Wednesday, July 30, 2008

All Fired Up

Join The Barbie Queue

Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON



When an Aussie invites you round for a barbie, they’re not talking Mattel products. They’re talking barbecues.

We don’t just fire them up in summer, you know. We use them all the year round and let me tell you there is nothing more interesting than standing beside the warmth of a four-burner on a freezing winter evening.

I have my own apron. I have my own recipes. I have my own way to sear and slow-cook succulent steaks. Friends and family have been known to give me barbecue tools for my birthday. I even have a silver-topped, velvet-lined attaché case with more implements than a heart surgeon could possibly use in the course of performing a triple bypass.

Our first barbecue made its appearance, amid much excitement, in 1993. I put a lot of mileage on it. And I mean, a lot of mileage. Midway through, I gave it a new coat of paint and generally spruced it up. But because it sat in our back yard, it was subject to the vagaries of the harsh Australian weather.

So last year, Mrs Authorblog asked me what I wanted for my birthday. Immediately, like Saul on the road to Damascus, I had a vision. My vision was a 300mm lens for my camera. Mrs Authorblog got that steely look in her eye. She said she thought I needed a new barbecue.

See, that’s my weak point. I never throw anything out until it collapses in a heap. Until then, it is regarded by me as entirely serviceable. My old barbecue was functioning perfectly. I did not want a new one. I didn’t even need a new one. But in my heart of hearts, I knew the 1993 model was well past its use-by date.

So my wife found me the absolute Rolls-Royce of barbecues. We paid for it and then asked when they could assemble it and deliver it. Slight problem. They didn’t assemble. And they didn’t deliver.

The pressure was squarely on me. I drove the (big) Authorblogmobile round to the store’s loading bay. I’ve got a huge boot, but it just wasn’t wide enough for the new purchase. We tried getting it into the back seat, where there was more than enough cubic metreage to fit it in, but the doors wouldn’t open wide enough.

I had no option but to hire a trailer and stick the load in there. But Mrs Authorblog was in charge of the Crisis Management Taskforce. Her eagle eye had detected the fact that her car needed to be driven to the store.

Why would that be, I asked.

"Because," she replied, "the doors on my imported car open wider than the doors on the Authorblogmobile."

I’ll just cut a long story short to say she was right. There was no levering required. The doors opened beckoningly and the barbecue was patted neatly into the back seat.

So far, so good. The Crisis Management Taskforce was in fine fettle. But who was going to assemble this hulking mammoth?

That’s why our good friend Louis, the resident Good Samaritan, appeared. He gave up a whole Sunday afternoon, rocking up with more gear than the Six Million Dollar Man. He studied the manual, he put out the parts, he sorted the washers and he put aside the nuts - myself included.

Then he put the whole darn thing together in much the same manner that they build Boeings in Seattle. Swiftly.

Me? I finally plucked up enough courage to do one simple, give-it-to-the-village-idiot task. Louis asked me to put the handles on the doors to the storage compartment. It took me half an hour. And one handle (I kid you not) was upside down.


For the home of ABC Wednesday, go to Mrs Nesbitt's Place.

40 comments:

willow said...

Cute post. So were you blind after your Damascus Rd. experience?

Kathryn said...

Thank goodness for smart wives and a good friend Louis! What you Aussies won't do for some good barbeque, eh? ;)

I wish my grill were as clean as yours in the pic!

Debbie said...

I love the shine and reflections in that grill! I chuckled through this whole story - could relate for a variety of reasons! I just ordered my son-in-law a set of monogrammed 'branding' irons for when he cooks steaks on the grill as a b'day present. He is the grillmaster around here!
He is a purist though - uses only his old charcoal grill. I can barely get the gas grill started, never mind lighting charcoal! Enjoy the day!

Lee said...

Wonderful tale, David! Does your new barbie cook as good as she looks?

Question: Was this a scheduled post? I'm just wondering?

Cheers!

Colin Campbell said...

When we bought our house last year, two of our first purchases were a barbeque and a lawn mower. I single handedly assembled the barbeque and cooked dinner on schedule. The lawnmower, I just had to plug in, it was the pushing bit that was tedious.

quilly said...

They let you play with fire?

We bought a cheap dinning room table set for the kitchen. I put three chairs and the table together while OC put one chair together wrong. The man can calibrate an electron microscope, travel all the way around the world and arrive at his exact destination -- to which he has never been before -- without getting lost, and tell you the names of most of the known seaweeds in the oceans of the world, yet he cannot tell up from down when it is clearly stamped on a piece of lumber.

Merisi said...

With a woman like Mrs. Authorblog and a friend like Louis by your side, I cannot imagine anything ever going wrong. Now, when did you say you were going to throw that big BLBBQ? ;-)

SandyCarlson said...

What a spiffy grill. I am impressed, David.

