Grilling the Men

Several people have recently gone out of their way to inform me that they don’t appreciate what they perceive to be disparaging comments I’ve made about men.
Duane, a reader in East Bethel, went so far as to say, “I get the distinct impression that you would not spit on a man if he was on fire.” He, of course, could not be more wrong. In fact, on several occasions, I have spit on men who weren’t even on fire.

Obviously, I’m kidding. I truly appreciate Duane’s taking the time to write me, and, more importantly, for clearly printing his home address.

Let me set the record straight: I have always contended that men do many things better than women.

For example, there’s no question that men are inherently superior when it comes to turning perfectly good beef, fish, and poultry into something from which one could probably fashion a durable boot. Or, the dog’s last meal.

According to experts, men are apparently genetically compelled to barbecue.

Dr. John Gray, author of the best-selling book Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus, says, “Men have traditional ancient roots as hunters. We cooked for ourselves on the open range. Barbecuing is the same thing. You’re protecting your wife from the flames and providing food.”

Men who are in touch with this primal instinct also report, “Fire looks really cool after you’ve downed seven or eight brewskis.”
The Weber Grill-Line, a toll-free barbecuing hot-line for consumers, offers further proof that guys were born to grill. Based on caller statistics, men are responsible for barbecuing in 55 percent of US households.

The women in these same households, I understand, are responsible for tracking down said men, who frequently wander off into neighboring states during the barbecuing process, and asking them, “Are the tiles on our roof flame-retardant?”

The (800) GRILL-OUT hotline, which fielded 50,000 calls last year, reports that the largest number of inquires came from California, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wisconsin.

Only one call was received from Ely, Minnesota. A man there wanted to know how other barbecue enthusiasts deal with that pesky my-family-is-frozen-to-the-picnic-table-again problem.

The Number One 1 question posed to Weber’s hot-line operators was—and I quote—“How do I light the fire?”

Weber reportedly has had difficulty keeping the hot-line staffed, as several operators a day sustain serious injuries laughing hysterically, and falling off their chairs.

Other subjects popular with callers are how do you:

• Cook with charcoal?
• Cook poultry? Beef? Fish?
• Cook with gas?
• Test for doneness?
• Marinate?

Operators have been thrilled with the tremendous interest consumers have expressed in outdoor grilling, and have been particularly impressed that so many men are actually able to dial a phone unassisted.

Weber also reports that “many Americans claim they use a ‘special trick’ when grilling to help make their meal taste better than their next-door neighbor’s!”

Insisting that guests not eat for a full week prior to coming over is among the most popular techniques.
Barbecuing, of course, can be dangerous.

As Dear Abby warned readers in one of her columns, “Please do not move barbecue grills from the fire escape into your apartment. It is extremely dangerous to use any barbecue grill inside an enclosed area.”

Well, duh, Abby! What an amazing grasp of the obvious.

So, in addition to not setting a flaming grill down on your living room couch, what are the keys to successful barbecuing?
I recommend that you:

• Don’t ask anyone how they want their meat cooked; such a question would unfairly imply that you care and/or have any control over the final form your guest’s meal will take.• Practice saying, “It’s fine. Just scrape that part off.”
• Find out if the Saloon’s Fire Bar & Restaurant delivers.

Well, hey, guys, consider the source. The Fire Bar pork chops—yum!

Bye for now.
Kiss, kiss.

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