The blog of photographer and musician, Kim Ayres

Greener Barbecues

I think Guatemalans are cool

Have you been reading El Guapo again? I’ve still not forgiven him for saying he thought Scotland was a country invented by Mel Gibson

Well perhaps he’d never heard of Sean Connery…

Just you make sure you don’t go getting any ideas about shaving your beard and just leaving a moustache. You’ll frighten the children when you pick them up from school.

I’m not planning on shaving anything, but this is nothing to do with El Guapo. I’m talking about barbecues.

What’s that got to do with Guatemalans? I thought Australians were the kings of the barbecue.

No, listen. I was reading in the Good Food magazine about greener barbecues

You’re going to start flame grilling the salad?

No, no - how to make them less environmentally damaging. Reducing your carbon footprint is all the rage this summer. Did you know that a patio heater used for four hours contributes more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere than the average car does in one day?

But we don’t have a patio heater.

I know that, but if we did, we could turn it off more.

You want us to buy a patio heater so we can turn it off?

Er, probably not. That was just an example. But according to this article we should be looking for locally sourced charcoal, stamped with the Forest Stewardship Council logo.

So what has any of this got to do with Guatemalans?

Well the latest, must have, way of lighting barbecues is with Fair Trade fire sticks from the Mayan people of Guatemala!

Fair Trade fire sticks?

Si, mi esposa hermosa. It says here that these ecological green products are handmade from the stump of Ocote tree. Apparently they are 80% resin but dry to the touch, so make ideal natural firelighters.

Don’t start quoting Spanish at me; you don’t even speak the language. Anyway, what’s wrong with using last week’s local freebie newspaper?

Well, if we place a stick under charcoal or logs, it says we will instantly be transported to the highlands of Guatemala by the wonderful aroma.

Let me get this right. You think that flying a handful of sticks halfway round the world just to light your barbecue is an environmentally friendly way of doing things?

*cough*

Say, did you know Guatemalans have these little worry dolls…

20 comments

Mary Witzl said...

We burn our newspapers (once we've finished reading them, of course). And we don't barbecue anything, as a general rule. I've got to go along with what your esposa hermosa says: using what you can find nearby seems to make more sense to me. Fortunately for us, we have a wealth of newspapers, and dozens of trees that need constant pruning. And when all else fails, we are not far away from the woods...

But as for Guatemala -- what a beautiful country! I spent a happy few weeks traveling around Guatemala and Mexico, and if it hadn't been for the, um, dysentery, it would have been paradise.

Sayre said...

I am VERY familiar with worry dolls...

C in DC said...

You should try flame broiling the salad. It's good. Heads of romaine, cut in half, drizzled with olive oil and seasonings, toasted on the BBQ -- excellent!!!

Unless, of course, you need to fly the romaine in from Guatemala. :-)

Julie said...

Too funny.

We don't do much barbecue in the summer... Not much cooking actually. It's too darn hot. Lots of salads and veggies, lots of fruit.

PI said...

On spite of a month in Australia I have yet to discover the joys of barbecues. I have been known to eat al fresco, but many years experience has taught me that, really - apart from Greece - it's more comfortable inside, with a breeze from open doors and windows. And you can see your host without being choked and blinded.

Kanani Fong said...

We barbecue almost every day.
That's right, I can't make the kitchen even hotter. So we eat outside.

A few years ago my friends Eddie and Ferdie moved to NYC. They bought a place without a terrace, and so they gave me this enormous Charmglow stainless steele BBQ. Only problem was that we had to wheel the thing up the hill to our street.

It was my son and me. We tool that thing and stood behind and pushed it up, looking like a couple bbq kidnappers.

It's the nicest bbq, really. Only a couple of gay guys would have a bbq this nice... unless they took pity on the poor heteros when they moved and gave it to them.

Eryl Shields said...

I have some of those worry dolls and when I remember I do actually offload onto them and put them under my pillow at night. They work!

I also have a barbecue but as it's mostly raining here rarely get to use it. But I love cooking outside when I can.

Nicole said...

Thanks for making me laugh. I'm assuming this conversation was with your wife. You're both funny! :) So next time I go to Guatamala I promise to buy some sticks. ;)

Kim Ayres said...

Mary - most of our papers go in the recycle bin, but I try and use them as firelighters when I remember

Sayre - do you have a whole army of them at the ready?

C in DC - now I can see where I was going wrong - I thought I had to douse my salad in lighter fluid...

Julie - Where are you based?

Pat - salmonella poisoning and bugs in the salad - surely these are what barbecues are all about?

Kanani - my attempt with an old biscuit tin and a strip of chicken wire must place me firmly in the hetero category then

Eryl - it's true. I think barbecues are less popular the further north you go

Nicole - check "mi esposa hermosa" on google translate and see if you're right

Eolaí said...

So we're meant to burn the worry dolls in a mini-epic version of the Wicker Man or something?

Julie said...

Kim - I'm near Chicago, Illinois. Hot and humid for most of the summer. We have a French-style open air market on the weekend and a Farmer's market mid-week. I can get wonderful, fresh produce all summer long.

It's such an improvement after living in Brooklyn, New York.

Sayre said...

I had baskets of worry dolls when I was married to my first husband. I think sometimes that they were the only reason I stayed sane - I could talk to my dolls and give them my problems while I slept.

These days I just kick something. But it's more for fun (martial arts, people!!!) now.

michael greenwell said...

great post. shows you the absurdity of the whole thing. for some reason it reminds of the bit in blackadder where he says the war would be more simple if everyone just stayed at home and shot 50,000 of their own men a week. not sure why it reminds me of that though!

Carole said...

I love barbecues, because it means I don't cook. I consider barbecuing a boy job. I make up lots of boy jobs and no one seems to complain. Since I have three boys and a husband, they can't really argue that there were no girl jobs. Still we only barbecue about once a week. Drat and double drat.

Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

a barbecue to me is not properly had without a light drizzle and sooty food. It's how I 'member them from when I was wee.

savannah said...

this was funny on soooooo many levels and yet..the truth is right there...you've great style, sugar... ;)

Kim Ayres said...

Eolai - only after applying grandpa's special bbq sauce

Julie - you should set up your own blog sometime. However ordinary your life seems to you, Chicago is a complete unknown to me apart from films about Al Capone, and the Blues Brothers

Sayre - I'm glad it's not just anyone you kick :)

Michael - one of the problems with being "green" is that it means so many different things, some of which can seem a bit contradictary at times.

We're what you might call an "Environmentally Aware" family, in that we recycle quite a lot of our waste, buy fair trade when we can afford it, and feel a little twinge of guilt every time we go for a drive, although not enough to actually stop us.

Carole - sounds like it's time to up the barbecues to 5 times a week...

Sam - I keep a bucket of ash from the fireplace which we bring out when we have barbecues to dip our sausages and burgers into for a more authentic taste...

Savannah - thank you. I do love a good compliment :)

El Guapo in DC said...

You really can't go wrong with anything Guatemalan. Your meat will taste divine and the saints will bow their heads in your favor.

Mel Gibson didn't invent Scotland?

ADW said...

The last time I tried to use a charcoal grill I almost burned down a corn field. Long story, don't ask. But the scent of Guatemala... I wonder if it will give me visions of sexy men with meticulously groomed mustaches.

Please, please, please send out a prayer or your good wishes to a lady over here who has been missing for over a week. Stop by and read about it if you want, but her family needs all of the good thoughts and love they can get right now...

Kim Ayres said...

El Guapo - nope, I'm pretty sure it was Sean Connery.

ADW - too late - I want to know the story about the cornfield now.

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