Barbeque, BBQ, or simply a Barbie. However you say it, it always brings to mind the times I’ve spent in the sun flipping burgers and sipping on an ice-cold drink. The thought of the sizzle and hiss as the meat hits the grill and those wonderful smoky aromas are all I need to crave one of these marvellous feasts!
The humble barbeque doesn’t get the credit it deserves; so often it is sneered at as a meal where we sit munching on a charred sausage under a grey sky, praying for the rain to hold off. But I disagree; barbeques have some of the greatest food available, you can cook any meat on them and the wonderfully smoky flavours are amazing. The trick to a good barbeque is to make sure it isn’t too hot as you will overcook anything you put on it. After you have mastered this little trick, you can don your apron, grab a spatula and declare yourself the barbeque master!
Barbeques bring people together. Who wouldn’t want to sit outside with their friends, a few drinks and some good food? Even if the weather is a bit dull, you can throw on an extra layer and bask in the glow of the warm coals until the night draws in. The informal nature of this meal is what makes me love it so much; you cook good honest food with good people around you, which is why in my opinion it is far superior to a dinner party where someone runs around the kitchen and everyone else is stuck at the dinner table. The barbeque has a sense of community and fun, so I say bugger the British weather, let’s get out there and get those barbeques lit!
Burnt meat, bad weather, awful guests (made ten times more awful by the horror of flip-flops) and the occasional guerrilla wasp trying to intrude on the asinine festivities. Sound familiar? Of course it does. It’s the Great British BBQ, and it’s back to haunt us for another damp summer. But don’t get me wrong. I don’t dislike BBQs just because of the food, and the company, and the smell of smoke that clings to your clothes like a permanent reminder of the burnt-to-charcoal chicken you’ve politely forced yourself to nibble on. There is just something so Neolithic about the concept of getting together every single person on your contact list (apart from the personae non gratae that dared not to invite you to their own BBQ) and assembling that complicated grill set that has been hibernating in your shed for most of the year, simply because one single beam of sunshine somehow managed to make it to your backyard. What do people see in it? What makes the entire experience of gathering outside for some questionably cooked dinner so special?
The abhorrence of the BBQ seems to only multiply when you’re a student, and one of your mates decides that their little concrete orchard makes for a suitable location to hold this mindless, culinary ritual. Rarely ever do you get invited to a student BBQ that doesn’t rely on the eternally ineffective disposable grill (“How do you want your sausages? Raw on the inside, black on the outside?”), or a makeshift grill made out of an old shopping trolley, if the host is feeling particularly creative (and desperate). Why bother going through all of that hassle when you could shove it all into the oven, without leaving your guests writhing in the throes of food poisoning the next day?
It’s time you open your eyes, people. Barbecues are just an overrated, slightly dressed-up version of an activity we students get up to every single day: eating bad food. If you really want to enjoy your meal in a comfortable, social environment, host a dinner party. There’ll be no wasps, you won’t get rained on and if somebody turns up in flip-flops, you are well within your right to throw them out.