Sunday Tips: Definition Edition

Barbecue (Fr.) Originally the method of cooking (roasting) an animal whole; to dress and roast whole; a social entertainment where the food is cooked outside in the open. – Mrs. Beeton

This just has is all: history, historical take on history, etymology…and atmosphere. A few years back, during my undergraduate archaeology days (before a) I realized I had little desire to do a 9-year PhD, and then b) wound up in law school) I spent a summer digging in Greece and living with the rest of the excavation team in a small village on the Aegean coast. This village didn’t have any real restaurants – just a few bars which served amazing mezze and gyros – but every weekend the local butcher would set up tables on the patio next to his shop and serve lamb. Or rather, serve a lamb. A whole lamb would be stuck on a spit and roasted in an open brick hearth and bits would be hacked off as people ordered. Our dig’s Polish ceramics expert once ordered the head; the butcher happily served it up, eyeballs and all.

If only I had the outdoor space to do a whole-animal roast. I’d totally use the offal to try Mrs. Beeton’s haggis recipe, and have people over for some really old-school revelry. Sadly, I don’t even have the indoor space to prepare something like that: my kitchen is luxurious by Manhattan standards (it has a real doorway!) but I still only have about 1.5 yards of counter space, total, and this amazing article by Bill Buford details the pitfalls of whole-animal butchery in The City…

Getting back to American Barbecue: I really posted this because it reminded me that I’m going to Dinosaur BBQ Tuesday and that I am REALLY excited to dig into a Tres Hombres platter (“A spirited serving of Bar-B-Que pork, Texas Beef Brisket (sliced) & Bar-B-Que ribs”). This will probably feed me for 2 days. Maybe I’ll even look into my Army Wives Casserole Book to figure out what to do with the leftovers…

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3 Comments

Filed under Sunday Tips

3 responses to “Sunday Tips: Definition Edition

  1. Mimi Leveque

    I was given a copy of the Whole Duty of a Woman, 1737, as a wedding present and it gives even more ambitious recipes than Mrs. Beeton– who was afraid of everything including bread yeast and tomatoes. This book will even tell you how to make a tun of beer, in case the regiment comes for dinner. xxmimi

  2. Christina

    Do you really want to roast a whole animal?! Because I know a certain warehouse in Baltimore that has a huge backyard area that would love to be home to an animal roast… Weird for a vegan to advocate for, I suppose, but if you ever want to try….

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