One of the worst things about summer is adverts for barbecue food. This M&S ad is this year’s least offensive example, and it still fills me with dread. One of the other worst things about summer is actually going to barbecues.
We never owned a barbecue grill when I was a kid, so when I reached adulthood I spent way too long trying to enjoy what everyone else seems to agree is Really Good Fun before realising that everything about barbecues is utter pants. Here’s how almost every barbecue I’ve ever been to* goes down:
1900: Turn up and hand over specially-chilled-and-ice-packed fancy wine. Will never see nice chilled wine ever again. Accept it and move on.
1905: Note with sadness that barbecue grill not lit yet. Politely eat two Kettle Chips and sit in the sun, basking next to sweaty packages of raw meat.
2025: Other people turn up, but not as many as advertised. Now too awkward to go home and order pizza. Attempt to make small talk while somehow both drunk and hypoglycaemic; warm Pimms only source of sustenance now Kettle Chips all gone.
2030: Barbecue lit. Hooray! Move into carcinogenic smoke plume for warmth. Experience extreme flip-flop regret.
2105: Someone from country with climate and urban terrain more conducive to barbecues smugly mansplains how terrible barbecues are in this country. Not helpful, guy.
2200: Receive a single sausage, encased in carbonite like a porcine Han Solo, plus bap and ‘mixed leaves’. Look sadly at paper plate and think about how life might have turned out. Too dispirited to add ketchup.
2230: Receive second sausage; share with wan-looking spouse.
0000: Go home starving, cold and drunk. Scent of scorched carcass clings to hair. Vow never to attend another barbecue.
Next day: Tagged in 392 unflattering Facebook photos.
My suggested alternative to this hell-on-Earth is just to just take your dinner outside. Cook inside, sit outside. It’s fun! And less messy! You can have pasta! You know it makes sense.
*Except your barbecue. It was obviously excellent.