Be a Man: Learn to Cook

by Brett & Kate McKay on November 18, 2008 · 68 comments

in Food & Drink, Travel & Leisure

Image from jazzejungueinc

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Scott Kustes, author of the Modern Forager blog. Check it out and sign up for his RSS updates.

Back at the beginning of July, Brett asked the question, “Is Cooking Manly?” The poll results were astoundingly lopsided: 95% yes, 5% no. It looks like a vast majority of us are convinced that being able to turn a heap of meat and vegetables into a delicious meal is a vital skill for a man to have.

Why then does it seem that so many men are unable to do something as simple as grilling a proper steak, much less doing something more involved like making a pot of soup (an exceedingly simple task)? Frankly, I know so many guys that would have trouble feeding themselves if a blizzard came through that it’s laughable.

Why do so many of us think it’s manly to cook, yet are unable to do so? Obviously the average male thinks it’s great to be able to slap a steak or some pork chops on the grill. But what about cooking in the kitchen? Is the kitchen the realm of women? Today, let’s look at some reasons that every man should be able to put together a meal, and by “meal” I mean meat AND side dishes, cooked on a grill, a cast iron skillet, or in the oven.

A Man Is Independent

An overriding theme of The Art Of Manliness is that a man should be independent. But a man that can’t quickly throw together a meal is always going to be dependent on someone else to feed him, be that his wife, girlfriend, or McDonald’s. Dependency is not an admirable trait in a man. You don’t want to be the guy that has to turn to frozen pizzas just because your finer half decided to have Cosmos with the ladies.

If you depend on someone to provide you with something that you require daily, can you really consider yourself independent? Seriously, we pride ourselves on our proficiency with power tools, yet few of us touch a power tool on a weekly basis. But we do touch food every single day, yet lots of guys have relegated cooking to a woman’s job.

A Man Is Healthy And Strong

It’s been proven time after time: cooking at home is vastly healthier than eating out, especially if “eating out” means grabbing fast food. At home, you can control the ingredients used and the cooking methods. There are no hidden ingredients in your kitchen. You’ll be leaner, more muscular, and healthier. And there’s nothing manly about a guy that’s weak and sickly.

A Man Provides For Himself And Others

Remember that bit about independence above? Well, along with being able to provide for himself, a man that can cook can provide for the most important people in his life – his family and friends. Providing food for others has long been a manly trait, from our hunter-gatherer days of bringing home the mastodon, through modern times when most of the renowned chefs in the world are males. The ability to put together a complete meal when your wife is sick or tired (or sick and tired, probably of your crap) is very manly.

A Man Spends Time With His Family

Want to be involved in your kids’ lives? Spend time with them. Want to find out about the new boy your daughter has been hanging out with or what your son is doing after school? Spend some time with them.

No one could possibly argue that it’s unmanly to spend time with one’s wife and kids. I saw several commenters talk about how cooking or grilling allows them to spend quality time with their kids. So what about being able to provide them with a tasty dinner, while talking to them about their day at school or work?

Better yet, spend time with them in the kitchen. You can teach them the necessary skills to be healthy and independent while also being a father. Imagine raising a son that isn’t afraid to turn on the oven, that is comfortable wielding a knife, chopping vegetables, and understands how to saute an onion. Imagine him being able to select and combine herbs and spices. Imagine him teaching these same traits to your grandkids.

Bonuses

Here are two bonuses for the man that can cook.

It Impresses The Ladies
There seems to be two skills that women are unable to resist. One is handiness with a guitar or a set of drums. The second is the ability to throw together a damn righteous meal. There are others, but we’ll start with these two. If you master one of these, you’re on the right track to getting to show her your other skills.

Now, there’s no question that me with a musical instrument is bad for the ears of anyone within earshot. However, I have that second skill mastered. And here’s the fun part: you don’t have to throw together an artistic dinner; as long as it tastes good and looks and smells appetizing, you’re impressing her. You don’t have to go all Iron Chef or make the plate look like you’re eating at a French restaurant where you’re spending $60 per plate. A bit of attention to detail and being cognizant of food style won’t hurt, but it’s not a necessity.

It Saves Money
How much money? Well, for around $75 per week, I eat about 3000 calories per day of locally-raised grass-fed beef and lamb; pastured pork and poultry; wild seafood; bags full of seasonal fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices from the farmer’s market; and plenty of healthy fats from olive and coconut oils. When I hear someone say, “How can I eat healthy if I only have $100 a week to spend on food?,” I laugh. It’s not a lack of money, but a lack of planning that keeps most of us guys from feeding ourselves right.

