Ladies of the grill


This is what happens BEFORE girls barbecue: lists are made, cocktails are googled, the BBC food website is ransacked for ideas. And steadily, steadily, through the previous week the mercury climbs until the day of the barbecue dawns (after a night of dreadful anxiety dreams) and at least 66% of the household is uneasily aware that she may have overreached, and that her stupidly ambitious plans are likely to end in sweat-trickles of rage. Thank God for watermelon and booze and guests poleaxed by heat.

Barbecuing is such a rare occurrence round our way that not only did we have to buy lots of weird food (‘Do you think Sainsbury’s sells pearl barley?’), we had to buy hardware like forks and jugs. The forks got used, the jugs didn’t, because when push came to shove I looked at my raspberry-coloured, perspiring reflection fresh from a shower taken 15 minutes after the projected start of the jollities and decided that iced tea and Pimm’s could sodding well go to sodding hell.

One extra pineapple, too many tomatoes and a frankly staggering 14 unnecessary limes

One extra pineapple, too many tomatoes and a frankly staggering 14 unnecessary limes

And this is what’s left over AFTER girls have barbecued. This image might suggest that these are remaindered because in the event we’d ducked the healthy stuff in favour of Pringles, mechanically reclaimed carcass flitters and extruded protein shapes, but in fact no, there had been double that amount of fruit and veg when we started – and it doesn’t even take into account the taciturn Hungarian bloke who abandoned his wife and baby for an hour and came back inexplicably with a 3kg box of seedless grapes.

The booze situation was slightly better judged: I was relieved to note that whoever brought that bloody cider seemed to have drunk it by night’s end.


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