BBQ Diplomacy

Dear Readers,

This last election cycle drove a wedge between a lot of people in the USA. Politics can be bigly good or bad. I think picnic diplomacy is in order and I urge people to begin a loose and reckless BBQ diplomacy network in their area. This is unrelated to Gardening for Strangers or Play It Forward events at your local drive-thru. You have to burn things and talk to each other.

This is a way to crash neighborhood BBQs, and to be fair, there’s no guarantee this is a wise or noble thing to do, but if you participate, consider a $15 to $20 voucher you could purchase from a host.


  • Register as a host by emailing me at I will have a map where you can locate hot grills and plan your adventure to BBQs unknown.
  • If you are interested to become a BBQED diplomat, please let me know, and I will provide a secure Paypal link to handle transactions. Since no one ever reads my shit, you know I’m not making it for no reason, so if one person decides to do this, then I will work to build this network and content for it. Otherwise, I’m going to just fade into the backyard, in a haze of greasy smoke and laughter.
  • If this takes off, I’ll administrate a Facebook page and launch its own WordPress site and invite you to my house for BBQ and shit, and you can bring whatever you want, but you better come hungry.


Politics as an inclusive force is a good thing, but political discourse can use exclusive forces to shape social will, and maybe that is good, too. I don’t know. I miss having a feeling of community, a sense of neighborliness. I wanted to go on Facebook today to try to inject a little neighborly behavior into the echo chamber, but realized it doesn’t matter. I can’t go to Facebook and physically get BBQ and cold potato salad. I have to request the general public try to revive this tradition.  I do this because I believe my feed is tailored for bias towards prior actions, meaning it is trying to reduce the number of actionable inputs which affect my feed and set of responses. It’s an echo chamber.

Fake Ass BBQ Alert

Image result for bbq cookout picnic 1964
Pinterest, fake
Image result for bbq cookout picnic 1964
Sparkpeople, fake
fakeassbbq    Notice the complete lack of food, tables or conversation, fake





I’m going to get to the BBQ in a minute, and I’m dragging you with me, you [ insert political buzzword ] who voted for [ insert shill ] and will cause [ insert descriptive model of degradation, by someone mentioned in a pejorative way ] most assuredly. I am hoping that we share a table, a rather long one, with many stripes and brands of people, people with lifestyles, with “likes” and maybe feelings you can’t slap an emoji on, people who are alone and boring with lonely ads selling their own lonely and bored asses back to themselves while their insomnia and anxiety rob them of sleep. Some of us remember…

Image result for cookout circa 1949, fig 1.

I’m going to take you away from the badness and the madness, get you a hot plate and a “place to set down and et” as they used to say do. Where there’s food, there’s civilization (fig 1). Sharing food is the basis of civilization, and implies storing of food against bad times, or for leverage, and therein lies the problem. Some people forget to care for each other. I care for people, and I like BBQ, so I’m going to run with this idea.

Actually, I’m NOT going to take you there. You are going by yourself. The is a BBQ Exchange Program, and to give you an idea of what not to expect at the BBQ, please refer to these mid 20th-century and recent photos which go back and forth with depictions of  people having cookouts during the last century, a time my parents could vividly describe.

Image result for neighborhood cookout 1930s
Houston Chronicle, 4th of July picnic, 1945, fig. 2

There used to be local banks, jobs, businesses, hospitals, churches, and politicians. People goofed in a town square, went to dances, hung out by the river and stuff (fig 2). Then, during the malignant spread of franchise business and decline of the American workforce begun in earnest in the 1970s, during hard times when a neighborhood BBQ might have been worth more to an empty belly than a grumbling conscience, everything began to disappear. People went to places where they just bought food and went home, maybe even ate it in a car like red light you swallowed. The banks stopped lending. The local places closed down. Then factories closed down. Towns died one weekend at a time, but in some places like the Rust Belt, shit happened abruptly.

A BBQ is a social event. You have to have a social ground upon which to BBQ, or you must become (fig )  a frontier BBQer. I believe in you!

Block Party
“The weather (almost) never lets us down!” from undated 2017 article announcing upcoming fall BBQ from, a neighborhood in Rochester. fig.3

Notice the bounce house and use of rental chairs in this (fig 3). Those chairs did not come from home. Why, because maybe not lots of people ever come over. Why have a bunch of extra chairs, right? That’s because you lack BBQ. I’m sorry. We ARE TRYING to help you here at fiftystatebanana.  We need to get these BBQs to multiply, not confine them to hurry up and waits six or seven months away, Jesus we need BBQs to go down right now.

Some people like checkered tablecloths. Some people like baked beans. Some people like ribs. Some like fish, some sit, some stand, some drink, some don’t, sit off to the side, wanna jackjaw with everyone. It’s an adventure, if you’re a BBQ Exchange Diplomat (BBQED).

I want you to be a BBQED.

This is a BBQ. These people don’t give a flip. They threw down in a park, maybe close to a creek to wash the plates off. They didn’t pack the car with a bunch of disposable stuff. When you wash your plates in the creek, you are creating life downstream. When you cook in the quiet woods, you can have peace, maybe smoke a pipe and talk about what ails you (fig.4).


Image result for neighborhood cookout 1930s
courtesy of, fig 4.


What I am concerned about in Facebook, which is not a social base, but a network. There aren’t random zipperneckss up in your grill talking about things you don’t understand or ever heard of. That would mean meeting and learning about other people in an arbitrary environment, taking photographs, sharing recipes and writing down names and shtuff.

Fantail cookout, circa 1974, courtesy of, fig 4.

That scene looks good. Whatever Captain Belly (fig 4) is buttering down, you need to eat it, and ask how he did it. Ask his apron.

I think of America as a series of weird backyards. You could spend a lifetime adventuring through picnics, cookouts and BBQs in the intimacy of a neighborhood, maybe one the size of our world (fig 6). Might get dull, though. The focus of this is to get you a plate, son. You look hungry, go into a wild and worthless looking weirdo neighborhood and talk about cars or something.


Get your BBQED documentation

If you want to join a BBQED network or start your own, let me know.


bbqedcertificateyrname   <—– Click for the PDF

Click this link to get the BBQED connection!


sample certificate, fig.5

Go forth and try to find better coleslaw, with your papers in order. if you can’t find a BBQ, roll up this diploma, find some kindling, and start your own!

Image result for community picnic chicago 1956
The Sweet Mid 20th-Century BBQ Scene, fig 6.

I am nostalgic for large cookouts because I miss lively neighborhoods.



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