Will men ever relinquish the grill?

Who's at the grill helm in your household? Probably a guy. Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/wka/ Some rights reserved.

Who's at the grill helm in your household? Probably a guy. Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/wka/ Some rights reserved.

If you're a grill owner – or at a party where there's a grill around – chances are it's firing up today and you'll be eating grilled something.

And there's a more than two in one chance that your grill will be manned. Yes, by a guy.

America's alpha-male tradition of the man of the household working the grill is alive and well, despite gender changes in many other facets of family life.

NPR's The Salt reports on a survey that finds that the grill is the "one and only male-dominated appliance in America". Why? NPR national desk editor Uri Berliner nails it. It's recreation clothed in an aura of work. Men like this.

"Grilling is awesome," my colleague told me over a casual water-cooler chat. "All you have to do is stand there and drink beer while you watch the meat cook."

We had a grilling party at my house last night. And while my wife and I try our best to share and balance the housework, the cooking, the childcare, we didn't even talk about who would grill the meat. I did.

Now, this is nothing compared to Argentina, where the laws of grilling are completely set in stone. The man of the household cooks the meat on the "parrilla". The male guests hang around with him. (*But no one gives advice to the griller or in any way comments on his grilling. It is his show alone.*) Meanwhile, the women make salad and a cured-meat-and-cheese plate in the kitchen.

And once everyone has sat down to eat and begun tasting the delectable, grilled-to-perfection cuts (and Argentines really know how to do this), someone stands up and says reverently, "¡Aplausos al asador!"  Applause for the grillmaster! And everyone claps. I'm not making this up.

I find all this pretty entertaining, a weird vestige of a different (and decidedly less egalitarian) world.

How does it work at your house? Any proud lady-grillers out there? When will the man relinquish the grill? Ever?

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One Comment

  1. I don't know where this idea of grilling came from. No one ever did it when I was a kid. Most picnics were done with food prepared at home, put in a basket and taken to the picnic site. At home, all meals were cooked inside and eaten inside.
    I just don't get it. Have done it but don't see it as a big deal.
    And oh, by the way, Memorial Day is a day to remember those killed in wars. It should not be celebrated as the start of the grilling season.

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