In retrospect, I was quite fortunate Miss Wright accepted my humble hand in marriage.
At the time I met her I was gleefully stumbling along through the valley of the shadow of death, fearing – with the outside exception of wedlock – no evil.
Genghis Khan himself would have been proud of me, even though he was shorter and smelled worse.
It seemed, however, there was a veritable plethora of subjects on which, at that time, I was woefully uninformed.
Upon cohabitating with my one true love, my driving, grocery-shopping, laundry, bill-paying, too-much-beer-after-playing-hockey and general personal hygiene came under intense scrutiny for the first time in my life.
This scrutiny uncovered some of my rather obvious and dramatic shortcomings. Apparently the sole domestic ability I possessed at the time was the ability to warm up meat. Yet I found the fact that Miss Wright had been a vegetarian for five years much less intimidating than the upcoming nuptials.
“It doesn’t have to be meat, Sweetheart,” I told her optimistically. “I could just grill up some … FRUIT!”
Before you know it, you are making dried flower arrangements for a dining-room table centrepiece and watching “Dancing with the Stars”.
So let’s barbecue some fruit, starting with pineapple.
First, mix together ten parts brown sugar and one part cinnamon to cover both sides of cored and peeled pineapple slices, 1/2 to 3/4 inches thick.
Next, melt enough butter to baste the pineapple while it is on the grill, cooking one or two minutes per side at medium high.
After removing from the grill, put it in the brown sugar/cinnamon mix right away, covering both sides.
Immediately heap on some ice cream while the pineapple is still warm – vanilla works well – and serve to the drooling recipients.
Have I mentioned that Miss Wright’s first name is Always?
Before serving the aforementioned pineapple surprise, try hitting your guests with a little grilled chicken first. Or a lot of grilled chicken.
(See photo, and do not actually hit your guests with the chicken, frozen or otherwise. This may lead to an outrageous, although highly entertaining, lawsuit.)
To make an easy barbecued chicken dinner, all you need is four boneless chicken breasts, eight thinly sliced plum tomatoes, four or five chopped green onions, and a half cup of basil pesto.
Take four large pieces of foil with butter or non-stick cooking spray and loosely wrap chicken, covered with pesto and vegetables.
If you grill over medium heat for 20 to 25 minutes you should have dinner ready with little clean-up – just throw out the foil.
In Tonga it is the roosters, not the chickens that should be cooked. Growing up in the city I was lead to believe that roosters crowed at daybreak. The roosters in Tonga do not know this and will let ‘er rip at all times during the night and day.
This, combined with 475 percent humidity and night-time temperatures reaching 175 degrees, makes sleeping quite difficult for someone used to northern climates.
The flying cockroaches are another thing altogether. Some of these blighters are the size of crossbills and have a habit of shocking the bejeepers out of a comatose Canadian shuffling to the bathroom during the middle of the night when sleeping is almost impossible.
A male cockroach can still mate after its head has been removed. The only difficulty it then encounters is locating the female, as the eyes are/were attached to the head.
Do not ask how I know this, and under no circumstance should you attempt to barbecue one.
It would just fall through the grill.