I Know What You’re Thinking

"What the world really needs is a special barbecue book FOR THE LADIES," amiright?

Fortunately for all you wimminz who've been too intimidated by your grill-hogging menfolk to "take your place back at the fire," this blatant deficiency in the world of cookbook publishing has been remedied.

Enter She-Smoke—a book of barbecue recipes, advice, and stories from "smokin' women" by Seattle restaurateur Julie Reinhardt. You may not have been aware that women need to "stand up for our barbecue rights," but once you read a few pages of She-Smoke, you'll understand that the typical American woman suffers from "firephobia," believes that her "grill could blow up at any moment," feels "iffy with big hunks of raw meat," and thinks barbecue is "scary."

But aside from learning not to "fear the fire," what gender-specific barbecue knowledge, you might wonder, are women lacking? Well, for the most part, Reinhardt's book reads pretty much like any guide to backyard barbecue, with tips about how to light a fire, how (and how long) to cook various meats, and so forth. Leave out the constant, cutesy references to "kickass 'cue girls," "smokin' barbecue blazers," and "knife-wielding babes," and what you're left with is actually a pretty good, if basic, guide to barbecueing and grilling that would be appropriate for any novice, man or woman.

So why "She-Smoke"? Obviously, it's a marketing gimmick—reel the ladies in with the one barbecue book directed at them—so I'm inclined to ignore the fact that it dresses up finding yet another way to cook for men as "female empowerment." In any case, as someone who owns several barbecue books (and several dozen cookbooks) myself, I'm betting this tactic's going to backfire. When I look for a book on an unfamiliar subject, I don't pick up the one whose color or cover or title seems best marketed to my demographic. (Oooh, pink!) I buy whichever one seems the best. You know, kind of
like a man would.


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