I wanted to start this article with something along the lines of, “with summer just around the corner….” But quite frankly I am not convinced, and before you all start mentioning the glorious Bank Holiday weekend, three days of sun and temperatures an Aussie would refer to as a winter climate, does not constitute Summer. If however you took a look up and down various High Streets at folk frolicking in vest tops and flip flops, and observed the panic buying of burgers and salad items in grocery shops, you could be forgiven that Summer may have well and truly arrived. Well no, that is the whole point. Beautiful hot sunny days seem to occur so rarely that we Brits adopt the ‘make the most if it’ attitude because ‘it won’t last!’ So we dust off our barbeques, which have been left uncleaned for nine months, (well ours hasn’t) and invite everyone round for an impromptu barbeque. Lets face it we can’t really plan these things!
So what of this barbequing nonsense? There was a time when I used to long for a beautiful day and would relish the thought of the prospect of a night off, as I could instruct the husband that he was on cooking duty…. “Lets have a barbeque!”
A recent Facebook post by a chap called Dave Bell, who I do not know at all but would like to thank, published a list of ‘BBQ Rules’ and these have been the inspiration for this article. I say inspiration, but more a nodding in agreement. He goes on to outline what course of action ensues following the decision to host a barbeque. I can safely say that I could relate to every single point and totally reflects what happens in our house, and I am sure in some of your homes too.
For instance, when I suggest having a barbeque it goes without saying that I will be the one to invite the guests, adopt a cleaning frenzy scrubbing the house from top to bottom, even though everyone will merely waft straight through and spend the entire evening in the garden. There is method in my madness; in this country the reality of being able to sit outside for the entire evening is rare, so a clean and tidy house is a must for when guests inevitably get cold and retreat inside to the warm. I then go out and buy the food, make the salads, prepare vegetables and think about desserts. The meat will be marinated the night before, by me, and then placed on a tray along with all the necessary tongs and knives. I will set the table, arrange the plates and cutlery, offer crisps and snacks or, if feeling exceptionally culinary, bread and baked Camembert and a selection of Italian meats. Then there is the tray of condiments to organise, whilst remembering to put the new potatoes on to boil so they are done in time to be served with the meat. Drinks, which are normally the husbands department, revert to my responsibility and that includes the regular provision of cold beer to the chef at his barbeque area. Here he stands with his alpha male pals whilst updating them with his latest Mustang rebuild anecdotes.
Whilst I am hurrying about like a woman possessed and mopping my brow, the husband is obviously preparing the barbeque with the help of his pals. For us this normally means cleaning off the food remnants from the year before and ferretting about in the shed for the all important lighter fluid. It is barbeque law that if the heat hasn’t got to the required temperature after fifteen minutes, the lighter fluid is called in. And of course, it also provides huge entertainment for the men who are all standing around the barbeque with their beer, chuckling like school children. Occasionally they will move away from the grill area and inspect the building site that was once a pond, which is to be the new home for his pride and joy. Much rubbing of chins and nodding goes on before they retreat back to the grill to flip the meat.
All of a sudden and without warning, the husband takes the meat off the barbeque and announces that the meat is ready and why are the potatoes not cooked yet?
After we have finished, every one congratulates the husband on a fine meal. Meanwhile I am clearing away plates and piling them up in the kitchen, with the realisation that I may well be up until midnight washing up as the dishwasher is already over loaded. It is more or less at this time that the husband wanders into the kitchen empty handed and asks how I enjoyed my night off!