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Barbecue summer

By Tom Chatfield   October 2009

The phrase “odds on for a barbecue summer,” so confidently pronounced by the Met Office this April, has since joined Michael Fish’s “hurricane” forecast in the annals of erroneous British weather predictions. With autumn upon us, Britain can now look back with masochistic pride upon another year of interminable drizzle and sudden deluges. Why, though, does the notion of outdoor cooking exert such a totemic fascination? Both the word and the practice arrived via the Spanish in the 17th century, deriving from the native Caribbean practice of barbacoa—cooking outdoors on a wood frame. It took a while to catch on…

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