What would Heritage Day be without a braai? Even amidst a pandemic, we can still feel the South African vibe with a braai. This can be a bit of a challenge for those of us in wheelchairs. So, here are a few tips to having a great braai day!
Still a pandemic!
First off, don’t forget that we are still in the middle of a global pandemic. Even when vaccinated, we are still at risk of contracting COVID. So, if you do decide to invite a few friends, keep the gathering small (ideally only with people that you see often in any case), and try to only invite friends or family who you know are vaccinated.
When together, be sure to practice social distancing, keep on your mask whenever possible, and sanitise often. Don’t share glasses, plates or utensils.
If you are planning on being the grill master, make sure that the braai area is accessible and well adapted so that you can keep a keen eye on the meat. Consider a smaller or lowered braai – if you are opting for the standalone, portal grill. The tongs aren’t just great for turning your meat, but also for adjusting coals or opening and closing the lid on a kettle grill.
Even if there is enough clearance underneath the grill, it is advisable to avoid rolling underneath the grill as you can burn. For added protection, consider wearing a thick, heat-resistant material that, preferably, covers your legs entirely.
Be careful of dehydration or heat stroke. Especially if braaing outside, if it is a hot day, or if you are the braai master (spending most of the day next to the fire), be sure to drink a lot of water. Alcohol is not a substitute for water! If you can, consider leaving the braai area as often as possible (without burning your meat) to get away from the smoke and heat.
Dining like a pro
Depending on where everyone plans to eat – outside with a plate on your lap or a dining table – it might be a good idea to take some precautions. For example, if eating from a plate on your lap, make sure the plate is either heat resistant or on something that is – for example a wood cutting board.
If you can, consider taking along a portable table or ask your host for one so that you can eat comfortably outside. Before the braai, ensure that there are foods that you can eat without limited mobility posing a hinderance, and that meet your dietary restrictions. Consider bringing some food or cutlery from home to make the dining experience better.
Take time to appreciate family and friends
If you are fortunate enough to spend Braai Day with friends and family, take a moment to appreciate them. With the national lockdown and global pandemic, we’ve had very few precious moments with family and friends. Yet, their support and love has helped us endure.
Happy Heritage and Braai Day!