I have always been interested in food, I was age 10 when interest in food turned into action. My best friend Mike and I decided that we should BBQ. Our knowledge was a little scant, but we figured out that all you really needed was a fire and some stuff to cook. A little more research indicated that for perfect results it was best to put the food on some sort of grate device rather than directly in the fire. Using the cunning and guile that only a pair of 10 year olds could possess, the plan moved forward.


Mike was firmly convinced that his mother would not miss a Cake Cooling rack, this would be the perfect grill, and it wasn’t as if we were stealing it, we were just going to borrow it, we would return it and no harm done.

She would never realize we had even looked at it, never mind re-purposed it.

My parents ran a busy English Pub and Bed and Breakfast operation. My job was to purloin the food. Mike and I talked a great deal about what scrumptious meal to make. After many hours we decided that it would be best to start simple. Neither of us were comfortable about boosting a large Prime Rib roast, out of our families refrigerator’s. We wanted to become master chefs, not 10 year olds grounded until we were eligible for SSI.

We discussed the idea about hunting a Deer. It sounded good, but there were a few issues, although we had hearty appetites we were not sure that we could eat the whole animal. There was also the issue about the size of the cake cooling rack that we were borrowing. A whole deer would not fit.

It was possible that we could hack the animal in to smaller pieces, this concept had some legs. I had watched my father use some very big knives. Mike and I on the other hand only had two small pocket knifes. Even at the tender age of 10 the idea of borrowing one of my fathers long knives seemed fraught with potential problems. I knew that he used them daily. Borrowing a big knife would be spotted.

Mike and I thought about the problem long and hard. Our most recent plan had gone awry. And we did not want a repeat. Our plan from a couple of months ago had not worked out quite as well as we had planned.

Illicit booze was the way to go. Apples were in season, so Mike and I helped a local fruit tree farmer by saving him the problem of harvesting a few pounds of them.  Of course you have to have to be able to put the stuff in something, so I ‘borrowed’ a few two liter Cider bottles with screw tops from my parents. Somewhere along the way we had acquired a large aluminum tub, we mashed the apples with heavy objects. Added some ‘borrowed’ sugar from our parents kitchens, and we were all set. Obviously we could not take the bottles home and let them ‘mature’ in our bedrooms. Outwitting adults is child’s play! We put our stash in a disused Pig enclosure. It was good that the farmer had opted to abandon this facility! Two weeks later we returned to check on our illicit hooch and things were not going well.

Neither Mike nor I had been in the army, but we had seen TV programs about bombs exploding. About every two minutes, a large bomb was exploding in the Pig Sty. 10 year olds may be crazy, but even we saw the potential problems of venturing into the most dangerous place on earth.

So, we were back to what to cook on our breakthrough and revolutionary BBQ. We decided that breakfast would be the way to go. Bacon, Eggs and Toast!

It was easy to acquire the food, I just waited until my parents were busy in the bar and grabbed the needed items.

We had done considerable thinking of the ideal location to hold this feast and our final location was in a remote part of the land that parents owned. This was a good choice. We found some bricks to make our BBQ, and before you can say Bacon and Eggs we had gathered up some dry kindling and larger pieces of wood.

There was only one minor issue. Neither of us had brought any way to light the darn thing.

I hiked back to the Pub, I’d find a box of matches. It goes without saying that I was Busted! “Simon, where are you going with those matches” my mother asked.

I was cornered, neither Mike nor I had talked about a contingency plan. With no options available I had to tell the truth. To do otherwise would jeopardize my next plan of building a Batmobile and a ramp from my bedroom to the parking lot below. I could just tumble out of bed, but on my Batsuit, leap in the Batmobile and be in the parking lot within seconds! I was set to save the world!

My mother listened to my tale of woe over the BBQ and suggested that Mike and I move it into a safer location where she could keep an eye on us, and gave me the box of matches.

Now under adult supervision the pressure was on! It took no time to get the fire going. Not sure exactly how much fire might be needed for Bacon, Eggs and toast we made sure that it was good and hot.

We turned our attention to the food, where should we start?

After some discussion we opted for the toast, toast is easy, if we can do toast, we can do anything. On went the toast. We watched in wonderment as the bread turned black and caught fire. We just put it down to bad luck, and it wasn’t important, we had forgotten the butter and jam to put on it anyway!

Next we decided to try fried eggs. It did not take us long to figure out that we had forgotten a key component, a pan. Breaking an egg over Mike’s mothers (now slightly used cake cooling rack, might not work.

Of course 10 year olds have a solution. We don’t need no pan, we will fry them in their shell.

It all went well for a couple of minutes, but I have to admit that that first KABOOM was a little disconcerting. It might be the reason why microwave manufactures do not recommend cooking eggs in the shell. Mike and I were experts on explosions because of our prior cider making adventure and took cover in the ‘Fox Hole’ that we had dug a couple of weeks earlier, if the atom bomb was coming, we were ready.

After the last shell had exploded, we regrouped. The toast had not worked out quite as well as we had hoped. And the eggs, while fun had proved to aptly named as being in shells, but our spirit was not broken. We still had the bacon. Who needs Toast and Eggs if you have Bacon?

By this time the 3 foot high flames had receded to about one foot. We were a little concerned that this might not be quite enough to cook on, but we were hungry.

On went the bacon.

It did not take us long to get a quick lesson in the laws of thermodynamics as they relate to naked flames and fat.

Mike and I decided to take the high road, we went inside and asked my mother “whats for lunch”?

PS, Mike caught a lot of trouble over the cake cooling rack. I am guessing that it just wasn’t designed for the explosions and high temperature tests we put it through.

Simon Barrett

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