I will guarantee that when you factor in a drink or two each, salads, entrees, and tip, you can’t walk out of a plain Jane restaurant with a date for under $40, let alone some place that’ll serve something as tasty as you can cook up on your own. As an example, I recently cooked up 2 pounds of grilled lamb chops with side dishes, salads, and a bottle of good wine for about $25 and that served my date and I and provided leftovers for me to have another meal. I couldn’t even have purchased that bottle of wine at a restaurant for $25.

Be A Man: Learn To Cook

So in the end, is it manly to cook? I think it’s unmanly not to be able to cook. I grew up in a household where my Step-dad could flat out throw down in the kitchen. And hot damn if he couldn’t cook up a killer meal, meat, vegetables, and plenty of flavor all included. The role of male cooking in the household wasn’t restricted to lighting a grill and slapping down a slab of beast.

So what does it take to be a decent cook? It’s really quite simple. Can you read? If you can read, you can cook. All you have to be able to do is measure a few ingredients and follow some simple instructions. After a little while following someone else’s directions (ask for favorite recipes from your Mom, Grandma, and if you were lucky enough to have a dad that cooked, Dad), you’ll learn what flavors you like and figure out how to incorporate them into your own recipes. Deference to someone that knows more than you and experimentation, are yet two more manly traits that go with cooking.

The real key to cooking is simply advanced preparation. The ability to think ahead, spend 45 minutes in the grocery store with a list, and pull together the necessary meats and vegetables for your week of cooking makes it easy to be sure Ramen and a can of tuna doesn’t become Tuesday night’s dinner.

So sharpen your knives, stock the fridge, and get to cooking. Really, the worst thing that’s going to happen is that you’ll eat something that doesn’t taste very good a few times.

So what are your thoughts? Is it not only manly to cook, but decidedly unmanly to be unable to cook? What other manly traits come along with the ability to cook? What have you gained from being handy in the kitchen?

If you’re looking for some manly recipes, make sure to download the Art of Manliness Man Cookbook.

{ 67 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Oracle989 November 18, 2008 at 9:19 pm

I couldn’t agree more. If you can’t cook, you lose money from eating your sack of greaseball burgers, don’t get to taste new flavors, miss opportunities, and, as you said, are dependent on others or no-cook foods. That’s one skill a man needs to have, because you use it constantly.

2 El Tigre November 18, 2008 at 10:33 pm

Really good, really well written article. I am glad you explored the strange disparity between the number of men who say they want to cook and the number of men who actually do. I’m not sure what is holding most men back-perhaps old traditional gender roles play a subconscious role.

Some of the coolest men I have known have been whizzes in the kitchen. I’m always so impressed when I visit them and they whip me up some culinary delights.

3 Bob Iger November 19, 2008 at 2:23 am

I cook on a daily basis for my family and I find myself fully agreeing with this article. Excellent piece of advice!

4 Valeria | TimelessLessons November 19, 2008 at 3:01 am

The best place to take charge of your life IS the kitchen: Eat right and you’ll lose weight, build muscle, and burn more fat than you ever could with exercise alone. The energy you’ll get from smart eating will help everywhere else, from the office to the bedroom. And women are enamored with the idea of you cooking for them, whether the food is any good or not, trust me. :)

5 Roger Imhada November 19, 2008 at 4:41 am

Cooking and providing great food for a date or your family is an extremely manly thing to do. Why not take it ine step furthur and learn how to field dress a deer and then cut it up a freeze it. Manliness in extremis.

6 ep November 19, 2008 at 4:58 am

I would love to put down 3000 calories a day, but I can’t seem to come up with foods that get there other than the occasional party-sized lasagna. It’s difficult to come up with high calorie breakfasts and lunches that can be eaten everyday. Could you offer some suggestions?

7 Jonathan November 19, 2008 at 5:11 am

Similarly to learning a language, in order to become interested in “American” cooking, I learned another cuisine, Indian, and applied lessons from that to learning other cuisines. Julie Sahni has a good book on Indian cooking, if anyone is interested – http://www.amazon.com/Julie-Sahnis-Introduction-Indian-Cooking/dp/0898159768

8 Granata November 19, 2008 at 5:29 am

Not sure how many calories are in it, but for breakfast every day I have 3 egs, about half a cup of ground buffalo and lamb, and about as much brown rice and black beans. It would suck to make that from scratch every day, but I’ve got all the meat, rice and beans I need cooked up by Sunday for the coming week.

