Doing some research into the origins of the custom, or pleasure of eating “Asado”, I found that the Palaeolithic Homo Habilis began to eat raw meat as a staple in his diet, some 2,33 million years ago after being forced to migrate onto the steppes of sub-Saharan Africa.
Later, his successor Homo Ergaster (1,8 million years ago) was the first to use fire, although there is much discussion over this affirmation and many researchers deny it. There is agreement, however, about the discovery of the first deliberately lit and controlled fires, which were found in Gesher Benot Yakpov, Israel and which have been dated some 790000 years ago. They were produced by Homo Erectus.
But what are a million years in relation to what I want to tell you?
There is also a lot of disagreement over the dating of the first clay pots. Most of those that have been discovered date between 10000 and 7000 years ago, although there are those who say that the Neanderthals used them 70000 years ago.
But again what are 60000 or 63000 years difference?
The important fact I am trying to impress upon you is that at the very least “asados” or meat grilled over flame or coals was being eaten 790000 years ago but man ONLY started to cook stews some 70000 years ago!!
Stews and other food cooked in vessels came on the scene some 720000 years after the “ASADO”!!!!
Pots and this new method of cooking has developed enormously up to the present time and in fact was instrumental in the physical changes which man has gone through. Our bodies and indeed, our minds have adapted to different methods and ways of eating, as well as the many varied diets such as macrobiotic, vegetarian, vegan, Mediterranean etc, which we are now used to.
Of course the development of different forms of cooking brought with it many pleasures both for cooks and diners. Having access to, and knowledge of, the latest in cooking, being able to see it and even taste it gives us a certain assurance of our evolution as human beings, at least in the kitchen! (haha)
Grilling was for thousands of years the only known method of cooking. I’m sure primitive man, who had more time than we do, took great care when cooking his prey, making sure that the meat was always at the right distance from the flames in order to ensure it was cooked to perfection.
When someone cooks an “asado”, whether for family, friends or clients he is given the unique opportunity to be source of and partaker in other peoples happiness.
It is a pleasure to manage the fire with its colourful flames, wait for the red coals to appear and cook the meat to perfection, making each piece or cut that leaves the grill a unique work of art. A short lived work of art carefully prepared so as to satisfy each guest, respecting their tastes and favourite cooking point
The rising smoke carries the enticing smell of roast meat and envelopes the man at the grill who, despite the heat, stands by with concentrated attention just as his primitive predecessor did 790000 years ago. All he wants is to ensure that what he is preparing will delight the taste buds.
Those of us who love grilling meat are the heirs of this age-old art.
Grilling is a gift to those around us.
Un aplauso para los asadores…
(Three cheers for the man at the grill!)