQ, in fact, with the sizzling grill fired up and the scent of summer lingering in the air. I cooked seafood and veggie kebabs, juicy steaks and finger-licking chicken wings, and I slathered it all with Bachan’s gluten free Japanese BBQ sauce. This delighted the doubters that soy sauce could taste great when cooked on an open fire. I was one of those doubters, a main doubter, despite being a fan of using soy sauce for other foods like fried egg sandwiches (made complete with Japanese mayo).

But anyways, being from Missouri, home of Saint Louis’ signature sauces like Maull’s BBQ Sauce, I had been hardened into thinking that good sauce is made only from the sweet tang of concoctions like vinegar, molasses, tomatoes and ketchup. Yes, ketchup. The Heinz kind.

So, when I first bit into a perfectly grilled chicken wing with hot, dripping Bachan’s, I was beside myself. The soy sauce smoked wing delighted my taste buds and those of my friends. They chomped their way through four grilled plates of food like their partners didn’t feed them, and they thanked me for having such an event, saying, “Shay, we thank thee, kind sir.”

It made my day. But again, I was surprised. Not that they enjoyed my cooking — most people do. I was surprised they even came to the party, and surprised that I was surprised for liking the sauce and for liking that they were there.

As I enter the deep end of my thirties, and as most of my friends do, too, I feel like most experiences are summarized into three categories — “been there, done that,” “I can’t believe it’s already June” and “thanks but no thanks, I have an excuse.”

Biting into that chicken wing should’ve been a “been there, done that” moment with no real surprise. But it wasn’t. It was a bombshell. And it taught me that I have a lot to look forward to. That’s pretty cool. The “almost June” feeling is self-sufficient. But the “I have an excuse” feeling is another story.

Like, when I invite people to parties, I’m genuinely surprised when they come if not upset they actually make the trip. Don’t they have excuses, or are they genuinely interested in coming out? When I get invited, it’s “my twin brother isn’t feeling too well” or “my twin brother isn’t feeling too well and I can feel his pain like all twins do so please leave me alone.” That usually works. What doesn’t work is when I invite myself to do things and can’t get out of it because I invited myself like an idiot.

Last weekend, I invited myself to my sister’s house in San Diego. We were to go to an open bar, happy hour event and meet her friends and talk about a life coach who was to make a speech about how people should live their life. When I considered the 8-hour round trip trek — something that I had known before inviting myself over — and learned I’d have to pretend to like the life coach, I had to decline. The prospect of spending eight long hours in the car, with four hours leading up to reluctantly listening to the life coach’s advice and another four hours of self-reflection driving back, filled me with dreadful anticipation. Not only would I have to endure the tiresome journey, but I’d also dread knowing that I’ve made all the wrong decisions in my life. I didn’t need that.

So to get out of it, I told my sister I didn’t have formal attire needed for the event. And after one text, the opportunity was gone. She said that’s “all right” and I missed the event. I should’ve been happy because I finally got out of an event I invited myself to. It was a victory, sorta. But I wasn’t.

Instead, the gnawing feeling of missing out settled in, refusing to be ignored. I imagined my sister and her friends reveling in the event, sharing laughter and witty remarks at the life coach’s expense. The thought of those unforgettable one-liners slipping through my fingers, the comedic gold for my blog, was nothing short of agonizing. It was a feeling that cut deep, as if I had stumbled upon a treasure trove of unforgettable moments, only to have the door slammed shut in my face.

And so, there I sat, grappling with a mixture of emotions. It wasn’t just the fleeting “I can’t believe it’s almost June” sensation. No, it was something else entirely. It was the realization that life has a way of surprising us, sometimes in the most unexpected moments. It taught me that even when we think we know what to expect, we can still be taken aback by the twists and turns along the way.

In the grand tapestry of life, there are moments when the universe conspires to surprise us, like when soy sauce chicken wings become the unexpected heroes of our culinary adventures. They teach us to release our grip on preconceived notions of Maull’s original BBQ sauce and to relish the delicious surprises of Bachan’s Japanese BBQ sauce or whatever other flavors and moments lurk around the corner. So, as I wallow in my FOMO-induced regrets, I’m reminded to keep my taste buds and spirit open to the wonders of the delightful unpredictability of soy-infused wings and life itself.

2 responses to “Bachan’s Japanese BBQ sauce”

  1. Bailey Avatar

    I absolutely love this! It really does make you think about those invite moments differently and to let go of the control of life a bit. And I definitely enjoyed the humor in this! Your writing also had me gripped from the beginning, such a natural flow!

    1. Shay Michael Avatar

      Thank you so much for replying and reading and I’m glad you enjoyed it!

Leave a Reply

The HoliShay Blog

Everyday's a HoliShay