Boys and BBQs. Why is this a thing? I was asking myself this yesterday as I was sent into the kitchen to get the buns ready and bring out plates and ketchup etc. whilst the boys tended the two little disposable BBQs we’d bought after spontaneously deciding to have our first BBQ of the year. What is it with men and fire? Does it go back to the caveman era when man tended fire whilst woman made the caveman equivalent to potato salad/other BBQ accompaniments?
This got me thinking about all the other things we consider to be ‘man’ tasks for no other reason that ‘that’s how it is’ – not that I’m complaining really – I’m all for feminism and equality etc., but I’m quite happy to allow the responsibility of the BBQ to remain with the male species. It means I don’t get blamed when the sausages are burnt. I recently read a Telegraph article looking into a survey of 5000 adults on which sex is responsible for everyday household jobs, and apparently women believe that it’s a man’s job to a) get things out the attic b) remove the lids off of sticky jars and c) unblock the toilet. Meanwhile, men believe that it’s a woman’s job to a) remember birthdays b) organise the social calendar and c) replace empty toilet rolls. This fascinates me, all the more because I totally conform to this and I don’t know why. I’m perfectly capable of going into my attic – in fact I love it, it’s got all my forgotten games and old birthday cards and christmas decorations and baby clothes. But I still ask dad to go up and get my suitcase for me when I’m packing to go away.
Other things that have always been left to the man in our household:
- Cleaning the bathroom. I’m not sure if this is just my house, but for some reason it’s always left to dad to do this (again I’m definitely not complaining). My logic behind this is that women have historically been allocated the task of cleaning the house whilst men went to work, so when women started working and demanding that we rid society of these gender stereotypes, they decided to give men one room in the house that they had to clean. This is when Mr Muscle was invented. Because the best way to get a man to don a pair of cleaning gloves is to hand them a nice manly sounding cleaning detergent. Well done women.
- Mowing the lawn. It’s literally walking back and forth with a big electric razor. We shave our legs every week (when we can be bothered), so surely we have better accuracy.
- Taking out the bins. Maybe because men are generally stronger? Because I hear binbags often require the upmost strength when taking 50 yards to the dustbin. Maybe it’s just because me and mum don’t want to get that foul bin juice dripping on our feet.
- Cleaning the oven. This one was actually in the list of women’s tasks in The Telegraph article, so I don’t know how mum managed to convince dad otherwise. I think our house might be a bit backward because of dad’s cleaning OCD – which mainly manifests itself in hoovering. He hoovers every day, without fail. It’s not even that we don’t hoover too – sometimes he hoovers straight after we’ve hoovered just to make sure. Sometimes he hoovers whilst one of us is hoovering, hence why we have two hoovers in the house. I’m only just realising how odd this is.
- Carving the roast dinner. Same kind of logic as the BBQ I’m guessing – man likes fire, man likes to play with sharp piece of metal and carcass.
Weird and illogical as some of these unspoken rules are, I quite like this dishing out of jobs according to gender. It’s not sexist, it just shows that both men and women are responsible for the running of the house, and there’s been a general trend that women fall into doing some things, and men into others. Sometimes mum takes out the bins, sometimes I mow the lawn. One thing will always stay a constant though. Dad will always hoover.
Musing of the day over, I’m going to give the recipe for the leftovers-and-mostly-tinned-things chilli that I made in bulk to last me the last week of uni. It’s banging. I had about a third of a pack of turkey mince at the back of the freezer and I decided to throw in, but feel free to use any mince you want, or make it fully veggie by replacing the mince with more lentils – maybe green or beluga lentils as well as red lentils to give it more texture. Always serve with mountains of avocado, yoghurt, grated cheese and tortilla chips (I was also going to have it with some rice and quinoa but I didn’t have time). Also, I say you can throw anything in the cupboard into it, but don’t skip the chipotle paste and cocoa powder – this gives it all the smokiness. Invest in these and you can use them in fajitas and mole sauce later on in life.
Turkey and lentil anything-in-the-cupboard chilli, makes 5/6 servings
200g lean turkey mince (or normal mince, or sub for lentils/beans)
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 chilli, chopped/minced
1 red pepper, diced
1 tbsp chipotle paste
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp sweet smoked paprika
About 50g red lentils – I didn’t measure, I’d guess maybe 2 handfuls
2 cans tinned tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp cocoa powder
1 tin sweetcorn (2 if you have the small ones)
1 tin kidney beans in water
- Heat oil in a large saucepan on medium heat and fry the mince (if using) until cooked. Add the onion, garlic, red pepper and chilli and continue frying until the onions are soft.
- Add the cumin, paprika and chipotle paste and stir until coated.
- Add the lentils and chopped tomatoes. Fill the two tins up to half way with water, swill them around to get any more tomato juice, and pour into the pan. Stir and season well.
- Add the tomato paste and cocoa powder. Simmer on low/medium for about 40 minutes, until the red lentils are soft.
- Drain the kidney beans and sweetcorn and rinse, before adding to the pan and stirring. Continue heating for another 5 minutes.
- Serve with brown rice/quinoa, avocado, yoghurt, chopped coriander, grated cheddar cheese and tortilla chips.
If you want to see what else we consider ‘man’ jobs and ‘woman’ jobs, have a look at The Telegraph article I found.