Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Perfect Barbecue Picnic

Here at River Cottage, I’m always looking for new ways to ingratiate myself with the locals. I’ve brewed my own Scrumpy, grown my own cannabis, sheared my neighbour’s sheep and even impregnated his wife due to his Scrumpy and cannabis problem.

This weekend, I’ve invited everyone over to the farm for a picnic and a barbecue, so I need to think about making lots of tasty treats for them to get their teeth into. I’ll think about it, but I’ll probably make lots of disappointing and weird things using ridiculous ingredients instead.

Barbecues don’t have to be all about burgers and steaks. So I’ll be harvesting crops from the garden, making drinks that look suspiciously like urine samples, and foraging for free food, such as seaweed, mushrooms and animals that have been humanely killed, by me in my Land Rover on these beautiful Devon roads.
I can’t wait to see the look of joy on the kids’ faces when, instead of a boring juicy burger, I give them some charred asparagus wrapped in dried grass.

close up of teenage girl
Photo by Pixabay on

Unfortunately, Old Ted from the Legion passed away last week, but in the true spirit of inclusion, he’ll still be here, because I’ll be using his remains to fuel the huge barbecue we’ve built from an old pig shelter, turned upside-down. His wife agreed that it was the best idea, cheaper than a funeral, and because he was 72% whiskey, he’ll burn really well.

I’ve made bread rolls using a traditional recipe from 1390 when wheat flour was hard to come by. Instead, I’ve ground up some cork and cow dung with charcoal, and got three local milkmaids to pee in it. This wasn’t in the original recipe, I just liked watching them do it. This was then cooked in an underground fire-pit. It tastes jolly foul, but it’s traditional, and that’s what they’re jolly well getting.

At least four of the guests can play an instrument, so we’ll definitely finish with a barn dance as the credits roll and everyone pretends they’re having a ripping time, despite going partially blind from my home-brewed Brussels Sprout vodka.


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