Barbecue – little wooden shelter

Barbecue – well, we all know what it means, but search online and it’s hard to decide if it’s more of an event, a cooking method or a style of food (some mavericks even say it’s a certain combination of spices), add to that the fact that there is no clear winner for the correct way to spell it and it can be seen that barbecue is a special kind of word. But I think we all know what barbecue is.

Barbecuing is a very old method cooking, well, not what we think of as barbecuing – that’s just grilling outside (I feel like I may have underestimated just how complex a subject this is).  I mean to say, that there has been arheological evidense of cooking using a frame over a pit from around 200,000 years ago. But we aren’t here for how barbecuing came about, we’re here for words!

The word barbecue comes from the Spanish word ‘barbacoa’, the spanish explorer, Gonzalo Fernández De Oviedo y Valdés (gonz to his friends) was the first to use the term in writing in 1526 when he composed a Spanish dictionary, the word ‘barbacoa’ was actully a misprunciation of the word ‘barabicu’, which was used in the Hatian language to describe ‘a framework of sticks set upon posts’, that’s a bit of a weird definition because the Hatian people used the same word ‘Barbicu’ to descibe a wooden structure used for cooking food and for a wooden structure used for shelter, Haitians woud cook food by placing it on a wooden structure held above a fire. 

In the early 20th cetury came the rise in popularity of the automobile, speed became a way of life, in the USA, as higways were built, restaurants became aware of the need to grab the attentions of the drivers passing by; they would need to use short messages if they were going to be understood by the drivers in the brief time they had, bright signs promising ‘EAT’, ‘CAFE’ and ‘BBQ’ were used to get the message accross succinctly and the barbecue became the BBQ. 

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