Is grilling meat part of the DNA transmitted by Neanderthals?

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Being on excursion with two guys who take care of almost everything, buying food, cooking dinner, making breakfast and washing the dishes – could life be better? They even remembered to buy a dry white wine for me, and one of my favourites, a delicious French apricot pie! The only thing I need to do is sitting down at the breakfast table and eat, or sitting down at the ready dinner table and eat. The only thing I need to take care of is the excursion.

Today’s simple dinner consisted of duck liver (homemade by Florence’s mother), plum marmalade, and fresh bread; grilled beef flavored with salvia, and grilled merguez; and a fresh tomato salad; finally as desert, an apricot pie. Of course suitable wines accompanied each of the different courses. For sure, grilling meat is a male thing, isn’t it? How many women have you seen, who become really engaged in grilling meat? Not so very many I guess. I also think, that grilling meat is a very old custom that has been passed on from father to son over thousands and thousands of generations. Thus, I hypothesize that the grilling meat gene comes from the Neanderthals and that it had been transmitted to Homo sapiens during some of the encounters we had with the Neanderthals, who ate loads of meat. Or maybe it came all the way with Homo sapiens directly from Africa, where Homo heidelbergensis and Homo ergaster had been the meat-grilling champions? For sure, Svante Päboo will soon discover the meet-grilling gene, once he has completely sequenced all the Neanderthal genes.

Was it the good food, or the many glasses of wine? Suddenly we were in the middle of a heated discussion regarding gender issues, gender equality and gender certification in academia. It is a bit difficult to reconstruct this discussion in detail, and maybe it is even better if I don’t, but the final conclusion of it was that everything starts at home. If women don’t demand more space, if women don’t demand more time, if couples don’t share everything really equally, and if women instead continue to take on a larger share in terms of child care and household issues, then they will inevitably lag behind their male colleagues. Why are many men so successful? Because they have someone at home who takes care of most things. Now of course some of you will say: “then we have to change the whole system, and decrease the demands in academia, so that life becomes more equal; anyway it is a system that had been designed by men”. I am afraid that this will not be possible, at least not for the coming decades; academia is competition; you either win or loose, and much of this depends on you (plus a little help, of course, and some luck).

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