Here’s a humorous look at what might happen at your typical BBQ.
It’s Saturday morning and the BBQ guests will be arriving at about one o’clock for drinks and food is scheduled to be served at around two o’clock. Jim is struggling to wake up following a Friday night session sampling the various drinks that he’s bought for his guests. “It’s rude not to” says Jim.
Jim arrives in the kitchen scratching his head. “Morning all” he smiles at his two children, Jonathan (11) and Daisy (9). “What’s for breakfast?” he asks his wife Shirley. “You’re cooking today Jim, so it’s whatever you want. I’ve got things to do.” She says. “Besides, the kids and I have had breakfast. We got fed up waiting for you.”
“That’s a great start to the day that is. Jim gets punished for enjoying himself with the cold shoulder routine. Anyway, what have you got to do today?” – Big mistake Jim.
“Apart from washing up from breakfast, making the beds, vaccing the house, cleaning the downstairs loo and preparing all the cutlery and glasses, not a lot!” Told you Jim.
“All right love. You carry on and I’ll get the Barbie ready.” Good effort Jim.
“Come on kids, come with me, you can help tidy the bedrooms.” Shirley claps her hands and smiles. Jonathan and Daisy get down from the table and run upstairs, followed by Shirley.
Jim looks at the clock in the kitchen. It’s ten fifteen. “Two hours and forty five minutes left before they arrive” thinks Jim. One hour later after egg, bacon and toast, two cups of coffee, a leisurely shower, shave and dress, Jim emerges into the garden and immediately shields his eyes from the late spring sunlight. It’s quite a warm day. He walks down the garden to his shed, opens the door and finds his BBQ under a pile of gardening equipment. This is the first time this year that Jim has used his BBQ. After struggling to release it from all the hoses, forks and spades, he retrieves his BBQ and drags it into the garden. He removes the cover. “SHOCK!” It is covered in last year’s fat, has a liberal covering of rust and there are two neat holes in the bottom. “S***! Jim scratched his head trying to think of a solution. “Shirley will kill me if she sees this. Anyway, after you’ve had a skinfull at a Barbie, the last thing you think about is cleaning your BBQ”. (Wrong Jim). The next day is a good opportunity.
“Alan. Alan, you beauty.” Jim exudes. Alan, Jim’s next door neighbour is a keen BBQ’er. “I’ll ask Alan if I can borrow his BBQ.”
“Alan mate. I’ve got a bit of a problem and I wonder if I could borrow your BBQ as mine has had it and I’ve guests arriving in about an hour of so.”.
“Sure Jim. I’ll bring it round.” Alan responds.
Jim returns home and five minutes later, Alan arrives with his shiny (cared for) Rotigrill XL3 (I have to get a plug in somewhere). “Wow. Alan. That’s a bit of kit isn’t it?” Jim observes.
Jim is now thinking on his feet. “Alan, why don’t you and Jane join us? It’s a bit of a family affair, but you’d be most welcome.” “That’s most generous Jim, we’d love to.” Alan replied.
“How to you work this thing Alan?”
Alan explained. “It’s not difficult. You have the main spit roast for BBQ meat joints, motorised kebabs below and a grill. So it depends what you want to do.”
I’ve got a couple of chickens that I was going to cut up, some lamb chops, sausages and burgers for the kids. Shirley’s doing the salads.” Jim paused for a moment. “Oh dear, dear.”
“What’s the problem?” Alan asks.
“I forgot to ask Shirley to do the salads and she’s just reeled off a whole load of stuff that she’s got to do. She’ll murder me.” Jim scratched his head.
Alan came to the rescue. “You go ahead and do your salads and leave the BBQ to me. I’ll roast the chickens whole on the main spit. The sausages can cook on the kebabs and I’ll grill the chops and burgers. You put your apron on and as and when things need doing, I’ll just give you the nod. How does that sound?”
“If you weren’t a bloke, I’d kiss you. You are a star mate.” Jim rushes off to his kitchen and Alan returns to his house to get the remaining items of his BBQ kit.
Shirley enters the kitchen to see Jim and Alan standing side by side preparing the food. “What’s all this then?”
Alan has kindly offered to help with the preparation, so I invited him and Jane to the Barbie. Great isn’t it.” Jim said without looking up.
“Alan, you’re both more than welcome, but if I didn’t know you better Jim Fowler, I’d say that you’ve cocked up and Alan has jumped to your rescue.” Shirley wagged her finger.
Alan responded. “Jim, in my experience, it’s best to come clean.” Jim looked up with horror on his face. Alan continued. “Unfortunately, your BBQ didn’t survive the winter, so Jim did the obvious thing and asked for my help. I would have done the same.”
“Thank you Alan. Jim, we’ll speak about this later.” Shirley wagged her finger again.
“Why don’t I get us all a drink?” Jim responded.
“That’s about the only sensible thing you’ll have done all day. Apart from asking Alan for help that is. Shirley smiled at Alan. “I’ll have a white wine.”