For lunch I have grilled chicken on a salad. Again, all the chicken I need for the week is cooked on Sunday. That makes lunch prep wicked fast.

By the way, a great website that I found a while back that is a fantastic source for those learning to cook is http://www.startcooking.com. The site features quick videos that are entertaining and a blog.

9 Ken November 19, 2008 at 6:04 am

As I always tell my kids when I burn their dinner … All the best chefs in history were men: Chef Boyardee, Col. Sanders, Ronald McDonald …

10 Pat November 19, 2008 at 6:07 am

My mother always said “if you can read, you can cook!” It is nothing more than chemistry with a knife.

11 Peter Hopkins November 19, 2008 at 6:22 am

Among the many benefits of being the cook in the family is: I have to stop work and walk away from my computer. That opens up a whole range of other pleasantries including pouring a cocktail, putting together small plates of delicious little snack goodies, and sitting down and having a conversation.

Learn to cook!

12 Eric November 19, 2008 at 6:35 am

What about some cookbook recommendations? Ever been to the cookbook section of a bookstore and been confused about where to begin? I need something basic, with plenty of pictures and detailed explanation. I know part of the art of cooking is making it up as you go, but with my limited experience some solid guidance would be nice.

13 AK November 19, 2008 at 6:40 am

@Eric – Cookbooks tend to focus on a theme, a particular chef’s signature dishes, or a particular ingredient. There are many all-purpose cookbooks out there, but because your choices are so saturated, it’s usually best to find one or two sources that simply have thousands of options within them.

Of course maybe you know what I’m getting at: stick to the internet to start. I highly recommend http://www.epicurious.com and using their advanced search to find recipes that are quick and healthy. Beware, though: they tend to gather their recipes from more gourmet sources, so check lists of ingredients to make sure you’re not about to head out to the store and buy $18-worth of truffle oil for once recipe in which you won’t even be able to taste it.

Just stick to basics, and use the advance search, read the articles, and peruse at length.

A simpler site, and another great option, is http://www.cooking.com/Recipes-And-More/

14 Erik November 19, 2008 at 6:42 am

Watching Good Eats on Food Network taught me the proper way to cook. My issue with cookbooks is they tell you what to do, but not why. Therefore I’m at their mercy following directions but not understanding the purpose.

Good Eats explained why you do the things you do and what happens when food cooks. Now with that understanding, I’m more relaxed in the kitchen and can easily tailor recipies to my family’s tastes.

If it weren’t for Alton Brown, I’d never cook. BTW, my mother-in-law now requests that I make the Thanksgiving turkey since the one I make (thanks to Alton Brown) is amazing. If that isn’t high praise, I don’t know what is.

He has a couple of cookbooks out (I’m Just Here for the Food and I’m Just Here for More Food) that cover the why’s as well as the how’s.

Erik says, check him out.

15 AK November 19, 2008 at 6:42 am

I’m going to throw one word of advice for all would-be manly cooks out there: while impressive that a man can cook, make sure not you’re inadvertently usurping your significant other’s desire to help. I got yelled at the other day by my girlfriend because I never let her help in the kitchen, and I’m always such a control freak. If he or she asks to help, graciously accept.

16 AK November 19, 2008 at 6:46 am
17 Spoon November 19, 2008 at 6:54 am

I can’t speak for all men, but I do know some of the reasons I don’t cook. Before I start, though, let me say that I can cook. I learned some from my mother and some from working in the grill at a Chick-Fil-A Dwarf House (where, unlike normal CFA’s, they also have normal restaurant dishes, such as hamburgers, steaks, stir-fry, etc.).

So, the three reasons why I don’t often cook: priorities (I would say time, but it’s really not so much a question of time, but of how I prioritize it), laziness (yeah, an unmanly trait; hey, I’m a work in progress!), and my wife (she really enjoys cooking).

I will add this to the article, though: Not only will you impress ladies with your mad cooking skills, but cooking with your lady can make a wonderful date.

18 Nesagwa November 19, 2008 at 6:57 am

It always makes my mind boggle when I hear people say 75 dollars a week on food. Seriously?

Maybe I lived poor for too long, but I only spend about 150 at the most every two months on TWO people buying meat and vegetables.

19 Hut November 19, 2008 at 7:02 am

It’d definitely manly. Read “Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly” by Anthony Bourdain. Great stories and a ton of excellent advice and tips for home cooking like a pro. I now make my own demi-glace and have a couple of different flavored olive oil in $.99 ketchup bottles to enhance flavor and give a great presentation with little effort.

