[Cut this article out and tape it to the top of the leftover barbeque chicken in the refrigerator.]
Who started this rumor that cooking is just a woman thing? Sure, most guys remember their mothers as being the one who usually fixed the meals when they were a kid, but who do you see doing most of the cooking on television? That's right: Men. Cooking is something every guy should know how to do. You don't have to get fancy, but at least knowing the basics is going to be very useful.
1) You won't starve. Unless you have a constant care-taker (as in, you're doing 10-to-life at a supermax prison), sooner or later you'll find yourself in a position where you have to hustle your own dinner. With just a few basic ingredients in the 'fridge and cabinet, you can whip up a nice little dinner for yourself, no problem.
2) You get to fix what you like to eat. There is probably some dish you really crave, but nobody fixes it exactly the way you like it. Or maybe your girlfriend or wife thinks it's a stupid dish and says something like, "You like it so much, then you fix it!" Okay, so you can.
3) You're broke and you can't afford to go out. Restaurants are expensive. Even take-out adds up, if you do it every night. Forget menu prices: The ingredients cost a tenth of that.
4) You can impress your girl. It makes you look self-sufficient and competent. They love that.
5) You have an instant present at your finger-tips. Forgot your mom's birthday again, didn't you? Didn't even get her a card. No problem. Just tell her, "Hey, Mom, tonight I'm going to fix you this great veal over rice dish that I've been perfecting." She'll be impressed. Plus, if you're lucky, she'll even have most of the ingredients, so it won't cost anything.
6) You can take control over your diet. When someone cooks for you, you are at their mercy. If you've just learned that you have this high blood pressure condition and have to watch your salt intake, then you don't have to worry if the restaurant or your wife or roommate is dumping too much into the dish: You decide.
7) You can impress your date at a restaurant. If you order, say, coq au Vin (which is basically chicken legs and thighs stewed in a tomato sauce), you can turn to your date and say something like, "When I fix this dish, I always lightly brown the chicken first. It keeps the meat from becoming too stringy." Add ten points to your score.
8) You'll never wash dishes again. Unless you're alone when you cook, you can always invoke the most basic law of cooking: "I cooked, you clean."
9) You can get creative. Once you know the basics and have a few recipes memorized (and remember that recipes are just general guidelines, not precisely controlled chemistry experiments), you can try out some ideas of your own. Who knows if a few slices of provolone cheese, some diced onion and a couple of jalapenos on top of a flank steak wouldn't work? Has anybody ever tried? Let's find out...
10) You'll like it. Cooking can be very satisfying and relaxing. Take your time, turn on the radio, pour yourself a beer, assemble your ingredients and just start preparation. Slice a little of this, grate a little of that, make sure the other is trimmed just right. Oven's on? Good. Give it a taste. Eh, needs more pepper, so you get out the grinder... It's a whole creative, calming process, with you in control. Plus, at the end, you get to eat.Bon appetite, like that Julia Child used to say.
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