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“Well Done” For Surviving The Barbecue

, , , , | Related | January 17, 2019

When I was young, we always had family get-togethers at our house, which at the time I was told was because we had the biggest house and yard. While that was true, others had houses that were at least big enough to accommodate everyone. It wasn’t until I was around twelve that I found out the real reason: of all the “local” family members we were the only ones that apparently knew HOW to host a party. My grandmother wasn’t physically up to it, which was understandable; my one maternal aunt and uncle lived in a small apartment; and the in-laws were always so busy they’d only ever want to just order catering when the rest of us preferred home-cooked.

Then there was my OTHER maternal aunt, who whenever (for instance) we were grilling, would always insist on getting her burgers “well done.” Come to find out her idea of “well done” was what the rest of us called “complete charcoal.” The fateful day was when she and my uncle got a new grill and invited just us over to help test it out, which I was all for but my parents, not so much. We get there, and they already have the grill going and all the burger on it. No hot dogs, no chicken, no veggies, no anything else, JUST hamburgers. Okay, I think to myself, it’s a new grill so they’re playing it safe.

Then I tried to remind my uncle, who was doing the cooking, that I liked my burgers cooked rare. “No.” Yeah… So, not only did they like to completely overcook their food, they wouldn’t NOT overcook anyone else’s, even on request! The buns they got were ultra-cheap and had the texture of packing peanuts, and they wouldn’t even allow us proper CONDIMENTS, just a small dollop of ketchup in the middle of the bun and that’s it. Because that’s how they liked it, so that’s how everyone was going to eat it.

They never understood why none of us looked as thrilled with the dried out, burnt, flavorless meat-pucks as they did. They also didn’t get why we never went back to a cook-out at their place, or let my uncle anywhere near the grill at ours.