20 Craig November 19, 2008 at 7:10 am

opensourcefood.com best place to find recipes.

21 NZR November 19, 2008 at 7:36 am

I grew up surrounded by gourmet cooks in the family, including my dad. When I left home for college back in 2000, I was roundly disappointed in the food choices (yet amazed by seeing mac and cheese in a BOX for the first time…). Because I was spoiled for the first 18 years of my life, I had to learn to cook and cook well in order to just sustain myself with comfort foods and other items I have been used to eating.
Now that I am married, I do most of the cooking in the house and my wife loves it. I even cooked a family meal for her family when I first met them (throwing things together bought in a rural Canadian supermarket and cooked in a rustic cabin).

Whenever I have a bad day at work, I threaten attending culinary school.

22 bfwebster November 19, 2008 at 10:23 am

My wife has said for many years that foreplay begins in the kitchen. I’m not sure if she is referring to cooking (which I do a lot of) or cleaning up, but both do wonders for your marriage relationship. ..bruce..

23 Santa November 19, 2008 at 11:35 am

I think women need to learn to cook more than men do. Especially nowadays. I’m convinced most women under 30 don’t even know how to cook spaghetti and meatballs without opening a can of Chef Boyardee.

24 lady brett November 19, 2008 at 11:36 am

yes! i learned to cook from my dad, who always cooked our meals. he didn’t learn until he was an adult, because to this day his mother will not let him in her kitchen because he’s a man.

of course, for my generation, i know just as many women who can’t cook as men. most people are just stuck on the convenience of eating out or just heating up dinner (or were never taught how to cook). too bad, i totally agree with this post.

@eric – i’d recommend the better homes and gardens cookbook for anybody (it’s plaid, easy to find). it has really good step-by-step instructions, cooking 101-type basics, and a wide variety of recipes. now i don’t use the recipes a whole lot, but it is an excellent kitchen reference book. and it’s only $15 for the paperback one.

25 Steve November 19, 2008 at 11:42 am

The money quote for me is: “There seems to be two skills that women are unable to resist. One is handiness with a guitar or a set of drums. The second is the ability to throw together a damn righteous meal.”

Then again, I’m handy with a set of drums.

Thanks for another top-notch and humorous post.

26 BRZ November 19, 2008 at 11:44 am

I like to cook and am learning new things all the time. Instead of saying “the meal I cooked was delicious” or “I make a scrumptious pork roast,” I say “My pork roast is so good it will melt your face off.” IMHO it is a little less wimpy sounding :)

27 NZR November 19, 2008 at 12:08 pm

I agree on the women learning to cook points that were brought up. While I believe a woman shouldn’t be exclusively in the kitchen, abandoning all culinary skills is bad too. I have seen women who are apathetic to cooking, believe that a woman’s time in the kitchen is over, etc. EVERYONE should be involved.
While I can be a little bossy with cooking, it is something my wife and I love to do together.

28 Scott Kustes - Modern Forager November 19, 2008 at 12:10 pm

Hey all, thanks for the comments. It’s good to see that men really do think cooking is a valuable skill.

ep, I eat a lot of fat. Since I go with grass-fed/pastured meat sources, I don’t trim the fat. I also cook in lots of coconut or palm oil or pastured pork lard. I’m not shy of adding a tbsp or two of olive oil to my dinner vegetables and probably give my huge salads ~3 tbsp of olive oil. My diet is actually about 60% fat from the above sources, and about 20-25% protein, the rest is carbohydrate, nearly all from vegetables and fruits. I don’t eat many grains.

Granata, that is a great idea. Cook just once or twice a week (all on Sunday or a Sunday/Wednesday split).

Eric, I don’t really have any cookbook recommendations. As others have pointed out, it’s typically based on a theme, like Mexican or Italian. I have glanced through the cookbook that the AoM readers put together and that’s a good place to start. I typically use Google. So if I want to come up with something for a beef roast, I just Google “beef roast recipe”. You can add other ingredients to the query, like “beef roast thyme recipe” to find recipes with thyme in them. Epicurious and cooking.com will have good stuff as well. World’s Healthiest Foods also has some interesting recipes from time to time and you can subscribe to them via RSS.

AK, definitely! Great advice. Cooking together is an even better way to bond than cooking for her. I can be a bit of a control freak in the kitchen, so it’s something I have to watch.

Brett, thanks for the opportunity to put together a post for you.