A Buns Life said...

A man and his Barbie Queue.....I'm not allowed anywhere near ours, I mean my husband's. :) Which is just fine by me. It means I have the summers off from cooking 80% of the time! Woo hoo!

Hilary said...

Good thing you're far better at photographing and cooking with barbecues than you are at assembling them AND.. you and your camera make a fine reflection in the chrome around dial number two!

juliana said...

thanks for a good laugh.
that's a nice reflection in that chrome.

juliana said...

oops, just noticed i'm logged on as my alias... no matter, i don't think

polona

EatPlayLove said...

those knobs are awfully shiny in that photo. I should send you a photo of our barbie's knobs!

if you ever make it to the states, could you give us a little barbie lesson? we are such a work in progress in that regard. No matter how it turns out, we eat it anyway.

Jenn: said...

We use our grill all year long too. It is the only way to eat meat, fish, poultry, you name it: it's better on the barbie.

BTW, my hubbie had to walk his home from the store, because it would not fit in our car. At least it was assenbled.

Kim said...

I'm usually the one in our house that puts things together, the hubby doesn't like following directions :)

I love barbecuing, it brings back lots of memories.

Happy Wednesday :)

marcia@joyismygoal said...

Lol well you can enjoy the food and of course take the pictures

CrazyCath said...

Read this first at ABC and I love it. I know some one sitting not too far from me who would be similar regarding the putting on of handles... which made me splurt my tea out! Thank you!

Great shots of the barbie too.

petra michelle; Whose role is it anyway? said...

One day will experience a barbie. Always wanted to visit Australia.
I may never come back if I do. Petra p.s. thank you for stopping by. "Aresting" yes, no pun intended! Would you care to vote?

Sandi McBride said...

Oh have I got some barbecue sauces I could share with you!
Sandi

Dan Mega said...

David, I am jealous of your grill.

nina said...

Nice perspective on the knobs!

Nina at Nature Remains

magiceye said...

that was a wonderful read! thank you!
:)

napaboaniya said...

A pretty cool barbie set your Mrs has gotten you for your birthday. If I were to get a bbq set for my man, he would probably ask for just a nice piece of steak cooked and served before him!! *head..desk*

Jennifer H said...

I'm having grill envy, too. Also, I think I have the only husband who wants nothing to do with the grill!

I had a feeling Mrs. Authorblog could handle the grill transport. Smart lady you married.

Golightly said...

How funny! congratulations on the new grill! I take back my other comment - you can come over and YOU can cook up a steak on the grill and we'll provide an nice American wine! LOL!

We have a pretty sad grill too. But it works - All. Year. 'Round.

Jules~ said...

Oh gosh I love your story. I can just see the whole thing playing out. Confession...aside from helping my mom turn chicken one time, I have never cooked on a BBQ.

And....I looked at all the egg cartons tonight at my corner market. They all have round holes.

Bear Naked said...

Saw this post on the other site.
I left a comment there also.
Beauty of a barbeque you have.

Bear((( )))

tlc illustration said...

Funny post. At least you had help so that yours got set up. We bought my husband a new one for Father's Day last month. It's still sitting underneath the deck..

Cowgirl said...

Ha! Great post, I could just see you trying to shove the beast into the back of the authorblogmobile... !!! What a great birthday present - it brought to mind the bit in your book where Steve cooks his first steak. And yes, definitely time for a new one!

74WIXYgrad said...

So the hero of this story is MrsAuthorblog. Her clear thinking and the use of the MrsAuthorblogMobile saved the day.

AphotoAday said...

Well, that got me salavating for some BBQ, and I'm actually supposed to be a vegetarian (for health reasons) these days...

They do the same thing to me over on the Food-Channel -- they have no mercy...

Denise said...

Hmmmmmmm! BBQ sounds good, shame about the weather!

Jenn: said...

Thanks for the awesome post idea, David. Here is my *grill story* .

Texas Travelers said...

Every time I wanted to Bar-B-Que, it was freezing, too hot 100+, or raining, so I bought an indoor electric. works great.

Great post.

I hope to visit all today.
It's a fun "B" project.
I also discontinued verification today.

Come visit our Butterflies, Click here.
Troy and Martha

Miss_Yves said...

Brilliant!
Miss Yves

holly said...

and is the food amazing with your new kit?

btw, it takes a very brave man to write the sentence "i have my own apron." niiiice.

leslie said...

This is a great narrative! Reminds me of when my late husband had to assemble our bbq - lots of #@$#& type language was overheard by the entire neighbourhood that day! LOL

Gordon said...

Yes, we love our barbecues- summer, autumn, winter and spring. A great read.

Colleen said...

Way to go David! I particually liked the bit at the end... ;)

cheshire wife said...

I thought that it was only us Brits that had BBQs in the cold and wet.