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Fireside chat

‘There’s no such thing as bad weather; only unsuitable clothing.’ Take your pick as to who originally turned this phrase. Some claim it was first coined by Alfred Wainwight, fellwalker, guidebook author and cartographer.

 Rupert Bates   Winter 2020

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‘There’s no such thing as bad weather; only unsuitable clothing.’

Take your pick as to who originally turned this phrase. Some claim it was first coined by Alfred Wainwight,  fellwalker, guidebook author and cartographer.

Others attribute it to the explorer Ranulph Fiennes. Weber grill master Dan Cooper says it is a phrase Nordic nations, in particular, live by.

I like to thing any barbecuer worth his or her salt, sea or otherwise, lives by it. Or certainly should do, and naturally this magazine is going to promote year-round cooking outside.

Covid-19 has destroyed lives and livelihoods. Lockdowns and restrictions ebb and flow according to weight of scientific data, real or imagined, while political posturing of every hue largely serves only to confuse and divide.

But what is undeniable is that the pandemic has forced many to reimagine their outdoor space and with it al fresco cooking. And just because we are heading into winter, doesn’t mean a retreat indoors – by its very enclosed nature a less healthy environment. With a virus to contend with it is important to embrace the positive effects on health and wellbeing from being outside.

Don’t hide behind the front door; fling open the back door. To the love of the sky, the trees and birdsong, add fire and food. Barbecuing is seasoning for all seasons.

Scandinavians, living in harsher winter climates, cannot understand the British propensity to abandon the external fire to huddle round the internal hearth when the days shorten and the temperatures drop.

There has, however, been a UK run on buying outdoor kit, from patio heaters and fire pits to pergolas and pagodas – permanent or temporary structures to create some shelter from the elements. Keep warm and carry on cooking.

Talking of Scandinavians, we have two Finnish outdoor cooking entrepreneurs in this issue, who chuckle at the British obsession with moaning about the weather. If you think we have cold winters over here…

Ooni pizza oven founder Kristian Tapaninaho grew up in a town six hours north of Helsinki, while Teemu Nivala, founder of wireless meat thermometer MEATER, talks of six months of snow in northern Finland. But that doesn’t stop gatherings outside around the fire, smoking fish and meat.



Weber’s Dan Cooper may be a man of Gloucestershire, but he is an advocate of the Nordic concept of friluftsliv – open air living – taking any opportunity to be outside, with al fresco cooking no exception.

“Winter barbecuing is one of the most wonderfully enlivening and multi-sensory seasonal experiences you can have. The sound of the fire crackling, the scent of wood smoke meat roasting, not to mention the practical giving of warmth,” says Cooper. 

“It’s ideal, particularly this year, as a way to socialise and celebrate at a safe distance. So why not gather around the barbecue and prep pulled pork, ribs or a smoky one-pot stew for the family? Roast your Christmas turkey, goose or ham. Serve up s’mores, hot chocolate or mulled cider for a few friends around the barbecue and create an occasion like no other.”

I hope you have enjoyed the second issue of BBQ magazine – the ultimate winter warmer. Happy Christmas.


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