Kahoodol Barbecue Defined

Wikipedia says that “Barbecue is both a cooking method and an apparatus. The generally accepted differences between barbecuing and grilling are cooking durations and the types of heat used. Grilling is generally done quickly over moderate-to-high direct heat that produces little smoke, while
barbecuing is done slowly over low, indirect heat and the food is flavored by the smoking process.” I guess if you are American then this would be a definition that you would certainly recognise. In the UK “Barbecue” is grilling over coal and “Smoking” would be a more used description for the slow cooking over a low heat and the flavoring of the food by the smoke.

 So what is going to be the “Kahoodol” take on “Barbecue”, “Smoking”, “Grilling” etc.

Kahoodol is a philosophy to promote irregular, usually or “Out of the Box” ideas to simplify or open up new ways and a lot of my writing is about the simplifying life to alleviate stress and to enjoy the world around in a far less material way. A lot of my living ideas are very complementary to the general idea of “Barbecue”. So “Kahoodol Barbecue” is designed to extend the New Living philosophy by promoting taking time over the process of cooking and the communal nature of a “Barbecue” to promote wellness, wellbeing and new more relaxed way.

 To Kahoodol is to act with or operating in small groups to instigate surprise or positive, unexpected outcomes. To “Kahoodol Barbecue” is to work with others to produce great food, in a relaxed, collaborative manner. I think that “Kahoodol Barbecue” is most closely epitomized by the Southern African Braai culture.

 Wikipedia again says “The word braaivleis is Afrikaans for grilled meat. The word braai (plural braais) is Afrikaans for barbecue or grill and is a social custom across southern Africa. The word has been adopted by English-speaking South Africans and can be regarded as another word for barbecue, in that it serves as a verb when describing how food is cooked and a noun when describing the cooking equipment, such as a grill.

Similar to a potluck party, braais are casual and relaxed social events where families and friends converge on a picnic spot or someone’s home (normally the garden or veranda) with their own meat, salad, or side dish in hand. Meats are the mainstay of the South African braai. They typically include boerewors (sausage), sosaties (lamb kebabs), other kebabs, marinated chicken, pork and lamb chops, steaks, sausages of different flavors and thickness, and possibly even racks of spareribs. Fish and Rock Lobster, commonly called kreef in Afrikaans, are also popular in coastal areas.”

The social element bound up in the process is the true Kahoodol spirit of the braai culture that I like so much. I was reading a blog on Expatsblog.com and came across this great piece which explained why a South African Braai Trumps an American Barbecue by Nicole. I though how well it explained why Braai is Kahoodol. I have précised the piece below slightly to align more closely with my thoughts.

1. A braai is acceptable for ANY occasion: Birthday braai, Christmas braai, going away braai, welcome home braai, a Wednesday night just to get a few friends together braai, a graduation braai, housewarming braai, these are all perfectly acceptable times to have a braai. A braai, unlike a barbecue, is an any and every day celebration of life.

2. It’s a process: A braai revolves around the fire, and the food. The food is cooked on Braai, which is basically a grill but you won’t find gas on this grill. In fact, better not mention the word gas or you will get looked at like you just passed some! A major difference between the two types of cooking is that South African’s use wood or briquettes (charcoal) when they braai. This means it takes significantly longer to get a fire going and cook the food, but that’s the point. A braai is all about the experience, the company and the quality of the food. It’s something to be savoured, and in this time of convenience and hurriedness, I think that’s something we can all appreciate.

3. It brings people together: A braai is the perfect excuse to get friends and family, young and old together.

4. How life should be lived: When you are sitting outside, enjoying the great outdoors, a cold drink in hand, warm glow of the fire nearby and good company surrounding you, it’s impossible not to get the feeling that this is how life is meant to be lived.

Before we move to much further this is not going to be a blog full of 47 recipes for the perfect rib sauce. Not really sure how there can be 47 perfect rib sauces but some sites seem to think that there are. Yes, there may be reference to a particular meal or a recipe now are then but that is not the point; the point is to provide you with the skills and ideas to take the “Kahoodol Barbecue” philosophy and to use it within your own context and with your own friends and neighbours. There may be some techniques and cooking times included later (we do not what to kill anyone or ruin an event for the want of some simple rule and guidance but the philosophy is the true reason for the blog.

I found a good WordPress article by “The Excitable Educator Outdoors” which talked about how fire brings people together. The article said that” Fire has an interesting magical way in which it draws people in a community closer together. In one way or another, people have an urge to start talking to people that they don’t often talk to, they break out in song, or start to story-tell with added impressionable atmosphere as they muse.

However, there must be some form of reasoning that people instinctively want to be together, scientifically we are and have always been fascinated by fire, even from the start of the human evolution with homo-erectus (who created the first fire) we found the beauty in this necessity. These people were similar to you and I, however they did not have any of the luxuries that we experience today, their luxury would be to have a good hunt, which could feed their family and stay alive and safe in a harsh terrain. This is where the community side brings people together. When all you have is each other, in the darkness of a cave, the light from a fire would be an elation, it would enable these people to communicate with each other, share how their days have been and most importantly ward away any unwanted beings.” I think that many of these feature have been lost in our fast paced, commercial lives.