Cheers
Scott Kustes
Modern Forager

29 Scott Kustes - Modern Forager November 19, 2008 at 12:13 pm

I also agree with the commenters that point out that few women under 30 can cook either. It’s sad that we’ve relegated cooking to microwaving something from a box. Women and men alike need to know how to cook. I suppose this article could be repurposed for Art of Womanliness, huh? :-D

Cheers
Scott Kustes
Modern Forager

30 John of Indiana November 19, 2008 at 1:56 pm

Why wouldn’t a man think of cooking as a Manly Art? With the exception of Julia Child and the upstarts on FoodTV, all the Great Chefs were men.

Yet I’m sure we all know of at least ONE man, who if not for fast food pits and/or the pity of a some woman (mom, likely) would starve to death.

I enjoy making food, and not just slapping raw meat on hot iron ’till it’s edible, either.

Outstanding Article! I’m hungry now!

31 elena November 19, 2008 at 3:12 pm

not only is cooking great for all the reasons mentioned in the article, I also find it really relaxing. starting dinner when I get home from work or school is a nice way to unwind from the day, and even though it can be hectic, I do enjoy it.

I learned to cook from my dad, and while I do use recipes for inspiration or to try new ingredients that I’m not familiar with, we both cook with our senses. meaning, look, touch, and smell while you shop; smell and taste everything while you cook! just do what feels right. if you start with ingredients you like, it’s pretty hard to screw up. and experimentation is a lot more fun than following someone else’s formula. you’ll make lots of mistakes, and you’ll learn from all of them.

start with soup— it’s the most forgiving thing in the world, and very satisfying to make from scratch. bon appétit!

32 Danny November 19, 2008 at 3:20 pm

I too am baffled at why some people think cooking isn’t manly. I would think being able to prepare food would be one of the manliest things someone COULD do.

There’s an article on Primer Magazine about understanding the different parts of the cow and which steaks are better, etc. It’s worth checking out.

33 Eelfinn_Ty November 19, 2008 at 3:42 pm

My favorite recipe site is http://www.supercook.com/ It allows you to put in the ingredients you have and it will give you recipes that use those items.

34 the dakota kid November 19, 2008 at 4:22 pm

Although I am only 34, I have met more ladies that either can’t or will not cook. A few have said “when I get married, I will have to learn” or “that was my mother’s job” or “my husband will have to cook for me” I thought we all have to eat, regardless of gender, orientation or political outlook!

In regards to the comment about people spending an unbelievable amount of 75 USD a week on food, I can tell you that will not get you much in South Korea or most other places around the world. Could a Brit live on 37.50-40 GBP a week? I know of few Germans that can live on 60 Euros a week

35 Jimmy Rogers November 19, 2008 at 8:57 pm

You don’t have to cook very WELL, you just have to be pretty decent and be able to make a few simple meals…that will go far with any lady…it’s still above their expectations.

What I’m seeing more and more is that few girls can really cook anymore. At least the ones I know….

36 TTTimo November 20, 2008 at 4:41 am

Very manly if a man who cannot cook takes on the challenge to learn to cook. Well.

37 Daniel November 20, 2008 at 6:04 am

I have to agree that a lot of younger women do not seem to know how to cook, I was talking to a young lady on campus once, and she said “I am trying to lose more weight, but it is so hard to find meals-for-one that are healthy and taste nice.” I pointed out that she might want to learn how to cook and make herself healthy meals, and she called me a chauvinist pig. I am in no doubt regarding the equality of the sexes, but what in gods name does that have to do with cooking? Both sexes eat.

38 Harland November 20, 2008 at 6:55 am

I totally agree. Learning to cook is essential to being a man. We need to understand what we put in to our bodies. And you learn that best by making what you eat. And of course it is sexy to cook for the ladies!
I also love to cook b/c of the science aspect. Being able to understand the tastes and reactions that are involved, plus a touch of artistry is why I cook.
If you want to really master that I recommend you read “On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen” by Harold McGee – an awesome reference for understanding the science of food.
You can also get a great anecdotal account by reading “Heat” by Bill Buford about learning how to cook Italian including at Babbo’s (Mario Batali’s restaurant).

39 Ann November 20, 2008 at 7:29 pm

My boyfriend earned infinite points the other day when he made me a delicious breakfast and when I complimented him on it, he said, “You’ve done a great job teaching me about cooking.”

Great food and ego-stroking: he will henceforth and forever be able to get away with almost anything.

(Incidentally, he already knew how to cook when I met him. I just taught him some more advanced techniques.)

