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the barbecue ventures off the meat trails

AOn sunny days, the descendants of the hunters emerge from the woods, too happy to handle the game – flushed out, at best, from the butcher’s – and to purr their sophisticated contraption as they drive an over-equipped SUV. To tell the truth, we would like to avoid perpetuating the cliché of the roaster man, the male mastering the flame, the swagger of the embers, the balèze ès embers, the pasha of the plancha … But the practice of barbecue for women remains a very rare exception. As if the movement of revolt against male domination had spared this activity, willingly set up as a festive and unbridled event, a fun and democratic gathering if not always gastronomic.

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“The history recorded in the depths of the unconscious has for certain gestures an extremely long memory. This is the case with the attachment of men to barbecue, which for this reason is not a culinary activity like any other ”, observed the sociologist Jean-Claude Kaufmann, in 2005, in Casseroles, love and crises, what cooking means (Armand Colin). “In many couples, she can give the impression of male participation and competence, without the usual prerogatives of the head cook being called into question. The poses and boastfulness of the man achieving culinary feats can have something exasperating for the discreet cook accustomed to daily self-sacrifice. These characteristics are not attributable to a supposed nature, universal and eternal, but they result from a historical trajectory and a social positioning. “

Specialized cooking school

So goes for this immutable and mutually accepted distribution of tasks, which breaks with ordinary culinary practice – in which male involvement has nevertheless greatly improved, especially among the younger generations. Especially since the success of these “BBQ parties”, yesterday inspired by the American or Australian tradition but now firmly anchored in our seasonal culinary calendar, is far from being a flash in the pan. According to a BVA study carried out in January 2021 for the American brand Weber, 75% of French people have grilled or cooked outdoors, on the plancha or on the barbecue in 2020; 65% of our compatriots, according to the same study, own a device and a third of them have used it more in the past year, mainly due to confinement.

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