The article continued to say “The science behind how important these emotions are to people, comradery is triggered when people come across difficult times, however they also occur when there is an open environment for friendship to blossom, to learn more things about each other and focus on interests of another being, thus bringing a community closer.” Bringing communities together is the “Kahoodol” way. The creating of fire, the control and management of fire, the output of the fire (good food) are always to galvanise a group. No phones needed here! So there is something about the power of a fire, the time and effort taken to control the heat, to produce great food that highlights the Kahoodol philosophy.

I found another weblog called “Break the Twitch” when I was searching for articles on the difference between “Simple” and “Convenient”.

My view is that simplicity comes from truly understanding how everything in your life comes together and that you have the capacity to influence most if not all of the processes. Convenience is the delegation or abdication of this knowledge to some third party. “Use it of loose it” and to many people are losing it. “Break the Twitch” is written by Anthony Ongaro from the USA. He says “I’m here to help you do more of what’s important to you through minimalism, habits, and creativity. The Twitch: It’s an impulsive, unproductive response to discomfort.

Anthony says in one post that “If time is our most valuable asset, increasing our available time by outsourcing food delivery, personal transportation and other areas of life could be considered a good investment, right? If we earn a certain amount of money per hour, anything that would give us time back at a lower hourly rate in theory is a net gain.

The problem with convenience is that it is the ultimate enabler of the twitch. Many of these solutions are enabling us to live without being present and without being active in our decision-making. As apps, products, and services emerge to make our lives easier, they simultaneously aim to cut friction from the process of removing money from our bank accounts.  Of course, it’s silly to think that avoiding all convenience is a bad thing. In fact, minimalism itself creates an incredible amount of convenience in our daily lives. By reducing our possessions and distractions, we simplify the process of maintaining our homes while living more intentionally. By streamlining our wardrobes, we create added convenience. By wearing the same outfit every day, we lessen the friction of getting ready every morning, figuring out what to wear, and feeling put together and coordinated. There is great satisfaction that comes from having that process nearly automated. 

The key is to focus on increasing friction in the consumption and health-based areas of our lives. Learning to design our lives around this distinction allows us to build increasingly positive odds of success directly into our daily activities.” The article goes onto talk about being less reliant on the convenient things. I thought that this was a perfect accompaniment to the start of this Barbecue blog. In these days why would you ever do a barbecue when you can go online and order supermarket ready meals for delivery to your home, insert them into your microwave and “ping” presto a convenient meal for all of your friends or ever more convenient order a takeaway and even cut of the microwave.

But that is not the point a Barbecue or Braai is not about supplying easy, convenient food it is building casual and relaxed social events where families and friends congregate, have an urge to start talking to people that they don’t often talk to, break out in song, or start to story-tell. Oh and there is great homemade food to finish off the fun.

Living Intentionally: Kahoodol in action.

 Living a simple life certainly requires intentionality. In a world that is hectic, busy, and hurried, simplicity is not. In a culture that encourages selfishness and excess, minimalism does not. Do we feel a pattern emerging now?

 To live an intentional life is also Kahoodol. Kahoodol Barbecue is a very intentional act. Time is required to plan and participate in a Kahoodol Barbecue, slowly moving through the process towards the final conclusion. To be intentional we need to lay some basic foundations.

 Realize that your life is made up of choices. You need to choose the Kahoodol way rather than putting a ready meal into the microwave. Every morning is a new day full of decisions and opportunity. You get to pick your attitude and your decisions. You don’t have to let the circumstances of your past negatively determine the pattern of your life in the future. You have a choice in the matter. You do not need to be stuck in the same pattern of living that you have been for years… realize that every morning is a new opportunity.

  • Evaluate the culture that you’re swimming in. Life is not lived in a vacuum. It is lived surrounded by a culture that is moving somewhere. This culture around us forms a swift downstream current. Living an intentional life (a Kahoodol Life) will require you to take a step back and evaluate the flow of the stream to determine where it is headed, how it is affecting you, and if it is taking you in a direction you desire.
  • Get a strong handle on your passions, talents, abilities, and weaknesses. Give precious time and energy to this endeavor. It is one of the most valuable things you can do.
  • Decide to live your life. Stop comparing yourself to others. You were not born to live their life. There is no sense wasting yours being jealous of theirs. Instead, you were born to live your life – determine today to be good at it. After all, you only get one shot.
  • Define a purpose. Identify what you want your life to communicate and contribute. Find a passion to live for that is bigger than yourself. It will bring new meaning to your life. It will wake you from the slow death of only living for yourself.
 The worst thing you could ever waste is your life. Instead, commit yourself to live intentionally and on purpose.