Harriet Walker: Boy meets grill and trouble's on the way

The thing is...

Share
Related Topics

When King Francois I met Henry VIII on the Field of the Cloth of Gold, he did a sight more than just throwing a couple of bangers on the barbie. There were peppered swans, one imagines, and mythical creatures recreated from seven different types of meat. We Brits may have long since left any gastronomic pride on the doorstep of the kebab shop, but shouldn't someone have warned David Cameron that laying on a barbecue for President Obama was perhaps the most ridiculous bit of kitchen thinking since someone in the Seventies decided boiled eggs would look better dyed blue?

There are Men Who Can Barbecue and men who can't. Obama definitely can, and probably has the T-shirt to prove it. He can probably barbecue a live animal using only tongs and a handgun. Cameron, meanwhile, is the sort of Barbecuer who ends up next to what looks like a cherry tomato on a tripod under an umbrella in torrential rain for six hours. And then has to go inside and crisp it all up under the grill anyway.

The problems with a barbecue are manifold: the food doesn't actually taste any better; knowing when it's ready is about as easy as predicting the Rapture; it requires the patience of a stoic, and social interaction with the designated Barbecuer is like trying to make conversation with someone who has taken either a vow of silence, or a lot of Class A drugs.

And a barbecue, like Pancake Day, is the worst possible option for feeding people who are hungry. If they've come straight from a five-course banquet, you're fine, but if there's even the tiniest pocket of emptiness in those tums, you can guarantee complaints by three o'clock, and gales of tears by five. And all the while, the Barbecuer is frantically wafting smoke across the pretty chair arrangement you've set out on the scruffy bit of grass where the inflatable goalpost normally lives.

Every so often though – and it's as rare as an honest politician, this – you'll go to a barbecue, sit down on time and all eat together under the watchful and winning gaze of a Man Who Has Just Tamed A Barbecue. "Oh it's simple," he shrugs, pointing to something that looks like a dog's coffin on wheels. "I just ignite the gas, calibrate the braising shelf and away we go." That isn't a barbecue, my friend, that is an oven. And if it were located inside, you wouldn't go near it in a month of Sundays.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

NVQ Assessor Level 2 & 3 Sport Development

£19200 - £26880 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: In NVQ Ass...

Secondary supply teachers required in Newmarket

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Secondary supply teac...

Programme Test Manager

£400 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client are currently seekin...

IT Network Manager - Shepherd's Bush, London

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Network Manager - Shepherd's Bush...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh  

Scottish independence: Forget Yes and No — what about a United Kingdom of Independent States?

Ben Judah
Francois Hollande at the Paris summit on Iraq with ministers from Saudi Arabia and Bahrain on 15 September  

What's going to happen in Syria and Iraq? A guide to the new anti-Isis coalition's global strategy

Jonathan Russell
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week