Cookout 101: The Guide to Summer Madness

Cookout 101: The Guide to Summer Madness

Shauna Toomer
5 min read


It's cookout season y'all! The grandmas, mamas, and aunties of the world put their foot in the macaroni and hammocks in the greens. The grandpas, daddies, and uncles pulled out the universal grilling sandals and proceeded to burn hot dogs left and right. You and your cousins have linked, and the kids are running themselves tired. The vibes are great, the music is going, drinks are flowing, and everyone feels good. Follow the rules below to keep the good vibes strong and avoid being the topic of auntie's phone conversation tomorrow.

"And with a pen and pad, I composed this rhyme. To hit you and get you equipped for the summertime!"- The Fresh Prince

"Where Y'all At?"

Ask for the tent number if you're meeting at the park. If you're relying on familiar faces and the number of black people you see, you're bound to end up at the wrong cookout.

The Solo Cup

This is the only cup we're drinking out of. Don't bring anything else!
If you can't handle the red cup, don't touch it.

Empty Hands

Never show up empty-handed. Bring a bottle, water, off-brand soda for the kids, something.
If you didn't cook, don't fix yourself a to-go plate unless offered.

  1. Dear White People: If you're invited, mingle. Just avoid hair questions, politics and religion. Don't give out any drunken nicknames, and don't overdo it by trying to fit in. Just be yourself and don't touch anything if it ain't yours.
  2. Spades: If you can't play, don't even breathe near the table.
    Listen, "watching to learn" is a setup. It looks easy, and you think you can play after watching a couple hands, you can't! As soon as someone needs a bathroom break, you might be encouraged by the opposing team to take their place. DON'T DO IT, CUZ! Your "Patna" is going to be mad for the rest of the year.
  3. Food: When grandma says, "Y'all go ahead and eat!" acknowledge her, wait a couple minutes, then go. Give the great aunties time to get their plate started.
    If you don't like it, talk to your favorite cousin about it tomorrow. Don't you dare mention it or make a face. Somebody is watching you.
    Wash your hands before touching any food!
  4. Alcohol: If you bring a bottle, once you set it down, it becomes the homeowners. Bring a personal bottle for consumption.
    You're surrounded by food, so feed your liquor cause "ain't nobody come here to take care of you."
  5. Music: Keep it old school. Everything from Motown to the classic '90s makes you feel good. Some of the new stuff is cookout-worthy but be selective in your choice.
    If you must play Bey's version of "Before I Let Go," play it AFTER Frankie Beverly & Maze.
  6. Kids: "Any kids gon' be there?" is a critical question. If not, find a babysitter. If so, watch them!
  7. Attire: Be clean. Be cool. Be cute. Be comfortable. Be presentable. If you have to pull up or pull down all day, leave it alone.