Barbecue? Heatwave fun or pain in the bum?

how many chicken pieces can you get
on a teeny tiny BBQ?
I love the idea of a barbecue. I imagine myself in my Havianas and FatFace shorts, bronzed and toned (I said "imagine" OK?) relaxing with friends and family in my picturesque garden.
There are scented candles eliminating any bugs while tasty food sizzles and aromatic smoke wafts amongst us making everyone's mouth water.
Children play happily while they wait for their food. We may be sipping chilled, probably alcoholic drinks. Latino guitars strum in the background. Maybe from the iPod, maybe live played by my friends.

Of course in real life what happens is that on the day of the barbecue I spend two hours trampling down the worst of the nettles and dragging my ancient not-hovering hover mower round the patches of weeds that pass for grass in my garden.

I hunt desperately for a nice tablecloth to cover the horrid plastic table and get the kids to scrape the worst of the cobwebs off the wooden one. I hope no-one notices the mould and crusted dead earwigs on the garden cushions.

Check the barbecue - Oh no! sausages from the last barbecue still on it! (from 10 months ago) Do I attempt to wash the grill or just hope a ten minute blast of heat from the gas burners will decontaminate grill enough to mean I won't kill everyone?
I try and move the cast iron grill plates to wash - cover myself in black grease, give up and go for option 2.

Turn on burners. Wave match around near burners. Nothing. Oh Sh*t! Run out of gas! Ring round frantically hoping someone else has gas. Nope. Remember ancient bag of charcoal and cute bucket portable BBQ reduced in Tesco. Fish out firelighters and try and light bbq. Try and light bbq. TRY AND LIGHT F-ING BBQ.

Breathe. Allow pyromaniac teenager to light barbecue with 15 firelighters, guaranteeing that all food will taste of petrol.

Crisps not Chips
Crisps (Photo credit: Lynne Hand)
Guests start arriving. Using my best 1950's housewife voice say: "Darling?" (at DH who has abandoned any pretence at helping after the first guest arrived with beer) "Could you sort out the....?" Here you can choose to insert the words; fighting children/thirsty guests/cat gnawing a half-dead bat in front of appalled guests. Add through gritted teeth that you would sort the situation yourself but you are too busy making salads, assembling condiments, basting meat, refilling bowls with overpriced gourmet crisps and secretly microwaving frankfurters for the kids who actually hate BBQ'd or, as they call it, burnt food.

So it's time to actually BBQ. The coals have turned white. Well. Bits of them have. Hover hand over grill. Hot? Well. Warm. Well. Warm-ish. Starving so fetch first batch of meat anyway. Realise that cute BBQ bucket is divine but tiny. So two burgers at a time then. Grab handful of gourmet crisps and stuff into mouth.
Spot guest double dipping in dip and decide against dip. Notice that most crisps have been eaten but carefully julienned carrots - hmm- all still there.
Watch burgers collapse as they gently warm and subtly pop into kitchen and turn oven on.
Throw all the rest of the meat in the oven to avoid starvation, eating at midnight scenario and probably food poisoning. Realise the Fatface shorts are covered in charcoal dust and bizarrely the Ipod is playing Christmas Carols.

Twenty minutes later oven-cooked meat is ready. Travel from kitchen to end of garden 20 times bringing out salads, bread, ketchup and other sauces, top up drinks and instruct people to help themselves. And when you are totally ignored because everyone is A. bladdered and B. full from all the crisps you insist a bit louder that people help themselves.

Finally sit down with that lovely guitar music in the background (thanks to talented friends or the iPod - we are lucky enough to have both) and eat far too much safely oven-cooked meat with far too much bread.
And hours later, when it's dark and cold, the guests have all left and the barbecue is finally ready for food to be cooked on it you have to transfer all the stuff you brought out from the kitchen back indoors - apart from the remains of the gourmet crisps which will be soggy and possibly cat-licked by the morning.

Barbecue at mine anyone?

my friend's proper bbq
Enhanced by Zemanta