Vivez Bien * Live Well

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Dying to Braai

This week will see the start of Spring and in South Africa we all know what that means….time to braai again. For non-South Africans – a braai is basically a barbeque, but the food tastes better, because if there is one thing a South African can do well, it’s a braai!

To get you out there sweeping your stoep and dusting off your braai gear, I thought I should show you some inspiring outdoor braaing and dining areas. 

You might have read the book, “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” where the premise is that men are the hunters and women are the gatherers. This notion could not be more perfectly illustrated than at a typical South African braai.

The women are generally responsible for …. planning the menu, doing the shopping for the food, marinating the meat, baking the potatoes, making about 3 different salads, setting the table, filling an ice bucket, laying out drinks and glasses, inbetween making countless trips to the man at the fire as he requests braai tongs, or a torch, or some basting sauce, or some water to sprinkle on the lamb chop that caught alight.

The man is responsible for making the fire, watching said fire while drinking beer and chatting to his mates. Putting the meat on the fire, watching the meat while drinking beer and chatting to his mates, turning the meat, watching the other side of the meat while drinking beer and chatting to his mates,  shouting to the woman to bring a dish to put the meat into as he could not possibly take his eyes off the meat to make a trip to the kitchen (he is the hunter, the meat is his prey), taking the meat off the fire, eating the food while drinking beer and chatting to his mates, gracefully accepting all the accolades that he gets for the wonderful meal and all his hard work, and then finally, when everyone has left, going for a nap on the couch because he is exhausted from all the cooking so could the woman perhaps work quietly as she cleans the house and washes the dishes.

As you can see, his list is much longer than hers so he must be the one doing all the work. 

Lucky for me, I am married to a British born South African who is very helpful with the prep and cleaning, but can still braai a great chop!

I would be more accepting of the South African man's attitude to their meat if they actually were the ones going out and hunting it themselves. Much of the time, the meat comes from Pick 'n Pay and does not require any stealth, stamina or cunning in obtaining it. Although, Constantia Village Pick 'n Pay on a Saturday morning may require some of those skills after all!

 But we love our men and they do produce some good food, so we will continue to slave away in the background but, subversively, we will teach our sons to make a salad and wash the dishes and a new regime might exist in the next generation. 

And perhaps standing in front of a hot fire is best left to the men anyway as melted mascara is not really a great look on a woman. 

So to all my fellow South Africans, happy braaing and to my readers across the seas, if you come to Cape Town, you're always welcome for a braai! 

This is where we will be hanging out....

Finally, the Vital Protection Competition is now closed. Thanks to all who entered. A winner was drawn using a very high tech system involving a boy and a hat. Congratulations to Debbie de Villiers! Vital Protection will be in touch regarding delivery. 

Till next time

Sharon x


  1. Hello Sharon, The same ritual goes on around our house. Guests talk about Mr G's legendary cookouts but never mention the woman who makes it all happen. Wonderful post. I am so jealous because you mentioned Spring. We are already in late summer/early fall.

  2. Our season of backyard barbecuing is winding down, but I do love the fun we always have when we prepare food on the "braai". :-) I was laughing at the accuracy with which you describe the intricacies of the challenge for men in working so hard to put the meat on the table! Hahaha.
    Wonderful outdoor rooms.

  3. LOL Sharon- I read this hilarious post more than once. Your style of humour just cracks me UP!

    I learned a lot = and your winning-picking boy is as handsome as they get. What a cutie.

    GREAT outdoor space - I am happily jealous of it, in the very best way possible.

    Have a wonderful springtime, and happy braaai-ing! : - )

  4. So funny, thanks for sharing your life and story!

  5. Lovely post. I read it aloud to the family Braai chef! Typical, I think in most SA homes. Thanks for the smile.

  6. The South African Brai sounds remarkably similar to our bbq. Hilarious!