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Steven Raichlen Riffing on Ribs

Esteemed barbecue master speaks on the history of grilling

By Mick Vann, Fri., Aug. 10, 2012

Barbecue expert Steven Raichlen will be in town to give a free lecture on the history and evolution of grilling and barbecue at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum on Tuesday, Aug. 14, at 7pm, in the Texas Spirit Theater (www.thestoryoftexas.com). The topic is "Man Food Fire: The Evolution of Barbecue" which will be accompanied by a PowerPoint slide show of some fascinating historical illustrations and photographs. Raichlen packs considerable weight academically, having received a BA in French Literature, a Thomas J. Watson Foundation Fellowship to study medieval cooking in Europe, and a Fullbright Scholarship to study comparative literature. He's written 28 books on food (and a novel) and won five James Beard Awards; hell, he's even taken on and beaten feared Japanese Iron Chef Rokusaburo Michiba in a "Battle of the Barbecue Gods." Reinforced by culinary training stints at both Le Cordon Bleu and La Varenne cooking schools in Paris, Raichlen has devoted the past 14 years and nine book titles to the art of grilling and barbecue. He's had numerous grilling and barbecue series on PBS (most recently Primal Grill), and founded Barbecue University. Raichlen definitely has street cred when it comes to barbecue.

"This lecture began many years ago as a question about why people always have such a visceral connection to barbecue. It's the same all over the world," says Raichlen. "Scientific evidence shows that 1.8 million years ago Homo erectus was the first hominid to roast meats, which led to the growth of social culture around the fire; barbecue begat civilization as we know it." His lecture will cover the five periods of barbecue: the evolution of grilling and barbecue; barbecue's relation to religion; the Age of Discovery; and Colonial America to modern times. Raichlen will also cover the growth of barbecue from an act of public celebration, to being able to eat barbecue in restaurants, plus the development of barbecue equipment and supplies to use at home. He'll give us a quick world tour of global barbecue, finishing up with a Q&A session and book signing of Planet Barbecue!, The Barbecue! Bible, and the new Best Ribs Ever. Space is limited, so RSVP by calling 936-4649.

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