Our altar of fiery failure

FEEL THE BURN: Whether it's assembling one or cooking on one, we have a love/hate relationship with the great Australian barbecue.

FEEL THE BURN: Whether it's assembling one or cooking on one, we have a love/hate relationship with the great Australian barbecue.

November 3: We started with t-Rex, tea with no sugar and light of heart.

He finished with Tom Waits, tea with four sugars and buggered knees.

Putting together a new barbecue was our ‘couple’ task for a rare day off together.

We’ve enjoyed a two-barbecue marriage. That is, two in 25 years.

The first was (so far) the absolute best, a Ferrari red Eurolec, followed by a less than inspiring baby Weber.

Now, it’s the turn of the Everdure, 70s orange, ‘Furnace’

What optimism we shared as we lifted the monster box from the car.

Five hours later, I put the steaks back in the fridge and thought about reheating some leftover fried rice.

Apparently we were up to step seven, the fat tray, when I popped upstairs to start writing notes for this column. Note my self-interest opportunism. Bad girl!

“Into the dog leg…” he huffed and puffed “push the flat end into the side …. It doesn’t make any bloody sense. F…!

Then he started singing along with Mahalia Jackson … ‘let it shine on me’.

I figured he was close to giving up, or the shiny ‘Furnace’ had sent him to a higher place.

Had he been spontaneously cremated and landed in bloke heaven? That is, a secret place where men swear about their wives, eat hot chips with too much salt and drink Belgium beer; a place where the words “have you read the instructions” are never uttered.

At 6.20, snow down to 500m, I delivered him a tomato sandwich and sent a photo to the kids of their dad kneeling at the Furnace, as though in prayer.

Captioned: “and, Richard said to God, ‘bugger the fat tray”.

By which time, even the poodles were asleep.

During a moment of mid-life introspection, I wondered how we would manage in another ten years, aged 69 and 76? What would be our ‘last’ barbecue and how the hell would we put it together?

On another matter ...

What if more women were tradies and why haven’t we, women, broken through the glass window and into the trades?

We spend a lot of time marketing science and maths to attract more young women, but I don’t see similar campaigns to get women into the lucrative, flexible, traditional trades.

While women still outnumber men in the hospitality and nursing professions, the same cannot be said for carpentry, plumbing, electrical and motor mechanics.

They’re there, but rare.

Imagine a world of trades dominated by women who would understand why it’s important to be on time and who listened to your concerns?

I picture a legion of Amazonian tradies in utes, not unlike those in the most recent Wonder Woman film?

That is women who answer their mobile phones and who take their shoes off at your front door.

Women who are highly-skilled and proud of their work and empathise when you drop you bundle mid-renovation?

Hats off to the many tradies of any gender who are clever, tidy and polite.

Yet another matter ...

…riposare in pace...

I loved Antonio Carluccio and everything he stood for.

The Italian/London chef died this week aged 80.

He was an unpretentious, garrulous and intuitive cook.

He was full of the love of life the complete opposite to hipster-wanky-foodie-hype of the vast majority of ‘media’ chefs.

Together with his skinny partner in food Gennardo Contalto, Antonio made me want to live and cook with joy and gusto.

Vale Antonio.