Friday, September 7, 2007

Patron Saint of Barbecue

photo: Esa Alexander/AP

Smokin' with Bishop Desmond Tutu

National Braai Day -- September 24 in South Africa.

How cool is that? A public holiday with barbecue!

BBC News

Archbishop Desmond Tutu has become the patron of South Africa's Barbecue (Braai) Day, saying the pastime is a unifying force in a divided country.

The Nobel Peace Prize laureate celebrated his appointment by donning an apron and tucking into a sausage outside his office.

"This is something that can unite us. It is so proudly South African, so uniquely South African," he said.

Braai Day takes place on September 24, which is also National Heritage Day.

Organiser Jan Scannell said the idea was not to have a mass braai, but rather many small ones with friends and family.

"There are so many things that are pulling us apart, this has a wonderful potential to bring us all together," Archbishop Tutu told reporters on Wednesday. "We have 11 different official languages but only one word for the wonderful institution of braai: in Xhosa, English, Afrikaans, whatever," he said.

The retired Anglican archbishop of Cape Town, who won the Nobel Prize in 1984 for his anti-apartheid struggle, continues to speak out against injustice at home and abroad. However, he admitted that he had lost count of the groups he backed. "Sometimes I am surprised when people say, 'You are our patron'," he said.
Desmond Tutu, future patron saint of...multi-ethnic BBQing.

Gilly is laughing his butt off right now (and saying "yeah, but I still get dibs on flipping the ribeyes when he finally gets here.")

Just don't get between me and the barbecue. Last weekend Kyle and I spent three hours driving all over Puget Sound looking for some good 'cue. Stupid restaurants, giving their workers off for Labor Day. I wanted ribs! Chicken! Labor-shmaber. Feed Me.

Put in over 150 miles checking every place I knew (not counting chains 'cause who the hell wants to eat there). Eventually we found some at a meat store down off the outskirts of Auburn, the ribs and chicken smoked all day outside in a BIG cooker. But driving away it tasted a little, um, crap, so I dumped it.) Kyle and I ended up getting enough Chinese food for four which we took home and finished off over a day and a half. Steamed dumplings; yummy.

This weekend I'm going back and after last week's debacle, my favorite 'cue restaurant had damn well better be open. Well, my favorite is Everett & Jones down in Berkeley & Oakland, but I'm not driving down there this weekend, although I have been known to make the 850 mile one-way drive to Oakland when I'm feeling peckish and need something real. E&J's rib sandwich is really worth the drive. The meat slow cooked in an old oven for 8-10 hours. Not especially polite (or rude unless you're an asshole), but who cares. It's the best barbecue north of Los Angeles, south of Arkansas. And I'm not too sure about LA.

Don't even tell me about Kansas. Kansas don't know jack about barbecue. Yeah, I said it. Meant it too.

Speaking of driving, I keep getting invited to the Bloggers backyard barbecue in New York from time to time. The last one was over Labor Day; 4th of July before that. Would have gone but the commute from Seattle is a bitch, especially when the 4 Train really slows down just outside Coeur D'Alene.

LM went to July 4 and said the Bloggers backyard barbecue is "Great food, good fun, and excellent conversation." Barbecue is one of those deals where friends can just be. Hang out, kick back and be. Trust a Nobel laureate to dig that.

Damn. Now I'm hungry. Maybe bacon for breakfast?

This weekend, I'm going to have me some good ribs, all the fixins. Monday I'm back on my famous bean diet. Not coming off till either 220 or Halloween, whichever. But first, time to pray at the church of grilled meats and laid back attitude.

Pass the ribs and chops, Bishop. And save some for Gilly.