Summer brings out the best in us. Long, cloudless days followed by evening barbeques with family and friends. The sausages sizzle in fatty goodness, the steak sears, and mouths water. Token salads are generally tossed aside or left for the chicks to eat. Salad can’t be barbequed.
After years of extensive observations, I have come to notice that there are generally some un-spoken barbeque rules…
1). Women usually prep the food, while the men folk tend to the barbequing. They then think that standing around and turning meat constitutes as putting in the hard yards. Like the family cat with a freshly caught sparrow, they present the meat as a prize to the guests. And don’t get up to help with the dishes after their bellies are full.
2). Men gather in a cluster-like formation around the barbie. One hand holds a beer. The pack leader is lucky enough to have the Oscar equivalent of the utensil draw – the tongs. The voices are lowered and you can often hear a ‘yeah yeah’, ‘mate’, or ‘bro’ uttered.
3). The men who don’t have the tongs, need to hold something or put their beer free hand in their pocket or on their hip. They have tong withdrawals/jealousy. If you could see their thought bubbles, they would read “He’s turning the steak too soon” and “If I had the tongs…”
Last night I was invited around to a good ole barbie. I decided to do a social BBQ experiment and test out a few theories. The sole male flatmate was manning the gas beast. Chicken kebabs were lined up, lamb steaks were curled in the foetal position, and sausages wallowed in their juices.
I casually walked over and pried the silverest of tongs from his grip. I then picked up the Barbi-mate and the knife. I now had the power of all the tools in my little claws.
“Fine, you be responsible then.” And he walked off.
The walk was peppered with a hint of sulk. He sat down, but kept a sneaky sideways glance on the proceedings.
Two minutes later, and he couldn’t contain himself anymore. He jumped up and reclaimed the utensils. Admittedly, he left me with one. We were at a silent compromise.
But first, he had to inform me of all my barbequing faux pas. It was like I was a small child who had broken great-grandma’s 110 year old vase. Then we shared small-talk about meat, in deep voices. We even exchanged jokes and marvelled at how well the steak was doing. I had caught him unawares, and he had caught my bluff.
Consequently, I don’t think attending a BBQ will ever be the same again. The social experiment has only just begun, as I really want to see what I can get away with next. I will endeavour to be queen of the barbie!