Sunday, July 02, 2006

The Dreaded Disposable Grill

Barbecuing is a popular Norwegian summer activity, nay obsession. As soon as the sun shows itself everyone in Norway charges out to buy a disposable grill (engangsgrill), some meat, sausages or fish at a supermarket and go to a park or one of Oslo's many delightful islands.

The downside of this activity is the air is pervaded by the stench of smoldering cardboard and paraffin which wafts along on the summer breeze. It is bad enough suffering the pong when you are out and about but it is utterly sick making if you have your window open to relieve the particularly stifling heat that we are currently enjoying. This weekend there has been no escape.

You wouldn't mind if these phonebook size aluminium foil contraptions did a good job. We tried them on one of our first trips to Oslo. The results were sad to say the least. Even if you follow the principles of good barbecuing and leave the charcoal to heat up for about 30 - 40 mins, the food still tastes of paraffin. That's assuming the food is cooked before the thing goes out altogether. Most Norwegians seem to stick a match in and chuck the bangers on straight away....ugh! Mind you most of them are cooking frankfurters so you would hardly notice the taste of paraffin and burnt paper. You do however see the odd food poisoning addict trying to cook chicken! Another downside is the multitude of little brown patches all over the Parks, where the grass has been scorched to death. It looks like a bitch on heat has been piddling everywhere!

In the popular picnic areas there are special bins for the disposal of these lethal devices. Despite this it is not unusual to find the distorted and charred remains of plastic litter bins all over the place. The other danger associated with this anti-social device is the ingenious and lethal wire frame provided to raise them off the ground (to stop you burning the grass) they are often left lying around in the grass waiting for the unwary to step into one and go base over apex! As I discovered to my cost on one occasion sh........t!!!

Allegedly Norwegians of a certain age, even wear a "barbecue suit" while performing this activity. A barbecue suit being a colourful tracksuit that is very comfortable and does not tighten when you bend down to check on the sausages. Married couples tend to choose matching tracksuits. I have to confess I have not noticed this strange behaviour myself but I shall keep my eyes peeled.

Lets hope the "engangsgrill" never catches on in the UK.

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