Two drinks later and the door bell rings. The first guest has arrived. Shirley answers the door. Alan is on the patio with his Rotigrill proudly cooking two chickens on the main spit roast skewers. Jim, apron on, looks on as an observer. “On schedule for two o’clock.” Alan says to Jim.
Guests continue to arrive and Alan mingles with the crown enjoying the banter and drinks. Jim is busy mingling with guests and drinking his way through his stock of real ale. Alan touches Jim’s shoulder. “Sprinkling some OXO on the chickens Jim.” Jim does as instructed and many guests look on with admiration. “You look as though you know what you’re doing Jim.” one of the guests shouts out. “
“You’ve got to try haven’t you?” Jim winks at Alan.
A little time later and Alan jumps into action. It’s a quarter to two and Alan tells Jim to thread the sausages onto the kebab skewers. Alan further explains. “Right Jim. You need to put some little pieces of potato at each end of the sausages and squeeze them gently to prevent them spinning on the skewers. Bring them, the lamb chops and burgers out. The chops have been marinating in lemon juice, oregano and garlic. They’ll need about three to four minutes each side on the grill. Same for the burgers. Now, I’ve checked the chicken and it’ll be done by two o’clock. Take the chickens off; let them rest for fifteen minutes. While they’re resting, put the sausages on to the BBQ and start the kebab motor. They’ll take ten minutes to cook, so once their turning nicely and start to go brown, grill the chops and burgers.” Jim has been nodding his head all through the instruction. “Have you got that?” asked Alan.
“Yeah, I’m ok.” Replied Jim.
“Where are the baps for the burgers?” Alan asks.
“Oh s***!” I’ve forgotten to do the bread.
Alan takes charge of the situation as Jim’s real ale is beginning to take effect. “You look after the BBQ and do exactly as I’ve told you and I’ll go in to the kitchen and do the bread. Jane can help me. She won’t mind.”
“All right mate. I don’t know how to thank you en….” Alan interrupts Jim. “No problem. It’ll all be over very soon Jim. “
“But I’m actually enjoying myself.” Jim raises his glass.
Alan and Jane enter the kitchen as Shirley is putting her finishing touches to a very impressive array of salads, dips and sauces. She looks up in surprise.
“Jim’s a bit busy with the BBQ, so we thought that we’d prepare the bread.” Alan explained.
“He’s forgotten hasn’t he? Too busy drinking than thinking.” Shirley smiled. “Thank you anyway. The bread is over there and the baps are in the cupboard under the dresser. Thank you so much.
“Nothing to it”. Jim explained to an enthusiastic audience. “It’s a superb bit of kit this Rotigrill. And once you know what you’re doing, it produces some amazing BBQ food.”
“Serving plates Jim? What are you going to put the food on?” Shirley asked.
“They’re in the kitchen love. Thanks very much.” Jim completely missing Shirley’s sarcastic swipe that he’d forgot about serving plates.
Alan takes a supervisory glance at Jim and to his surprise he has followed his instructions and all is looking good. He has taken the chickens off the main spit roast and put them in the kitchen to rest. The chops and burgers have grilled close to perfection and Shirley has them on serving plates, which again go into the kitchen. Jim follows her and embarks on carving the chicken.
Alan, now with Jane, overhears several guests explaining how the food smelt wonderful.
Jim emerges from the kitchen into the garden and announces loudly. “Ladies and gents. Food is served.”
Alan walks calmly over to his Rotigrill and switches off the main and kebab motors. He had not expected Jim to remember everything.
After an afternoon and evening of eating and drinking, plus much hilarity and children playing games, Jim and Shirley’s house falls silent.
“Lishen to that Shirley.” Jim raised a hand to his ear.
“What?” Shirley asks.
“Nothing. Great isn’t it.” Jim replies.
With that Alan and Jane say good bye. Jim is looking slightly wobbly on his feet, but Shirley has stayed quite sober.
“Alan mate. You are a great big star. What would I have done without you?” Jim approached Alan as though he was going to kiss him on the cheek, but Alan raised his hand to prevent that happening.
“You did well Jim. Next time, get yourself a Rotigrill – and remember to keep it clean.” Alan shook Jim’s hand.
“Touché.” And thanks again to both of you. Jim kissed Jane. Alan gave Shirley a hug, before they both left.
Jim walked back to the kitchen to see the mountain of crockery, glasses and all the usual post BBQ debris. He looked at his watch and said to Shirley. “It’s been a long day love. I’m just going to get some shut eye. Wake me for match of the day will you. It’s the last day of the season” And with that he disappeared into the lounge.
A few hours later Jim woke up with that sandpaper dryness in his mouth. He switched off the lights in the lounge and climbed the stairs slowly.
The light was still on in his bedroom and Shirley was in bed reading. “How was match of the day?” She asked.
“Misshed it.” Jim stretched and yawned. “Shorry I left you to do all the clearing up.”
Shirley put her book down and rolled over. “You didn’t. It’s still there for you to do in the morning.”
There was a sound of a switch. “Who put the lightsh out?”
This story is entirely fictional and any connection with reality is purely coincidental. No burgers were harmed in the production of this story!