You can tell summertime is here. A fug of charcoal settles over every garden on Saturdays. Groups of men in brightly coloured shorts crowd around burning bowls on tripods, clutching beer cans, undeterred by the black, billowing clouds being produced. Yes, it’s barbecue season and what better excuse for slinging the sausages on the grill than Father’s Day?
Team Minted is, of course, hosting a family lunch this Sunday. Picture the scene: it will inevitably be raining and about 16 degrees. The Minted men will be terribly busy with the steaks and kebabs, somehow managing to down several bottles of Stella while keeping the skewers and the conversation turning. Inside the ladies, who spent most of the previous day and morning making the sides and puddings, will be keeping their strength up with a glass of prosecco – I mean champagne.
Meanwhile the odour of smoke and scorched sausage will have pervaded the house because no-one remembered to close the windows while they were stoking up the conflagration on the patio. The children will have filled up on crisps while the adults are distracted and/or have hurt themselves falling out of a tree. Eventually, usually an hour or two later than scheduled, we’ll be presented with a tray of charred lumps. Everyone compliments the (meat) chef, chews down the steak (chews and chews) and majors on the bread and salads. Puddings disappear, unremarked. The men then park themselves in the nearest comfortable chair and settle in with a bottle of red. Washing up, why? They’ve done all the hard work!
I’m hoping that it won’t be like the last time we had an evening BBQ. Someone Who Shall Remain Nameless forgot to check the equipment. The butcher’s finest had been laid out ready to go and we discovered the gas canister had run out. All there was to eat were these horrible dips I had made (beetroot and mint by Fay Ripley, Cold Feet indeed, not recommended). We should’ve cooked it in the oven as there were 12 hungry people starting to look at the dog in a funny way. But we didn’t (because then it wouldn’t be a BBQ). By the time we had secured more gas, the untouched dips had disappeared, the guests were rolling drunk with nothing to line their stomachs and we ate about midnight. By that time though, no-one cared about burned burgers.
For me, preparing food for loads of people using worse facilities than your kitchen is not a treat. Funny isn’t it that, on Mother’s Day, you get to go out for lunch so no-one has to cook? Seems the sensible approach. But if the dads want to get on with it, I guess we have to let them. It’s only one day a year, after all.
AND THIS JUST IN:
Morrisons has the ‘Daddy of all Burgers’ in stores from tomorrow – a full pound of 100% British beef especially for Father’s Day. It’s 18 cm wide and costs £3. You can even get the matching burger bun for 50 pence. Yay!