Saturday, 4 September 2010


Today we have been asked to a BBQ birthday celebration. This is also the weekend that Brazil celebrates its independence from Portugal (7th September). The venue is not quite up in the far interior of Brazil but it is about twelve miles away and still within the same municipal district which makes one reflect on just how much space there is in this country. Greater London covers about the same amount of ground as the Sleepy Hollow but the normal population here is 60,000 people (swelling to 250,000 during holiday periods), whereas the population of Greater London is about 7.5 million.

A Brazilian BBQ is quite a different affair from the British version. The British version entails buying one of those little BBQ trolleys from Homebase DIY store on a Sunday afternoon, grilling mountains of big steaks, sausages etc. for six people, so that it all arrives to be piled up on each plate at the same time, washing all this down (plus trifle and cream) with pilsner beer, getting mild sunstroke and waking up with a headache.

The Brazilian version is quite different. For a start, no real BBQ worth its name (actually churrasco) takes place other than in its own large space, often a covered area with grill and chimney, plus a minimum of twenty guests. The food comes at you slice by slice: everything from steak to chops, sausages, maybe fish and then grilled pineapple. There may be a token salad but it is more for decoration than anything else. This is all washed down with weak beer and everyone has the good sense to sit out of the sun. The invitation might be for 2pm. This means that it will start at about 6pm and go on, to the beat of increasingly loud music, and thoroughly good humour, until 3 am.

Anyway, this BBQ is the reason that I am not going to find the time today to cry 'Shame!' that Tony Blair was pelted with eggs and shoes in Ireland yesterday...

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