A British BBQ


self portraitI don’t think there’s anything in the world that’s as hopeless or as naively optimistic as a British BBQ. It’s looks like a sad affair most of the time. Rain is almost guaranteed, people will annoy you, and the food takes too long and is usually undercooked in the end. In short, it’s disma. Or at least that’s what it looks like to a person unfamiliar with the event, like an Australian for instance, with all their sunshine and barbecued shrimp and fosters and stuff. But as someone who’s  grown up with these sad events, I definitely wouldn’t have it any other way.

So what if it rains? Just put a parasol up above the BBQ (which works perfectly fine until one of your friends pours half a bottle of lighter fluid into the flames, almost burning down your garage as well as the parasol… He’s not allowed near the grill any more). And so what if the food takes too long? That’s just more time to chat with mates and take the piss out of the cook (even if it’s you). And as for people annoying you? Well a few alcoholic drinks of your choice will ease that pain (I personally start on whisky and coke, finishing on whatever’s left). I think most British people will agree with me when I say that a BBQ will definitely have its flaws, but it’ll be a great evening for everybody… Except for the always busy and stressed host, but fuck ’em, right?

Anyway, the reason I’m writing this little piece is that I’ll be doing my annual summer BBQ soon. It’s now been going on for two proud years, and the guest list has remained fairly consistent. Some people haven’t made the cut, and I just don’t talk to some people anymore, but who needs them? They’re missing out on a great night filled with meat, alcohol, and a little bit of salad on the side. And since I’m preparing for my own event, I thought I’d give you some pointers in case you want to throw your own mediocre BBQ extravaganza.

  1. Get everyone to bring some booze and food; otherwise it gets pretty damn expensive.
  2. Always buy more fuel than necessary; it’s a disaster if you run out halfway through.
  3. Don’t leave your mates to look after the BBQ, it doesn’t end well.
  4. Make sure you have an umbrella or parasol ready; it’s almost guaranteed to rain.
  5. If your friends tell you to hurry up with the food, go even slower.
  6. Don’t let your friends (Not naming any names, Martha) invite their sixteen year old cousin when you’ve invited a guy who has a history of younger girlfriends. It ends up with you and your friends throwing apples at them while they make out at the bottom of the garden. And no one wants that except for the creepy guy.
  7. Unless you live in a city, make sure you stock up on food and alcohol; it’s hard to find a 24 hour off licence in a small town.
  8. Don’t get too stressed about being the host, as long as you’ve done a decent job you’ll be fine. It’s your friends’ responsibility to have fun.
  9. As for lighting the BBQ, take suggestions from people on how to do it. But deny that they had anything to do with the success.

That’s all I can think of at the moment, and I hope it’s going to help you in one way or another. I personally doubt that there’s anything useful here, but you never know…

– Lewis


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