In New Zealand the long-awaited Labour Weekend holiday at the end of October marks the beginning of Summer. Of long warm days hanging out in the outdoor room. Most Kiwi houses have one.
A patio, porch or deck. A place to curl up with a book and a glass of vino or to BBQ up a storm.
In preparation for the coming Summer deck days, Kiwis traditionally spend Labour Weekend at the local Bunnings preparing the house and garden for the influx of summer guests, and all those drinkies on the deck.
We were no exception of course. We headed off to pick up some bins and bobs and some screws. At least that’s what my Englishman thought we were going to get. My cunning plan was to get him salivating over gleaming brand new BBQ’s.
You see, my Englishman doesn’t quite get the Kiwi BBQ. He’s adamant we need to cook with fire and charcoal, no doubt starting the fire with rubbed sticks and a mirror! He’d be happy with a half gallon drum and half a beast on a spit over the flame – and Scout manual in his back pocket.
As for me? I’m more into the whole 6 burner gleaming stainless steel BBQ (oh look shiny!) and the convenience of cooking over gas. I’ve discovered this yummy new steak marinade (maple syrup, rosemary and cider vinegar!) and I don’t want to spend all day basting. Not to mention that amazing BBQ Venison medallion salad in Annabel Langbein’s A Free Range Life – I want to jump into this #FreeRangeFoodie experience feet first!
You see I’m well aware that Kiwi and Aussie men tend to think of BBQs as their domain but it’s the women who really do it all. They prepare the meat, the salads, the sauces, the tableware and dessert. The menfolk drink beer.
And stand around ensuring the meat is well done. (Cremated, like this!)
This charcoal versus gas debate has turned into quite a heated discussion between my Englishman and I. I guess in a weird kind of way it highlights succinctly how different our backgrounds have been. And last night it came to a head.
We had been invited to spend the first night of the BBQ season with our Zimbabwean expat friends, and as we shopped for our contribution to the meal I realised that my Englishman was all at sea about what Kiwis eat at the average BBQ!
NZ BBQ’s are not so much mince hamburger pattie jobbies but marinated meats, chargrilled veges and gourmet salads – all quite different from UK BBQs.
I didn’t realise it was such a learning curve, but I guess I should have. I remember now, the alarm with which my plans to have our wedding breakfast in the North of England cooked as a BBQ, were received.
I was thinking meat in the piece, maybe a whole salmon stuffed with herbs and some rare lamb chargrilled to perfection on the BBQ..my alarmed English family and friends were envisaging limp lettuce, tomato sauce and grease blistered lamb kebabs.
There were a few muttered comments in the local supermarket and a little ‘no speakies’. But after a fun night with our friends and a yummy meal we went home in better shape. Who would have thought that the different approaches to preparing a BBQ could become such a sticking point.
But I think my Englishman is getting his head around it. I wouldn’t be surprised if the deck, pool and view are all helping him to get into Summer Kiwi style. Not to mention 20 degrees C temperatures in late October and all those deck days that lie ahead of us as we count down to Summer holidays.
But don’t you think this deck is a little naked as it is. Isn’t it just begging for a nice gas BBQ?
What do you think – what says BBQ to you? What meat? What type of meal? Charcoal or gas?
Disclaimer: Vegemitevix has been chosen to be one of Annabel Langbein’s Free Range Foodies but all opinions are my lip-smacking own!