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

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Errors & Omissions: the paraphernalia of a practised burglar – screwdrivers, gloves, children

Guy Keleny
The PM proposed 'commonsense restrictions' on migrant benefits  

So who, really, is David Cameron, our re-elected ‘one nation’ Prime Minister?

Andrew Grice
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?