VIEW FROM THE KITCHEN SINK: Guys and grilling just go together

By Kathryn Page
Pioneer Columnist

I was hanging out this morning sipping scorched coffee, watching the birds in our backyard sanctuary that my husband has fashioned, and pondering the mysteries of life and laundry.

The laundry part I’ve about got figured out, but I observed a mystery of life last weekend that still has me thinking.

Have you ever noticed how males are drawn to barbecue grills?

There seems to be an attraction there that I can’t understand or explain. Last weekend my sister gathered our families, all 20 of us, and hosted a big family barbecue. The men were in charge of showing up and the women were in charge of everything else; kids, food, drinks, gifts, snacks, entertainment and the dogs (even they were invited). The men were doing a really good job of showing up and us women, well, we were doing OK too, getting all the food ready.

It was a big job, but we were up to the task.

The time came to light the grill and start barbecuing. We were armed with tongs and an attitude that “we can do this.” As soon as the first piece of meat hit the grill and the hissing and smoking began, the men started showing up around us.

I hadn’t noticed any men in the kitchen the last couple of hours while we were preparing the rest of the food, but throw something on the grill and there they were.

By the time we had all the meat on the grill, the men gathered like a pack of wolves ready to pounce the second we did something wrong. It was obvious they really wanted to do the barbecuing, so after a short and quiet conference between my sister and me, we started asking each other stupid questions like “should we put the sauce on now?” and “how long before we turn the meat?”

The men pounced, grabbed the tongs and my sister and I happily gave up the job.

Back in the kitchen, observing this out her window, I got to wondering. It seems that men almost always do the outdoor cooking. Why? What causes this? Could there be testosterone mixed in with the LP gas or sprayed on the charcoal? Or is it because we weak little women who can handle eight screaming kids in the back of a van on a busy freeway during rush-hour cannot handle a dangerous job like barbecuing?

Men don’t seem bothered if we mow the lawn, or paint the house, or lay a brick patio, or work on a road crew, or heft 200 pounds of groceries into the house, but in their minds, we are not capable of handling the horrendous job of cooking on a barbecue grill.

I really don’t know the reason for this behavior, but now that I’ve thought about it, it’s always been there. That’s probably why as soon as the weather breaks, a lot of outdoor cooking begins. It’s not that we are all that crazy about food that is charred on the outside beyond recognition, it’s that the men will happily cook it and that’s one less job for us women.

Gotta go. There’s a sale on grills. I think I’ll buy three!

Talk to you soon.

Kathryn Page is a wife, mother, part-time bookkeeper and domestic goddess. A local girl who is now in her mid-50s, Kathryn lives by four simple rules: don’t take yourself too seriously; love your family without reservation; freely pass out smiles everyday; and never-ever try to duplicate what you’ve seen Martha Stewart do. E-mail her at kathryn_page@hotmail.com.

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