Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Barbecuing: A Man's Domain?

I grew up in a household which may not be too unfamiliar to many other people. My mom was in charge of the kitchen, meaning she cooked pretty much every meal that came out of that room. My dad, on the other hand, was the "barbecuer." He prepared the meat and took it outside to the grill. Personally, I've never really understood how barbecuing is seen to be a man's job. Let's look a bit further, shall we.

The term "barbecue" has no exact origin, but most scholars agree that it is a derivative of the West Indian word "barbacoa," a method of slow cooking over hot coals. For a more extensive reading on the etymology of the word "barbecue," visit this graduate paper. Next, come in the manly men. According to The Independent UK, a character trait called "The Flintstone Factor" is the reason men feel the need to be in charge of the barbecue. The article goes on to state that "a hidden primeval instinct as a caveman hunter-gatherer makes [men] seize control of the barbecue.." Another psychologist, Dr. Aric Sigman, concludes that a barbecue is one of the few opportunities left for a man to "satisfy his love of gadgets and to recreate the cave-side ritual" (Barbecue Survey: Calor).

So let's see where we're at. Men love barbecuing because it brings them back to prehistoric times and it also allows them to fool around with tongs and propane tanks. Ok, well now we have the perspective of a man, let me give this barbie a try!

Jenny's Grilled Chicken Breasts


4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
Ground black pepper to taste
Seasoning salt to taste
2 teaspoons dried parsley


Before I give directions on how to grill up these chicken breasts, I'd like to share my first barbecue experience. Well, it was just this past summer that my brother got the bright idea that we should barbecue up some steaks. I don't even like steak all that much, but hey, we were hungry and bored. So, my brother defrosts the steaks and starts seasoning them as he instructs me to go turn the barbecue on. I have never turned a barbecue on so I kindly ask him to instruct me and he replies, and I quote, "turn the propane on, turn both dials to, like, 9 o'clock, and then turn the ignitor." Alright, I go to the barbecue, turn the propane on, turn both dials to, like, 9 o'clock, and then pause. At this point, I was a little bit scared that a big ball of flame would come shooting up once I turned that ignitor. Don't you hate it when you're right? Luckily, as I turned the ignitor, I also turned my face away. The barbecue successfully singed all the hair off of my right arm. In case you were all worried, I started the barbecue.

But I digress. I combined all of the ingredients into a seal-able bowl. I shook the bowl to mix the ingredients and then let the chicken marinate for about 20 minutes. In the mean time, I went outside (opened the garage door and put the barbecue at the edge) and attempted to ignite the barbecue once again. Just to make sure everything went well, I asked my Dad to give me instructions for the barbecue. His instructions were pretty much the same, except, he told me to turn the dials to 3 o'clock. Big difference! When the grill was hot enough, I placed the four chicken breasts to cook. The directions said to grill 10-15 minutes each side, or until no longer pink and juice runs clear. I, however, just kept flipping the chicken breasts because I had a handy meat thermometre!

In case I hurt anyone's feelings, here are some pictures of really awesome barbecues!

Images from Life in the Fast Lane

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