By: Sydnee C. Winston, Project Coordinator
Spring has officially sprung and has brought along many traditions—cherry blossom festivities, planning vacations and barbecuing. May is national barbecue month and I for one can’t wait to dust off the ol’ grill and toss a few steaks on.
But as much as I love down home barbecue as much as a next person, the image of me, a woman, outside grilling might raise some eyebrows. Grilling, even today is still considered to be a largely male pursuit and is a remaining bastion of stereotyped gender roles for women and men: “women cook, men grill.”
The stereotype is so pervasive that the Land O’ Lakes Company recently released a press release that probed this mysterious “female grilling phobia.” According to a study commissioned by the company, “more than 84 percent of women would be at least a little nervous or afraid to use the barbecue grill on their own.”
So this led me to the question: Why the fear of grilling ladies? After all, our foremothers have been cooking over fires from time immemorial! How did this stereotype gain popularity and why do we seem to be buying into it?
Advertisers and marketing companies have been selling us the notion of grilling as a backyard “male sport” since the 1950s. Check out this clip from an episode of “Leave It To Beaver” where Ward explains why women are more suited to kitchen cooking and men are more equipped for more “rugged, outdoor cooking.”
Even in today’s commercials we still see these tried and old stereotyped depictions of men as the designated grill masters.
But one woman is trying to change all of that! Elizabeth Karmel is on a one woman mission to get “Girls at the Grill.” She created the group to encourage girls and women to get in on the fun of grilling and has listed these five reasons why girls should grill:
1. It’s fun!
“Why do you think the guys kept it to themselves all these years?!”
2. It tastes great too
“Grilling is the best way to cook, bar none. There is no other cooking technique that gives you this much flavor for your effort. The natural caramelization and signature smokiness enhances almost every food. My motto is, ‘If you can eat it, you can grill it!’”
3. Easy clean-up
“Cooking outdoors is relaxing, casual and stress-relieving – just like a vacation! And the bonus is you get a great homemade meal with very little effort and almost no clean-up!”
4. It’s does the body good
“Seriously, grilling is intrinsically healthy. You aren’t sautéing in a lot of butter and oil, and you don’t need heavy sauces to give the food flavor. Grilling naturally intensifies the inherent flavors of the food, making it burst with flavor.
Meats, poultry and fish are a given, but the real transformation is with vegetables and fruit. Grilling turns vegetables from something you know you are supposed to eat to something craveable that you can’t stop eating. If you are accustomed to eating steamed asparagus, try it grilled and you will never eat it any other way! Here’s the super-simple recipe below.”
5. A cook-out is always a party
“…And girls love parties! Whether you are grilling for just a few friends, or a crowd, cooking outdoors makes everyone happy and once your neighbors smell the grill, chances are they’ll invite themselves to join in the fun!”
So ladies, to grill or not to grill: that is the question? For me, the answer is a resounding “TO GRILL!” I’m going to get outside, pick up those tongs and start grillin’ in May!
Don’t forget to tune in for next week’s #foodiefriday.