Cookout — (n.) an African-American gathering with more than 7 black people held outside involving the three main food staples: meat, carbs, and diabetes.
Black cookouts were put in the spotlight earlier this year when Black Twitter users created the hashtag #whitepeopleinvitedtothecookout to show who the black community respected enough to attend a cookout. If you are ever invited to a black cookout, here’s a quick food guide to one of the most poppin’ and pettiest times of your life.
1. Bring Tupperware
Takeout is expected because trust me, people will be filling up their take home plates before the food is even officially served. Sure, someone will complain but everyone has their to go plates ready for them at the door. Don’t take it personal, go ‘head get your second scoop of mac-and-cheese, they’re going to find an excuse to talk petty about you anyways.
2. Don’t walk in empty-handed.
If you can cook, bring food. If you can’t cook, don’t you dare come to the cookout with something bland or something crazy like tofu because everyone will clown you (and whoever brought you to the cookout). Try bringing drinks, plates, or aluminum foil for the take-home plates. Now, on to the food.
1. The Potato Salad
Not all potato salad is made the same and you can tell once you take a bite. If you want to see extreme passive-aggressive behavior in its purest form, just wait and see what happens when two people bring potato salad.
1 dish of potato salad = Everyone happily stuffing their faces with carb-filled goodness.
2 dishes of potato salad = Fight night. It’s now a competition to see who’s the better cook. No one is safe. Either pick a side or evacuate the premises because it’ll get real ugly.
At a cookout, meat is king. The grill is where the men prove to each other who’s the alpha male. It’s the male equivalent to the potato salad battles. One wrong flip of the burger will get you quickly ejected from your position as grill master, so you better stay on your toes.
3. Mac & Cheese
Remember what I said about potato salad? Well, mac-and-cheese also makes people just as petty so stay woke. This isn’t a ready-made dish cooked in the microwave. Nah, fam. This dish is made with a medley of cheeses, sprinkled with breadcrumbs, slathered in butter, and then baked to perfection in the oven. Prepare yourself for shade to be thrown if two people bring mac-n-cheese.
4. Collard Greens
Do not mistake this dish for the urban version of a healthy salad because it’s far from it. Collard greens, Southern cookout style, are well-seasoned leafy vegetables cooked with a ham bone (probably leftover from the last holiday) for extra flavoring.
5. Cornbread or Biscuits
If a dish isn’t smothered in 3 pounds of butter, it won’t get eaten. Cornbread is usually used to wipe up any leftover sauces from your plate of food, but of course, it’s delicious on its own.
6. Sweet Potatoes
Made either candied or mashed, this dish is baked in a spiced sugar syrup that will leave you wanting more. Sugar, spice and everything nice: these buttery mouthfuls of goodness are so delicious they’ll make you slap your mamma.
Take your pick: there’ll be sweet potato pie, peach cobbler, pound cake, banana pudding, the list goes on. People love their sweets and there’ll be plenty at a cookout. The only problem is deciding what you want. My advice: take as much as you can fit onto that small paper plate.
The most important part = Throwing away your plate
If the top of your plate is showing, it means you have nothing to hide and either ate everything or are willing to face the repercussions of throwing away edible food (which will be taken as a personal attack against the cook). If your plate is folded over, you’re trying to hide the fact that you didn’t eat someone’s unseasoned food, scared of the hostility that’ll be thrown your way.
Feeling the itis?
You probably are experiencing the itis, a feeling of lethargy after eating a satisfying cookout.
At this point, you’re slumped on the couch about to fall asleep. Everyone else is reminiscing about the good old days with Motown music playing the background, with the sound of people playing dominoes and spades in the backroom.
Guess what, the cookout is finally over. Round up your ride, grab your takeout plates and wish everyone a blessed life.