40 Kevin November 20, 2008 at 7:51 pm

This is all very logical. However, I have two problems: I’m single and I like variety. I have found it’s hard to grocery shop for a variety of meals that serve one person without items going bad before I use them. My mother tells me to cook normal meals and keep leftovers, but I’m not a fan of eating the same dish multiple times a week. Any suggestions?

41 Andrew R November 20, 2008 at 8:34 pm

“A man who doesn’t spend time with his family can never be a real man.”
(The Godfather)

Enough said… great article Scott!

All the Best,

Andrew R

42 Guitarinstructor November 20, 2008 at 9:27 pm

Whether it’s a man or woman, everyone should learn cooking as it is the most important part of our life. Again cooking is an art. playing guitar is again reflects a happy mood in u as well as your ability to make creativeness.

43 Brad November 20, 2008 at 9:39 pm

I made breakfast for a girl once. Just an omellete and some fruit. I didn’t think it even turned out that good. But she said it made her feel “special.” In girl-speak I think that rates pretty high.

So maybe you don’t even have to be able to do it all that well. You just need to be able to do it.

And being single is actually a boon for learning. You can try new things all the time and you don’t have to worry about making something someone won’t eat as long as you yourself are not too picky.

44 Shannon Schneider November 21, 2008 at 6:16 am

I share a German and Italian heritage and a man cooking has always been a rich tradition in my family. My personal roots in cooking tie back to my Nana and my mother more than anyone else. Many weekends spent with my Nana growing up included cooking lessons and some of the best films you can imagine. There has never been a better plate of scrambled eggs since she passed away. I also took in some of the absolute best films with her, her favorite actors included John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Charles Bronson and many others. My Mother is a Chef and I have learned a lot from her. Recently my cousin was married and after a solid night of drinking during his bachelor party, I made a concoction to ease all of our hangovers. When we arrived, I found my Mother (also the caterer for the wedding) behind a little bit. So off came the jacket, shirt and tie and on with the apron. Not only was it a delight to help my mother but there is a joy I find in making delicious food for friends and family but also the occasional stranger. I could never cook for a living but I enjoy in this capacity. If you have never delighted someone else with a surprise like this, do so. You don’t need to have a background like mine to do this either. My signature dish was developed through nothing more than experimentation. Imagine the joy I had the day my mother asked me for the recipe.

45 Shannon Schneider November 21, 2008 at 6:24 am

Brett, I also meant to ask you where you buy your meat and produce locally. I really like Conrad’s in north Bixby.

46 Rod Newbound, RN November 23, 2008 at 6:03 am

Nice post Scott. Thanks.

As I was fortunate enough to grow up in a home where my dad was always called upon for those special dinners (he had been a cook in the Officer’s mess in the Army), I didn’t grow up with some stereotype about men and cooking.

Oddly, my mother is the one who really taught me to cook. And I’ve been enjoying it for nearly 50 years. My wife loves it that I cook 95% of the meals in our house… and do most of the grocery shopping.

I find cooking very relaxing (but don’t get in my way when I’m cooking). And I love to try new recipes.

Thanks Mom!

47 Bernie W. November 27, 2008 at 12:54 pm

Two of the best books for guys who don’t think they can cook:

A Man, A Can, A Plan: 50 Great Guy Meals
A Man, A Can, A Grill

48 Learn guitar December 18, 2008 at 11:29 pm

Although you would like to start playing the lead guitar stood up or jumping around, this really isn’t the best way to learn. You will find it a lot easier if you practice your playing when sat in a comfortable chair. Watch the video session and start practicing by sitting at home.

49 Max December 29, 2008 at 9:25 am

The manliest way of cooking: inventing your own kitchen.

50 Kevster March 3, 2009 at 10:53 am

You say “sharpen those knives” right at the end there; That’s a point worth examining. It’s extra manly to keep your kitchen knives sharp.

For starters, sitting out on the porch sharpening up your kitchen knives is publicly manly without being obnoxious or overbearing. Your neighbours will say, “Now there’s a man who knows how to sharpen a knife!”

Secondly, a sharp knife helps you chop stuff like a real chef: quickly, and with confidence. Take a SHARP wide-blade chefs knife with a slightly curved cutting edge, one hand on the handle, and the heel of your other hand steadying the tip, and rock back and forth quickly. Chopchopchopchop. Minced garlic in seconds flat, without using one of those pansy garlic presses. It will take a bit of practice to get the technique down. Watch your fingers.

