Why doesn’t gen­der eq­uity ap­ply to bar­be­cu­ing?

The Southern Berks News - - LOCAL NEWS - By Mike Zielin­ski Colum­nist

I al­ways have found it amus­ing that men, many of whom would only cook in the kitchen if they were hand­cuffed to the stove, are the king of the grill.

Broad gen­er­al­iza­tions, of course, are not rooted in spe­cific data.

Truth be told, I sim­ply didn’t have the time nor the pa­tience to sur­vey ev­ery fam­ily in Amer­ica to see if the man of the house or the woman of the house was stand­ing be­hind the grill.

So please al­low me the lib­erty of as­sum­ing bar­be­cu­ing re­mains a male strong­hold hon­or­ing the time-hon­ored tra­di­tion of the al­pha male wield­ing a set of tongs and man­ning the grill sta­tion.

It’s all about the meat, which is why men sel­dom make a souf­flé.

You don’t have to have doc­tor­ates in his­tory and so­ci­ol­ogy to fig­ure out why.

Men grill be­cause they are the de­scen­dants of cave­men who hunted for meat and then cooked it while the women were busy look­ing af­ter off­spring who rarely sat still for hours while trans­fixed by their smart­phones.

Con­trol of the food and the fire was all about male pres­tige and dom­i­nance.

The mythol­ogy of meat is well mar­bled with machismo.

But cut me a break. Thou­sands of years have passed since men had to kill game, make a fire, cook it and eat it.

So why do men con­tinue to claim the sa­cred bar­be­cue fire-space as a male-owned sanc­tu­ary?

It’s be­cause the ma­cho over­tone of grilling is an eter­nal flame.

Bar­be­cu­ing is about male bond­ing. Men like to stand around in groups while grilling and brag about their BBQ cook­ing skills, what kind of grill they pre­fer and what a mean burger or steak they’re ca­pa­ble of cook­ing up on it.

Granted, there al­ways are ex­cep­tions.

Me. I con­sider my­self as ma­cho as the next guy.

In fact, how many guys have ever sparred with Muham­mad Ali?

I have — although the play­ful heavy­weight champ wasn’t ex­actly try­ing to take my head off dur­ing our spar­ring ses­sion when I was a young sports colum­nist cov­er­ing his Deer Lake train­ing camp.

I fire up the grill but my wife does the grilling.

If any guy has a prob­lem with that, put up your dukes.

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