Tony Allen: And finally ... Hot stuff!

Sep 15 | 2022

To date this year it’s been an ideal summer for barbecuing. Even so, I must confess that it’s not one of my strengths...

Tony Allen: And finally...We had a charcoal model but to be honest that probably described the condition of the food; everything was fine until my back was turned (“More red wine?”) and then I’d be presented with a darker shade of something or other loosely representing food. Before we knew where we were, Mrs A would be rushing into the kitchen trying to save the day whilst I diverted the guests’ attention with lashings of Pimms No. 1.

One day after slipping up trying to produce barbecued bananas, and taking account of the environmental considerations, I decided to purchase a gas version. Although I must confess that the whole thing struck me as being a bit pointless as we’d got a perfectly good gas cooker in the kitchen (see previous).

Anyway, I was delighted to discover that the new barbecue comes complete with a rather exciting rotisserie unit. As far as I’m concerned, one good turn deserves another. Couple of chickens; a complicated cook book marinade; hours of pre-cook basting and a few guinea pigs – sorry, that’s not a contribution to the food, but a reference to the invited guests - and we are ready to go. I’m proud of the fact that I prepared the chickens all by myself – which took a lot of initial pluck!

Guests arrive and I promise myself to keep clear of the Pimms. I’m even wearing my butcher’s apron so I really feel the part. Raw chickens are duly loaded on to the new piece of equipment. Maybe just the one glass of wine. Time to sit down accompanied by the soporific rotating symphony of my new piece of cooking apparatus and indulge in the art of pleasant conversation.

All’s right with the world. Except it’s not! Time has passed more quickly than I realised. I rush to my new barbecue. The vegetables are ok. The chickens, in stark contrast, have taken on a rather dark and sad demeanour. To say that they are inedible is an understatement.

Pizza anybody?

I know it’s perhaps a generational thing, but to be honest, I could count the meals I have cooked throughout my life on the fingers of two hands – and this includes boiled eggs!

My middle-aged son in contrast is an absolute master of the subject, in fact you could describe him as a Matador of the kitchen. Primping and preening and juggling saucepans whilst he carries on a conversation with his guests and then producing a perfectly acceptable meal. His mother must be so proud of him and what is more, it seems that most of his friends have a similar talent.

In my past life, I spent years managing high level companies and generally quite successfully, so why is it that as soon as I get into the kitchen all of that competence disappears? Is it a question of being bothered or not? I must confess that, if I ever want to produce a look of horror on my dear wife’s face, all I have to do is suggest that maybe she would like me to cook the evening meal!

Referring to the previous paragraph and digressing somewhat. It is amazing how during our working lives we can carry out highly complicated negotiations and hold our own in the boxing ring which we call business. Yet, for example, if we place ourselves in the hands of a hairdresser, who then, after having made a complete and utter mess of our hair, holds up that mirror, which they use to show you the finished article from all angles, what do we do? Why we just simply give a series of weak little nods of approval … and what’s more, we then give them a tip!

Returning to our theme. Cooking is one of those disciplines that you either love or hate, personally I prefer the eating part. But it’s certainly a social improvement that among younger generations there is far less division of labour and that jobs around the home are no longer predestined.

Anyway for all you know, I might actually be an amazing cook and an expert at juggling saucepans. I might just pretend to make a mess of my cooking skills in order to avoid actually having to do it. Now all I’ve got to do is make sure that this copy of The Mover magazine is safely removed from view. I suppose you might almost call this ‘cooking the books’!