The Friday group, minus the lawyer and the doctor came round last night, bedishdashad and headdressed. “Does my bum look big in this?”, someone said. I didn’t join in the fancy dress, since I was top barbecue banana and wearing inflammable polyester so close to naked flame is not recommended. I actually dislike barbecuing, which makes me a total cissy and a wuss, since I have an aversion to getting my hands dirty, either with sootblack from unburnt charcoal or animal fat from the meat. “Wait, cissy,” I hear the catcalls and jeers. “Try using tongs”. Fine. Of course. Random splashings have ruined many a monogrammed T shirt. Furthermore, the thermodynamics of naked flame cookery is another name for chaos theory. Self-evidently, the primary method of heat transfer is radiative, intensity decreasing as square of distance and for an infinitely large, uniform heat source, this may very well be true. Charcoal surfaces are far from uniform however, and meat less than perfectly shaped. Cooking in the dark is an experience not to be missed, since with twenty pieces of meat, like painting the Forth Bridge, turning must be continuous from left to right, say, and it’s easy to miss one, only discovered when a guest snaps a molar on desiccated charcoal, and the dripping blood is from the unturned side of meat. Raising the meat’s internal temperature way past “well-done” to break down the tough connective tissues into silky, flavourful gelatin becomes therefore as skilled an exercise as painting a miniature. Protein denaturing takes time, and it must be done without overheating any part of the meat and requires low temperatures and no hot spots – impossible when using a furnace fanned by desert winds. I was relieved when people didn’t complain, meekly masticating instead. Dessert was a delight, therefore, in the shape of a scooped out watermelon filled with fruit, including pomegranate which is supposed to be beneficial for the prostate – further relief indeed in more ways than one – so delicious I had to be restrained from using my hands to scoop it out and to hell with sticky fingers and ruined T shirts. The concatenation of pomegranates and sex in the image I thought was really quite tasteful. OK, I’ll stick with bananas next time.