The politics of cooking

Judging by the title of this post alone, I know what you’re probably thinking: “Oh god, is she going to get all preachy on us about only eating local, sustainable, vegan crap?” And the answer, of course, is hell no. I don’t give two pieces of tofu about that stuff (although if you do, good for you…thanks for trying to save the planet while selfish buttheads like me continue to try to destroy it).

I’m talking about the sexual politics of cooking. And yes, again I know what you’re thinking: “Oh god, is she going to get all freaky-deaky on us about using various phallic-shaped foods to spice up your sex life?” And the answer, naturally, is eww. What the hell is wrong with you guys? Remind me not to bring cucumbers to YOUR next potluck dinner.

No, I mean the incredibly sexist aspect of cooking that still exists today. And since spring is right around the corner (if you can see past all the sleet, hail, snow and rare glimpses of the sun), I thought this was the perfect time to bring it up.

But rather than just give one long (yet HILARIOUS) monologue on the subject, instead I’ve written a little play based on a true story for you to enjoy. A little play I like to call…

YOU GOTTA FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHT TO BARBECUE

A PLAY IN ONE ACT

Characters:

Aprill: A sorta-hot-in-that-nerdy-kind-of-way college senior who is usually drunk

Bobby Funtime*: Aprill’s good friend and a frat guy who is also usually drunk

*Name has been changed to protect the not-so-innocent

Setting:

Outside a typical barely-fit-for-human-occupancy college house. Beer cans litter the ground and off to the side is a so-old-it’s-probably-dangerous barbecue grill.

Time:

Late spring/early summer afternoon in 2004

SCENE ONE

(Aprill and Bobby Funtime enter through a side screen door that is only hanging on by one hinge, both carrying plates full of uncooked meat in one hand and a can of crappy cheap beer in the other)

BOBBY FUNTIME

Wow, it sure is a beautiful day today. Which is great because we are just about to graduate college and as such are having a party this afternoon to celebrate. Complete with barbecued food, which we are about to make.

APRILL

Why are you talking like that?

BOBBY FUNTIME

Like what? Also, I feel I should mention that I’m so glad we are friends, even though we constantly butt heads since you are a feminist and I am a typical college frat guy.

APRILL

Are you OK? Are you having a stroke or something?

BOBBY FUNTIME

Haha! Oh, Aprill…you and your funny non-exposition way of talking.

APRILL

Alright…whatever. Here. Hold my beer while I fire up this grill.

BOBBY FUNTIME

Excuse me?

APRILL

Hold. My. Beer.

BOBBY FUNTIME

I thought I was cooking these hamburgers.

APRILL

Well, you thought wrong.

BOBBY FUNTIME

But…um…I’m not sure…do you really think you can handle that?

APRILL

Handle cooking raw meat over a flame, that same thing that even cavemen figured out and small-to-medium-sized children on a campout can do? Yeah…no, I think I got this.

BOBBY FUNTIME

Why don’t you just let me do it?

APRILL

Um…no.

(Aprill fires up the ancient grill, which makes a series of disturbing noises, and Bobby Funtime backs away as a giant mushroom cloud bursts out with a giant WOOSH sound. Aprill waits for the smoke to clear and places the hamburgers on the grill)

BOBBY FUNTIME

Hmm…maybe dragging a grill home from the dump wasn’t such a great idea.

APRILL

No worries. My eyebrows will probably grow back. Although maybe that family of racoons living in there did more damage than we thought.

BOBBY FUNTIME

(hovering behind Aprill who is standing at the grill)

So…when you gonna flip them?

APRILL

When I feel they need to be flipped.

BOBBY FUNTIME

Cause you know I can take over if you’re feeling overwhelmed.

APRILL

I got it, dude.

BOBBY FUNTIME

(now hovering even closer)

Maybe you should flip them now.

APRILL

If you flip them too often, they can lose their juiciness.

BOBBY FUNTIME

(who has now climbed onto Aprill’s back)

Now?…How about now?…Or now?…NOW!?!

(Aprill flips the burgers, Bobby Funtime gives a sigh of relief)

APRILL

Feel better?

BOBBY FUNTIME

Yes…so…when you gonna put cheese on them? …Now?

END SCENE

So ladies, with barbecue season upon us, just remember: Even though we’ve come a long way, baby, no one…and I mean NO ONE…puts our grilled baby back ribs in the corner. Always, ALWAYS, fight for your right to barbecue.

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5 responses to “The politics of cooking

  1. Lady Prichard of the Crimson Sky

    I once worked with a lady (not yourself, obviously) who decided to BBQ to surprise her husband. She put charcoal in the pit and lit it…it was a gas grill not a BBQ pit. Not a combo one either. She’s lucky to still be alive.

  2. In all fairness (but then, who comes here for fairness?) guys will do this with others guys too. The urge to second-guess the grilling is deeply embedded in the genes as a form of competitive-dominance. If dudes could piss on the grill without ruining the beef, they would.

    (Baby back ribs in the corner. Brilliant.)

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