Thirdly, a sharp knife is a safe knife. It will cut through things rather than sliding sideways off of things and taking off your finger. Try to cut a carrot lengthwise with a dull knife for a demonstration. A sharp knife will not mangle your food OR your extremities. And if you do have an accident, it will be easier for the doctors to reattach if it’s a clean cut.

Finally, don’t let those knife sharpening vans that still come around in some neighbourhoods touch your expensive kitchen knives. Wasting money on simple things you can do yourself with minimal effort is not very manly in the first place, but if you have a good set of kitchen knives, then you’ll want to sharpen them properly according to the manifacturers specifications, and not on a grinding wheel that was just used to sharpen a lawnmower blade. I have a friend who’s wife thought she’d do him a favour and have the sharpening guy sharpen up his knives – they were never the same again, all full of burs and rough spots.

51 William March 20, 2009 at 10:57 am

As I Culinary school bound high school senior i have always enjoyed the art of cooking. I have a tradition with a bunch of my freinds where we all get together and cook a dish then feast on the fruit of our labors. Some of the best times of my life where over a home cooked meal.

52 Ike April 6, 2009 at 11:53 am

I just skimmed the comment section, so I don’t know if anyone mentioned this, but I think that no kitchen should be without a Julia Child cookbook. It’s a little more upscale, and it shows your more sensitive side.

In addition to cooking, I think that the art of baking is also important for a man to know. There’s nothing quite like making a sandwich from the leftover steak you grilled last week with a couple of slabs of homemade bread.

53 Jake April 7, 2009 at 1:20 pm

I come from food on both sides. My mother’s father was a butcher and my father’s father was a bagel baker and owned a deli. I learned how to cut a side of beef, stuff sausage, slow cook, bake, pickle, and turn about any animal into some kind of soup. I do pretty much all the cooking in my house. I love to prepare large meals for people, its a hobby of mine.

And just in case anyone was questioning my manliness, I have a degree in engineering, drive a 4×4 pickup, weld, hunt, shoot, and wear a beard.

P.S. One of my favorite recepies is to take a beef shank bone and cut the ends off, wrap it in foil, and bake at 400deg for 30 min. The using the handle of a long woden spoon push the marrow out the end of the bone and mix it with minced onion and garlic. Use it as a topping for meat dishes or heavy bread. I do

54 R. J. Vincent July 30, 2009 at 5:56 pm

I learned to cook from both my mom and my dad. My mom showed me how to cook in a kitchen and my dad taught me the manly art of grilling. We used to have family get togethers at my parents’ house and all my cousins would rave about my dad’s grilling skills. I also learned a lot about cooking by working in a restaurant for a couple of years. I learned a lot about how to tell when a steak is at the desired doneness, how to make sauces and other necessary skills. I still use them to this day. Knowing how to sharpen and keep knives sharp is an essential part of cooking. I enjoy cooking for myself and my significant other. Cooking is most definitely a manly skill and it most definitely will impress a lady. A man does not live (long) on fast food alone.

55 Justin September 18, 2009 at 11:54 am

I agree totally with a man being independent, we should be able to look after our homes, our clothes & our meals without having to have a partner to do it for us. I consider men who are lost without their partners to be wimps.

I love cooking, I did all the “real” cooking when I was married and now cook for my girlfriend at least once a week. She is very impressed, especially when I make my own naan breads, (incredibly simple but very effective). I always make a home cooked meal for my kids when I have them. Most of my friends in their 30s are good cooks, a lot of my friends in their 20s have never cooked anything apart from what can go in a microwave, many friends in their 50s don’t know how the oven works. Being adept in the kitchen & laundry is manly in this age and the ladies love it.

56 Jim October 2, 2009 at 6:53 pm

This is a Must-Have skill for all gentlemen- not just for impressing the ladies when the come over (and trust me, it does work), but because it teaches you how to notice and appreciate finer details in the world around you. Teaching yourself to discern various smells and tastes carries over into other senses if you choose to let it. You notice more things (sights, sounds, details, textures, etc) and is one step in a generally greater enjoyment of life itself. Creativity and inventiveness in cooking carries over into the rest of your life.

57 Santa Clara domestic violence lawyer January 7, 2010 at 12:06 pm

Couldn’t agree more, everyone should be able to cook to a mediocre level. It’s important and yes, very manly.

58 Hal May 6, 2010 at 8:27 pm

Kevin, in response to the issue of leftovers. If you freeze most leftovers in single size portions with the meal arranged sort of like a t.v. dinner you can reheat and eat at another time. Not only do you then eat home cooked meals but if you become short on time you always have a home cooked meal in the freezer. They do sell tupperware that has split portions if I recall.

