While everybody in the world can probably claim braaing as their heritage (how do you think our ancestors prepared food before electricity, hello?!), South African braais are something special.
Every family will have its own traditions, recipes and tricks. And every family will have its own braai master. While you might think that this is a straightforward task, it is not so simple. Not all braai masters are created equal. For some, it flows through their blood and has probably been passed on through the family’s DNA. Being a chosen braai master comes with serious challenges.
- When you’re a braai master at another braai master’s braai
For the ardent braai master, there is nothing more difficult than having to sit idly at somebody else’s braai. This frustration becomes so much worse when your host braai master is crap at his (or her) job and you, the expert braai master, has to abide by the code of not interfering with another man or woman’s braai. It’s agony.
- Deciding on the sequence of meat on a small grid
Most braai masters can braai in sequence on their own grids with their eyes closed. However, if you are the most renowned braai master amongst your mates, chances are you’ll be appointed to the role wherever you go. This means you’ll often have to cope with changing and challenging circumstances. Many times, the grid you are given will be small.
- When somebody tries to give you advice
Veteran braai spectators know to keep quiet and not interfere. Guests from foreign lands aren’t always familiar with this etiquette. Staying polite is the hardest thing.
- When somebody asks: “Can I just…”
Can you not?
- When you have braai master in your blood and you are in a relationship with a British person
Nothing will test a relationship more than having braai master blood and being in love with a British person. At the drop of a hat or the merest speck of sunshine (even if the temperature is below 20 degrees), the Brits will get their kit off and bask in the sunshine. They will, however, not see any occasion fit for a braai and many insist on “waiting until the weather is nice”. They do not believe in setting up the baby skottel under the afdak while it’s pissing down with rain and they are reluctant to light the fire without having meticulously planned everything.
- “I’m a vegetarian”
It’s okay, I’ll braai you a mielie.
- When you’re a guest at a braai where somebody is using gas
Gas is the Afrikaans word for guest. That is the only situation in which the word should be use in the same sentence as “braai”.