The final countdown


final countdownLess than 24 hours away from the birthday BBQ, and it’s been perfect all day until right after I scrubbed and dried the back patio (if you haven’t read them yet, check out Jeffrey’s Laws  to see why this was not surprising).

After showering and doing some more prep, I’m in my last break for the night.  I’ll be doing more prep while watching the Heat game tonight (the benefits of a smallish home…I can see the big TV from the kitchen).  Today’s post is a BBQ FAQ.  These are the most common questions surrounding my BBQ:

Is there anything I can do to help?

Never does the phrase “too many cooks…” apply more accurately than in my BBQ prep.  After doing these for almost a third of my life, I have a practiced routine for getting prepared.  That includes cutting the munchies (veggies, cheeses), mixing the BBQ sauce and cleaning the patio and setting it up the day before.  Easy enough for one person, certainly no need to impose on my friends.

Is there anything you want me to bring?

Let’s check the menu:  Appetizer trays will have veggies and cheeses, dipping dressing, crackers, popcorn, crunchy snacks and this time tuna and egg salads with bite-size bread slices.  Main serving includes ribs, burgers, sausage, chicken wings, baked beans, mac & cheese, corn on the cob and this time the hot dogs will be in crescent rolls (num!) and tater tots (more kids showing up this time and, really, who doesn’t like tater tots).  Oh, and a mixed fresh fruit salad for dessert (apples, strawberries, black grapes, watermelon, pineapple).

So, no.  But people do like to bring things as a gesture, so I suggest one of two things:  I don’t drink or provide alcohol, so if they want some, they need to bring it.  Also, since fruit is not how everyone likes to end their BBQ (I used to do sweets and ice cream, but I got stuck with the extras too often), I allow them to bring in a dessert…as long as it leaves with them if there’s any left.

When does it start?

Someday I will research where the concept “fashionably late” originated.  It’s a BBQ!  Fashion is the least concern.  It’s hot on the patio and most of the food is messy, can you imagine a worse scenario for “fashionable” clothing.  I usually try to pick a mid-afternoon time (3 pm), which allows for sunlight but also puts the sun on the opposite side of the house.  And then everyone shows up whenever.

Have you eaten yet?

No.  And yes.  Every good BBQ host knows they just don’t get to eat when there’s serving and cooking to do.  Of course, all that food that is being chopped, sliced, cooked and baked needs someone to make sure it’s the bee’s knees and that’s yours truly.  By the time everyone arrives, I usually have nibbled on enough items to get me to the point when everyone has left and I can sit down and heat something up.  Speaking of sitting down…

Why don’t you sit down and join us?

Well sure, those burgers will turn off when they’re ready.  And that boiling pot of corn won’t be spilling over onto the stove.  And who is going to be eagle-eyeing the lost food items on the floor or replenish the drinks or…

No, hosting doesn’t allow for time to rest until well after the party has started.  Once all the guests have arrived and I’m sure they have found something they like to eat, then I may pull out a chair and visit.  Maybe.

Yikes!  Look at the time!  Got to pick up some eggs and tuna for the salads.  And the watermelon (and just maybe, if the cherries are dark enough…)

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