There's nothing more enticing than the smell of a nearby braai to get you wishing you had thought of that for dinner. Especially on a warm summer's evening.
Braais make summer an irresistible pleasure for South Africans from every culture and creed. Ever stepped back and watched the dynamics at a braai? They're always the same. It's role-play out in the open. We all fall into it whether you eat boerewors or carrots.
From the lighting of the fire, the turning of the meat and the making of the coleslaw salad, it's a delicate dance of social etiquette and we all join in. What role do you play?
Fire starter To begin with, let's look at the fire starter. This can get technical, so watch out. Fire starters tend to lean toward pyromania - they are fascinated with fire and are always looking for the perfect methods. And experimenting with them too, I might add. Certain fire starter have been known to use a dab of petrol as a firelighter in absence of good firelighter bricks. It's hazardous and only ever happens once!
If you have a deranged fire starter in your family, I suggest you send them out into the yard on their own to start the fire. Even if it is considered a little rude in your circle to start the fire before the guests arrive. It's safer for all.
The alpha braaier is dominant in a number of ways and gets real tetchy if you mess with the meat. So be careful to identify and then butter up this guy if you want anything specific done. That, or pray that he actually knows what's potting. This cannot always be assumed. Also, don't ever assume that just because you're having the braai at your place that you're the Alpha braaier. If you're having trouble trying to get near your fire, just step back and watch carefully. You'll soon recognise the culprit whose assumed Alpha-ship.
There's only one way to usurp such a fellow. And that's arm wrestling. A little tricky if you don't want to cause a scene.
Now here's a tough role. This guy is walking a fine line between interfering with the Alpha braaier's master piece (the meat) and not doing a good enough job (in the Alpha braaier's opinion). What to do? The Assistant braaier must at all times be at the ready for orders from the Alpha. No task should be too small and never, ever attempt to question their superiority or else your braai tongs will be revoked. Occasionally, you might be asked to turn a piece of meat over on the braai but generally, you'll be fetching beers and containers to hold meat.
Kitchen dwellers and Self-Designated Taster
Think hens in a hen coop but imagine a pigeon sitting amongst them. Yep, you've got the group of ladies keeping each other company and the guy who likes to soak in the lady-attention. You'll find him advising the ladies on their dress sense while he helps to prepare the salads.
He also doubles up as the Self-designated Taster and will occasionally sidle up to the braai on the pretence that he's interested in the Alpha braaier's conversation. In actual fact, he's just waiting for a chance to pick off a piece of that juicy wors that's sizzling merrily over the coals.