I f I thought that a bunch of blokes standing round a bbq burning food, oops, sorry cooking food was a typically English thing I’m glad to say that it isn’t, it is a European thing.
Pete was up at the communal campsite bbq tonight cooking sardines, marinaded in red onions, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil along with lamb chops alongside French and Spanish – all blokes, cooking an array of meats and fish. The difference is that in France the conversation revolved around ‘what have was that marinaded in?’ ‘what herbs have you used’, although beer was passed around so was tapenade, anchoiade, pistachios and olives instead of conversation about football and crisps being passed around. There’s nothing wrong with blokes standing around a bbq talking about football and eating crisps it just seems a little more cultural when you have three different languages attempting to interact and the conversation is about food – still blokes having this conversation you understand. Pete loved it, he was beaming when he sent the children back for more beer and posh nibbles, so as not to let the side down. He did say that the French and Spanish were pleasantly surprised to discover what we were eating, I think they are used to the burgers and chips brigade, and he had to wing it on the ‘whats in the marinade?’ front as he had no idea, but he was in his element.
Tips and recipes were passed on and discussed, how to bbq chicken in fresh mango marinade, discussion about whether the dust from the charcoal increased the flavour of the food or not, appreciation was declared for the wonderful marinade on the sardines and all round slaps on the back for damned good cooking were given. Pete’s final piece de resistance was the cooking of the slices of baguette over the coals, the other’s looked at Pete and asked how he was going to serve these – ‘with olive oil, rubbed with fresh garlic and ripe tomatoes’, well that was it, the ultimate accolade, lots of slaps on the back and the French and Spanish were totally impressed at the English’s ability to cook and appreciate food – ‘pane con tomates’ – Pete has arrived, he is now acknowledged a gourmet on the campsite. Wonder what they’ll make of the bbq breadsticks this evening along with marinated chicken and aubergines.