Monday, July 28, 2008

The barbie...

Trying to shake off the winter blues, the Handsome Australian and I decided that tonight would be a good night for a barbie (that's Aussie for barbecue). We've had very chilly winter weather of late mixed with a fair amount of rain (Which we are not complaining about btw. After 7 years of drought, we'll take every precious little drop, thank you very much!) and that's made it difficult to be outside cooking on the barbecue. Today, while still chilly, was a relatively dry day and so we decided to take the leap.

During the summer months, I'd guess our family would have a barbecue about once a week. When it's winter time though, barbecues are few and far between. That is what made tonight's barbecue so was the first one we'd had in months! We had originally planned this barbecue for yesterday, but the weather got the better of us and we had to postpone. This postponement was not well received by our sausage loving four year old. She had been looking forward to it all weekend apparently.

Tonight, her sausage loving prayers were answered and the Handsome Australian cooked a barbecue for one and all. As he was outside throwing another shrimp on the barbie (oh no, not really because we don't call them shrimp here we call them prawns and while we do sometimes put prawns on our barbie we didn't this evening because the boss wanted sausages remember?) I began to contemplate the barbecue and all it's meanings. Pretty deep right? I know, I like to consider the BIG issues...

In Australia, you can invite someone around for a barbecue at your house. You might say something like, "Mate, we've decided to have a barbie on Saturday come 'round if you can." When you arrived you might ask, "G'day. How are we? Where's the Handsome Australian?" To which I'd respond, "He's out back by the barbie." Which means you'll find him outside near the grill. That means that a barbecue or barbie is an event here as well as the name for the grill itself.

In America, particularly in Texas, the word barbecue brings to mind a particular style of preparing the meat by smoking it. In this case, the meat itself is known as 'barbecue'. The Australians don't call the food cooked on the barbie, 'barbecue'. Having lived here for eight years, I honestly can't remember how you would be invited to a barbecue in the USA. Would you tell someone you are having a barbecue? Even if you didn't plan on smoking the meats? Or would you say you were 'cooking out'? Do you refer to the grill as the barbecue? Gut instinct tells me no, but I can't be certain.

So this intense philosophical thought about the word barbecue has led me to a much deeper my mind, the lines between Australia and the USA have become quite blurred. This isn't the first time I haven't been able to remember how things are done in the USA. In some cases I'll be thinking of a particular item or a word and I won't be able to remember if that is the Australian or American version of the particular item/word. Having two cultures so deeply embedded in your psyche can be very confusing sometimes.

I'd explore this idea a bit further except I smell sausages...

Learn the Lingo
barbie = barbecue
barbecue = the event and the grill itself
shrimp = prawn
g'day = hello

1 comment:

Dana said...

Well, here in Texas we say we are going to have a barbecue. Other times we say that we are having a cookout. It is often interchangeable. Barbecue often refers to the use of lots of barbecue sauce spread on the meat, while cookout would be something like hamburgers and hot dogs which I guess you would call sausages. Most of the time here sausages are more of the thick bratwurst or Polish style.