Barbecue weather: when 21st century men become Vikings and Border Reivers – Susan Morrison

That was a bit of a scorcher, eh? Scotland sizzled like a sausage on the barbie, which, of course, my husband immediately rolled out and fired up.

For some many good weather means barbecues and burnt food (Picture: Ian Waldie/Getty Images)
For some many good weather means barbecues and burnt food (Picture: Ian Waldie/Getty Images)

It’s a curious thing, this link between burning your dinner outdoors and men. Blokes who scarce set foot in a kitchen to so much as warm a steak bake suddenly feel the need to poke the embers in a use-once barbeque kit and pontificate on sauces and marinades.

To be fair, my husband does do the cooking in this house. It is considered safer. But even he heeds the call of the barbie grill.

Trips to B&Q are never complete until he’s had a moment contemplating the gas-powered monsters on display. And he's not alone. There are nearly always at least two other blokes twiddling the knobs in an appreciative silence.

Is it a caveman thing? Perhaps some sort of buried memory in the DNA of being a Viking and burning York? Something inside the genes that remembers roasting a boar and eating it around a blazing fire?

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There’s an account of some 15th century Scots Border Reivers raiding England who did exactly that. They first acquired a fine big hog – presumably from a fairly peeved English peasant – then roasted the beast over a roaring fire. They also threw apples into the embers and ate them.

Three things about that. One, I can practically hear male barbie chefs muttering “that’s a good idea”. To clarify, not the raiding England bit, I mean the apples.

Two, yes, it is a good idea and three, substitute our pig-nicking, apple-filching Scots for two North East of England chefs and what you’ve got there is a new Hairy Bikers series.

Once Dave’s cancer treatment is all done and dusted, get back on those motorbikes, lads, and let's see Hairy Bikers Go A-Reiving. Just don’t burn down any farms.

Yes, I suspect the humble barbie is a memory jogger for men to a time when all food was burned outside. Then women came along and spoiled the fun, demanding artisan hot dog rolls, napkins and paper plates.