On the Couch with Jasminda


Dear Jasminda,
Whenever we have a barbecue, my husband cooks the meat and I prepare salads, bread rolls, cheese platters, desserts, marinades and all other accompaniments and yet our guests always thank him for the great meal. Pretty much all he has to do is chuck some snags and steaks on a hotplate. It annoys me.

Mrs OW, Raymond Terrace.

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Dear Mrs OW,
The Aussie barbecue is one of our fair land’s great traditions. It has ritual status in the ‘burbs. Walk down any street on a Sunday afternoon and you will smell the unmistakable aroma of burning flesh on backyard barbies. Invariably, someone will say, ‘Gee that smells great. It’s making me salivate.’ Then they’ll grunt and scratch themselves, reminding us that we have indeed descended from the apes. It’s Culture with a capital C, Mrs OW.

For the man who feels somewhat inadequate in the kitchen, a barbecue gives him renewed status as a culinary expert. There’s a lot of technique involved in getting the barbecue just right. First you have to scrape off the previous barbecue’s remnants (sate sauce, sausage gristle and burnt onion rings), then you need to sizzle up the plate with some beer to steam off any rodent poo; next you oil it up and then you carefully arrange your slabs of meat. It is obligatory to hold a Stubby during this process, and for some, it is also important to wear an apron that features large plastic breasts or catchy slogans such as ‘Natural Born Griller’.

The meat has to be cooked just right. A lot of men like their meat rare, sometimes so rare that it bleeds into all those lovely salads and potato bakes you have made, rendering them inedible. But let’s face it, your guests aren’t really there for your salads. They are there for an experience that has a not so subtle whiff of caveman about it. Let this one go and remember that taking control of his tongs is a form of emasculation that you really don’t need. You’ve no doubt got enough going on.

Carpe diem, Jasminda.

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