Posted by: travelrat | May 9, 2021

Barbecue Man

Michael used to have a moustache, of which he was very fond. He doesn’t have it any more, though. He lost half of it, along with his eyebrows, in the garden one sunny Sunday afternoon. Because Michael’s a Barbecue Man.

Don’t get me wrong. The barbecue is a great way of cooking at a remote camp-site, or on a fishing trip, or at a picnic in the woods or at the beach.

But, there are many who regard their back garden as ‘The Great Outdoors’, and for them, the Barbecue Men, the barbecue isn’t just a method of cooking. It’s a rite of passage, where the male of the species proves his dominance by smoking as many neighbours as possible out of their gardens, while reducing prime steak to pure carbon in the shortest possible time.

 I’m at a complete loss to explain why any woman, even a ‘queen in her own kitchen’, will happily accept relegation to preparing the salad at the barbecue … even though the old man’s nobody’s cook?

I was once told of a griddle chef, pushed away from her own barbecue by her father, who said she was doing it all wrong; what did she know? He then produced a steak which was the best reason for becoming a vegetarian ever!

Maybe, though, you might get lucky, and, despite exhausting a gas-lighter, three boxes of matches and enough fire-lighters and petrol to burn down a medium-sized factory, Barbecue Man can’t get the fire lit. In such an event, just enjoy the salad. Do not offer to light the fire. If you’re successful, you’ll only get sneered at, and called a bloody Boy Scout!

I’ve no idea where this Male Barbecue Dominance stuff comes from. Maybe a Stone Age wife, like many a modern angler’s wife, once simply said:

‘You killed it. You cook it!’

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Did the mediaeval chatelaine once perhaps giggle over the salad with her friends at Ye Olde Wilde Boare Roaste, while the Lord and Master made a compleat pratte of hymself by wearing a silly hat while cremating the beast?

Barbecues have come a long was since my friends and I cooked out on the beach, using a barbecue fashioned from two house-bricks, a wire cake-tray and a Ford hub-cap. The modern barbecue bristles with gadgets … I mean, features … which Barbecue Man loves more dearly than his travesty of a chef’s toque, and his apron with the suggestive message.

For those, like the moustache-less Michael, who have difficulty lighting fires, there’s the gas barbecue, or even the electric barbecue. These enable the heat to be controlled more effectively.  Barbecue Man can still manage to burn the chops, but, at least, they don’t taste of petrol!

But, there’s something else they don’t taste of, and that’s the indefinable, slightly smoky flavour of properly charcoal-grilled meat.  Without that, you might as well take the stuff indoors, and cook it under the grill. Or, is that too much like woman’s work?

Even if you claim not to eat meat, Barbecue Man can usually find a veg-burger to under- or over-cook for you. Or, he might tell you it’s not meat; it’s chicken! The only was to avoid his attentions is to lead an upright and righteous life. That way, you’ll go to Heaven. You won’t find Barbecue Man there; he’ll be in the Other Place, burning his sausages and singeing his moustache over the flames.


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