The question “What would you recommend for a barbecue?”so often results in a tired litany of burgers and the like, whereas a butcher in France will immediately recommend a côte de boeuf ( prime rib) of the best available local beef which, in our area, is Parthenaise. The continuous summer rain washed away all my ethics as I prepared for another meat fest. In my mind’s eye I remember ribs of beef being reserved for Xmas and feast days. The beef would be ordered, from the most expensive butcher to be found in London, several weeks, or even months, ahead of the great event. The moment of collection entailed standing in a long queue of other poor misguided souls determined to empty their wallets int0 the coffers of this self styled ( read expensive PR company styled) purveyor of fine meat, established when God was a boy, and with several Royal warrants – one of which should have been for his arrest. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, we ordered this perfect example of the genre from the butcher in our local supermarket. As far as meat goes, this piece of meat went. That is to say that top quality beef, seared on a barbecue grill, has enough going for it to reduce principles to ash. As a gesture to our colonial cousins, who know more about cooking cows al fresco than we can ever hope to, we also grilled giant prawns ( that’s shrimp in the vernacular) that had been basted with oil, sweet paprika and honey.They were good, very good, but shamefacedly I have to admit that the cow hit the spot.