Why Men Like Barbecuing & How To Make Raspberry Limoncello Prosecco

As I appear to be in the unusual position of having an entirely female readership, I thought I’d take the opportunity to throw light on something which has mystified women since the dawn of Humanity. Why Men like Barbecuing.

The recent spectacular Easter Bank Holiday weather saw many men scrabbling about in sheds and garages somewhat earlier than is normal for last year’s grilling equipment.

The male of the species attraction to burning meat goes right back to when we enjoyed throwing spears at animals, then dragging back the unfortunate creatures to our cave where you would be waiting with your arms folded and the inevitable  “What sort of time do you call this” expression.

Those down the road at Cave 93 had invented fire and so, after joining the local Neanderthal Lions Club and being given a box of Swan Vesta flints, our hero discovered cooking meat was not only less poisonous and tastier – but also fun.

Part of the initiation ceremony to become a Lion involved helping to paint the walls at No 93 with pictures of animals and stick men because wallpaper hadn’t been invented. Strangely though, the glue to stick it on with already had.

This happened when the wife of the bloke that discovered fire cooked a bison’s head and found it was stuck inside the pot. So her husband took over – and discovered he liked burning things as well.

So this has been going on for eons and is consequently etched into our Deoxyribonucleic Acid. This might go some way to explaining why we do it – and why you can’t stop it.

Down the centuries putting on an apron and cremating some sausages made Man look like a right twat on a regular basis.

But we like soaking bits of chicken in a strange liquid overnight, incinerating it outdoors, then putting it in a bap whilst drinking lager. This makes Men happy.

If you’re female with a perfectly good kitchen, I understand dressing up in a chef’s novelty hat, stinking of smoke and giving the whole family diarrhoea may be a tad difficult to comprehend – but pointing out a more sensible indoor option won’t work. We’re programmed to do this.

I suppose you could suggest that recent research by a US university (with more funding than is good for them) has shown an afternoon’s barbeque cooking has the same health effects as smoking 20 cigarettes. That might give us pause for a nano-second.  Then as soon as the sun comes out we’ll be at it again. Why?

Well, I suppose it’s the smell of freshly mown grass mixed with the heady aroma of burgers cooking on a fire that does it. Sending the smell across your neighbour’s fence is also fun as they sit fuming over their G&T’s.

Plus any trainee arsonist you ask will confirm the almost magnetic attraction of flames. I’m not selling this am I…

Lighting the damn thing is a challenge in itself. If it was easy we probably wouldn’t be so interested. Last year’s charcoal briquettes, firelighters and matches are usually not interested in burning. You sit there with your glass of wine and smile as we struggle to get the damn thing to start.

Finally it struggles into life and there is smoke. Lots of damp smoke through which your man turns to you with a blackened face and a look of triumph. This is the moment you should smile, toast his efforts – and not burst out laughing.

Guests. By this time you will probably have some turning up and hoping for free food, drink and chatter. The men will almost certainly gravitate towards the fire with handy hints and tips for your partner in the hat, whilst the ladies will be sympathising with you over the sparkling wine.

Now there’s a thought.

There is no such thing as the perfect host, however if you’re resigned to your food being cremated in the garden, you could do worse than create a cocktail or two in the kitchen whilst tossing the salad.

This one I discovered whilst with a group of friends in the Cotswolds last year – Raspberry Limoncello Prosecco. For this you’ll need:

3 cups of Prosecco, chilled

1 cup Limoncello liqueur, chilled

1 cup raspberries (fresh preferably)

6 sprigs mint.

Take a large glass pitcher and whisk the Prosecco and Limoncello together, then pour over the raspberries and garnish with mint, which will give you about six servings.

Easy – and your mouth will be in heaven.

As a man who wanders into kitchens out of curiosity at garden parties I can tell you it beats lager every time. I find kitchens at parties are the best places to find the most interesting and attractive women. Jona Lewie even wrote a song about it.

After several cocktails, you’re probably in the mood to offer BBQ cooking tips. Don’t go there.

As the cook of the indoor house, you probably know that poking holes in the meat isn’t a good idea. Using spatulas is. Also resting cooked meat is better. So you might be tempted to wander over with your glass and gently suggest this before he doles out the burgers to your friends. But have a care.

Interference whilst a male is burning food in the garden is not welcome. Unless you suspect imminent food poisoning, allow him to make his own mistakes. He’ll learn. Or not.

You may well be lucky enough to have found a man who can cook. We are out there and actually those that can, generally welcome a second opinion. But when we cook for you on sunny garden days, we prefer you to sit and enjoy your cocktail. So let us.

Eating al fresco is usually a challenge in our UK climate, particularly if you’re in the Northern part of our wonderful country.

But as Spring turns to Summer and we leave our mud huts and caves here in Yorkshire for the open pastures and you venture outside the M25 on a weekday, I’d like to think we hunter / gatherers will be out there once again in our chefs hats and aprons grilling meat and grinning from ear to ear – whilst you smile back and let us.

Oh, and if you have any more simple cocktail ideas for BBQ days, do share.

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