In 2009 my wife gave me a one week cooking course as a Xmas gift.
I did feel at the time that this was in many ways similar to a man giving his wife a certificate for breast enhancement, as the main benefits belong to the giver rather than the receiver.

Nevertheless it meant that in April 2010 I spent a week at Leiths School of Food and Wine in London. I didn’t get to see any of the wine side of the school which was disappointing, but I had a great time and learned many things, and have been cooking a lot more since then (my wife’s plan worked).

Over the last 6 months I have realized that in the same way that « Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus», (John Gray book published 1992), there are also serious differences in the way men and women approach the whole art of creating fine cuisine, and I felt that it was important that I shared some of these lessons learned with my male readers.

Herewith my top 10 tips for men who want to cook :

1. Have lots of wine available as this is a critical ingredient for any chef and some of it may actually end up in the food.

I have found that a chilled bottle of Rose goes down well when cooking in summer, and a nice Bordeaux (obviously) works well the rest of the year. You will also find that as you get down to the lower half of the bottle not only does it taste better, but all those annoying little knife nicks and stove burns won’t bother you as much. However, be sure to flambe only while consuming the first half of the bottle.

2. Useful cooking terms for men.

Clarify, fold, drizzle, clothe.

If you see any of these in a recipe, discard it and move on to another one. These are not actions that real men should have to cope with. Good words to look for are beat, mash, tear, chop and bar-b-que.

3. Always  go to the bathroom at least twice and rub your eyes for 10 minutes before handling fresh chillies in any way.

There is no way that you will want to do either of these after you have cut, chopped, sliced or de-seeded  some fresh chillies, and there is a burning desire (pun intended) to do both immediately afterwards. I believe that all recipe books globally should be automatically updated to « Finely slice 4 fresh chillies then rub, eyes and all other sensitive body parts. », just to be more accurate with what actually happens in real life.

4. Only women need to read the whole recipe before they start cooking.

Real men should just assemble the ingredients and start from the first instruction. This keeps an air of surprise and mystery in the whole cooking experience, and is much more of an exciting and manly way to proceed, particularly when you come across a line like «Now remove the joint from the fridge where it has been marinating for 24 hours». When interesting and challenging little surprises like this occur, remember Rule 1 and proceed as normal.

5. Play very loud music the entire time whilst cooking.

This is very helpful particularly if you have small children as it will mask any cooking screams and profanities that are an integral part of the cooking experience. I have found that heavy metal is very suitable, and since my Leiths experience have acquired all the CDs of «Apocalyptica», the Finnish Cello Rockers.

6. Do not fry whilst naked.

No matter how hot it gets in the kitchen, avoid the temptation to fry something in any way, shape or form whilst naked or whilst wearing speedos (budgie smugglers to Australians). Not only is this dangerous in obvious ways but unless you are a serious athlete most nakedness can curdle cream and other key ingredients.

7. Measure everything carefully.

When the recipe calls for a 6 inch (15 cms) baking dish, you need to measure the 6 inches properly rather than just relying on the body part that you have spent your entire life claiming as being 6 inches as the benchmark, as doing this could result in the baking dish being too small and therefore waste valuable ingredients.

8. Always fry some onions.

Even if not called for in the recipe, always have some onions frying gently on the stove. This creates an inviting cooking smell and will convince your partner, should they dare to stick their nose into your domain, that there is something of great art really happening.

9. Do not produce dishes which include girlie names.

Dishes including words such as mousseline, chiffonade, veloutée, gelée, puff or sabayon are not manly enough in the telling. Describing how you made smoky 3 lettuce leaf chiffonnade may not be well accepted by your mates at the gun club.

10. Make sure you understand all terms before starting.

A joint (as mentioned in Rule 4) is a large piece of meat, usually containing a bone, which is cooked in one piece, and is not something that is used in making brownies, and a Dutch Oven is a cast iron cooking pot, and does not involve heading to the bedroom and climbing under the covers, as this is not considered as being a true culinary skill.

And always remember in the the words of Steven Wright « If at first you don’t succeed, destroy all evidence that you tried ».


11 Responses to COOKING TIPS FOR MEN

  1. dana Facaros says:

    Les, you forgot to add one last essential rule (or maybe it’s just the men I know!): Start cooking at least an hour (preferably two) before you think you need to start.

    thank you so much for making me laugh on dreary November morning!


  2. Roisin says:

    Wonderful. I read it before beginning work this morning and it put a big smile on my face. Thank you!

  3. Frank says:

    Les, love
    tip.. add garlic to the frying onions, so it doesnt smell like a BBQ, and gives the real gourmet aroma.
    I suggest an 11th tip.. make a mess in the kitchen, that matches the mess your partner no doubt makes..and use lots of pans etc as they do.. if you use less, it might make the other half feel inadequate.. 🙂

  4. Trish Barrett says:

    this gave me such a laugh – it needs to be “bottled”!
    Trish x

  5. leshayman says:

    Hi Trish,
    Thanks …. that’s Rule 1.

  6. But it *is* six inches!

  7. I guess I just try to imagine what an eight inch baking dish might look like.

  8. fajriyansah says:

    success for you and good article, and add insight for us

  9. Lucy Lam says:

    I love this! Great sense of humor ….. reflection of real life too …… parts …. LOL!

  10. leshayman says:

    Hi Lucy,
    I just thought that I should use my “vast” experience after a 1 week course to share the pitfalls of cooking with other men … 🙂 Les

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