It’s summertime, the sun is out and I feel like grilling, which got me thinking: why do men get so excited about barbecuing? Not all men love to grill, but only men love to grill. I’ve never seen a woman get super stoked about grilling up some burgers and dogs. They don’t even get that excited about steaks or ribs. They’ll eat them, but they’re not that interested in cooking them.
Where does Man's primal urge to grill things come from? Like many things, it can probably be explained by evolutionary psychology and dates back to Caveman Times. (“Caveman Times” is a scientific era. Look it up, smarty.)
First of all, in Caveman Times the men were the primary hunters. Back then women didn’t concern themselves much with throwing spears and running herds of animals off cliffs. They were more into shoes and handbags.
Second, the Caveman had just figured out how to make weapons and hunt right around the time he learned to make fire. Throwing a freshly-dead animal on a crackling fire was the pinnacle of caveman civilization up to that point. It kept the Caveman and his family fed, perpetuated the Caveman species and resulted in lots of Caveman high fives. It was evidence that Man was evolving and it was not uncommon to hear a caveman say, “They’ll stop calling me a Neanderthal after they’ve had a taste of my smoky barbecue ribs. The mammoth falls right off the bone.”
Thus, the deep-seated need for men to take raw meat and cook it over an open fire has been passed down through the generations as an evolved psychological mechanism. We have even evolved propane, match light charcoal and the George Foreman Grill.
I received the latter as a wedding present. I like nothing better on a summer evening than to take the George out on my balcony, plug it in and grill me up some sausages made of leftover animal parts. That’s right: hot dogs. Hot dogs are actually made of “meat slurry,” which sounds delicious, don’t you think? I think “meat slurry” is an evasive way of saying, “Seriously, you really don’t want to know and if you research any further you'll be sorry.” I find the best way to eat a hot dog is to not think about what you are eating because you enjoy it a lot more.
Once when I lived in Eugene, Oregon I accidentally stumbled onto a vegan cookout. There was nothing but grills, smoke and vegans as far as the eye could see. It was marvelous. They all had lids on their barbecue grills so I couldn’t see what they were grilling. I was dying to know what it was because it smelled delicious. I chatted politely with the cooks awhile, but none of them volunteered. Finally I had to come right out and ask them what the heck a bunch of vegans could possibly be grilling.
“Eggplant!” several of the cooks responded in unison, as if grilling anything else was ridiculous.
A cruelty-free cookout! You eggplant-eating geniuses. I felt kind of bad for assuming that a cookout had to have meat, like that was kind of racist. Or meatist. Foodist?
You know what I mean.