Invitation to the worst barbeque ever, June 2007

Sorry, but you have to come or we won’t come to your dumb thing.

Hi Barb and Evan,

We’d love for you to join us for a barbeque this weekend! Will’s vegetarian, of course, so the goodies will be all flesh-free. You should try these Field Roast sausages though. They really do taste like the real thing! Of course, we’ll serve them over a salad because gluten is a no-no for me. (I don’t have celiac disease or anything, I just feel lighter when I’m not eating bread.)

Here’s hoping the grill works this time! We’ve been having trouble with it since last year. Well hey, if the cooked food doesn’t work out, we have a backup plan. We’re¬†really into foraging and guess what? It’s dandelion green season! Mmm, with some fresh wild mushrooms (don’t worry, Will basically knows which ones are poisonous), it cannot be beat! Except by home-grown beets from our garden!

And if we can’t find any of those, we can all just go for a long run in the sun. Bring your running shoes! Just in case we go running, we shouldn’t drink beer at all.

Also, be careful running on the deck. It’s rotting, and the contractor says it’s only a matter of time before someone crashes through to the nest of skunks living underneath it. Can’t wait to see you!

Love,

Wilma and Will

Analysis:

The barbecue, as the old legend goes, was invented by Ben Franklin and James Madison during the Constitutional convention. The weather was hot and the folks were cranky, so Franklin decided to get some “booze, burgers, and bitches” to lighten the atmosphere. What followed was a daylong festival of grilled food, questionable potato salad, and enough beer to cause John Adams to take off his knee-highs and dive into the river with a young lady who was not only not his wife, but who had come to the party with Thomas Jefferson. This festival has now become a staple of the American summer.

Of course, as times change, outdoor cooking changes. Notably, during the Great Depression, most cookouts consisted of a single can of beans and a tankard of cheap gin. Just a few years earlier, during prohibition, a barbecue would have nothing more than a bathtub full of bootleg hootch, a leg of mutton, and all the flappers you could screw. The most famous cookout of all time, at Woodstock in 1969, replaced the traditional hot dogs and hamburgers with copious amounts of marijuana, which made them wish they still had a few of those hamburgers left, man.

In today’s polarized America, there can be said to be two types of barbecues: The Red-stater, where the traditional hamburgers and hotdogs have been retained and expanded in size (or combined into a super food, like a hamdogger), where copious amounts of something like Budweiser is dispatched, and where a hose will usually make an appearance at some point, especially if there are fat men in tank tops in lawn chairs. And the Blue-stater, an example of which appears above, where the traditional fare has been replaced with something like curried goat cakes, tofu wings, or something ethnic, where white wine sangria or mojitos are consumed in place of beer, and where there’s probably a pool but no one uses it because, come on, so tacky. Wiffle Ball is encouraged at both.

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