59 Chris Miller July 21, 2010 at 1:33 pm

I can feed myself and others, be it from the kitchen or from the woods. :)

60 Tyler G. November 16, 2012 at 2:50 pm

If you’re like me, and looking at blocks of text in a recipe book makes your eyes glaze over, I’d suggest cookingcomically.com. You might recognize the 2AM chili; Tyler is the one who originally made it and circulated the picture. I’ve tried a few things from the site, and every one of them was amazing. I now make his chili and pineapple chicken burritos on a regular basis. Tyler’s recipes also allow for budget shopping: none of the ingredients are very exotic and can be found at the nearest Wal-Mart, but you can always step it up if you want.

One of the things I can’t figure out is how to blend different flavors together, especially with spices. It doesn’t help that people us words like “rich” and “robust” that sound very vague to me.

61 Thomas Cunningham December 30, 2012 at 1:25 pm

Nice article. I should indeed like to getting around to that if I had time. No one has greater riches than he who has skills!

62 Catherine S. January 10, 2013 at 12:30 pm

AS I am reasonably new at this website business, I wanted to do some exploring as to what other sites have to offer men/guys. You have a vast amount of information for men, along with your simple explanation on cooking. I enjoyed your humor and down to earth approach in several of your articles. I hope you’ll visit my sight and I would appreciate any feed back. Thankyou, Catherine S.

63 Sean G February 7, 2013 at 10:09 pm

As my grandfather used to say, “all of the greatest chefs in the world are men.” And then he’d whip up a Waldorf salad.

64 Alexander Connell February 24, 2013 at 4:31 pm

Another endorsement for Alton Brown’s shows and cook books. My brain is wired in such a way that I seem to do better if I know the ‘why’ as well as the ‘what’.

On another note; I went to school with a guy whose parents raised him to believe that cooking was ‘womans’ work’. Every meal he ever ate was made for him and when they first went on vacation leaving, left home alone, he spent a week living on potato chips and takeout. He couldn’t understand why he had no energy.

He’s married with 2 teenage children now and I still don’t think he knows how to use a can opener. I can’t imagine what he’ll do if his wife every takes ill.

65 FeatherBlade April 4, 2013 at 2:36 pm

To all those “gents” complaining about women who won’t cook: it may have something to do first with the feminist movement’s idea that “women’s work” is beneath the dignity of women, therefore they should be going out and doing men’s work, because that is the only worthwhile work to do (an attitude that they likely learned from men), and second, that “Get back in the kitchen and make me a sandwich” is a general term of disapprobation and (dare I say) abuse used against women of the younger generations when they do anything that the men their age dislike.

The kitchen and cooking have therefore become associated with both masculine and feminine contempt in the minds of many young women.

That said, cooking is survival skill and woe to them that have it not. ^_^

66 Si April 7, 2013 at 9:59 am

I took home economics when at high school had not choice. I fell in love with cooking and wanted to be as chef when I left school. The hours an crap pay at the bottom of the ladder put me off.
I just love cooking it is the only thing that relaxes me and the kitchen is my domain not my wife’s.

It is a real role reversal in our house I do the cooking my wife does the DIY.

What is manly anymore. I cook clean, iron, raise children, tip my wage up every month for the good of the family and ask for nothing in return.

I am at an age where I don’t give a dame what people think of my cooking abilities in fact I sing it from the highest tree. I get great pleasure from it.

In the age of belt tightening I set the meals for the week and shop accordingly. Every meal is made from scratch every day. No of this horsemeat crap for my family. It is fresh home made meatballs, pasta, curries, roasts, stews and puddings.

I hate the mail female thing women and men are very able to do any job and be praised for it there is no difference. Sorry ladies with 2 expectations multitasking and giving birth.

67 Kat November 9, 2013 at 12:13 pm

I completely DISAGREE. To me, cooking is not “manly” at all. Each person’s perception of what is manly and what isn’t will depend on their upbringing and what they were directly and indirectly taught about gender roles. The one time my ex-boyfriend cooked me dinner, I kept thinking what a turn off it was. In my family, it is always the women who are in the kitchen. I kept feeling the urge to get up and take over. The funny thing is, he was very proud of being able to cook, so I didn’t want to crush his spirit by revealing my thoughts about his about him. To me, it doesn’t matter how many famous male chefs are out there, cooking is feminine in my book.

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