30 DAYS TO BE A BETTER MAN: (15) MAKE A MEAL

ROTTERDAM – Unlike the reality of the 1900s, repeatedly employed in this series as a vehicle for romantic flashbacks of patriarchical times in which the Great Men lived, the Art of Manliness has claimed the kitchen. Cooking is manly. Or, at least, has benefits for men.

The Art of Manliness routinely has polls on their website inquiring whether a particular behaviour is considered manly or not. For example, is being a stay-at-home dad manly? (answer: “it depends”). 95% of the sample believed that cooking is manly.

Rightfully so, an article followed the poll:

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.

There are evidently several reasons why cooking is manly. This is interesting, because this article offers the first introspective glance I have encountered so far concerning what the authors of these articles think about the Art of Manliness:

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.

A Real Man is independent. We haven’t encountered this theme directly before, but many times articles related to it indirectly (e.g. UPDATE YOUR RESUME or IDENTIFY YOUR CORE VALUES). You take care of your business. You are an independent, strong man, and you don’t need a woman.

You just need to cook for her:

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.

Totally.

You can’t just start cooking, though. A quick glance at Google teaches us that the Manly Kitchen offers many manly recipes. Pinterest has a page (which has lots and lots of bacon on it) of manly recipes, and of course our own Art of Manliness has an article on “5 Awesome Recipes for the Man’s-Man“.

Summarizing the Manly Kitchen, it’s got lots of meat in it. That and spicy food. It is often prepared on a BBQ or a meat grill or in the oven. At its best, it’s grandiose and spectular.

Of course, meat is manly. There are, however, instances in which you are allowed to go vegetarian or not completely overcompensate with the hot wings:

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.

A “damn righteous meal” made to impress a lady does not need to involve bacon. Or hot sauce, for that matter.

Now, besides that, there are several other reasons why you really should be able to cook. Here summarised by me, treating you like, well…

Cooking makes you self-sufficient

Cooking saves you money

Cooking keeps you healthy

Cooking is creative

Cooking boosts your social skills

So today’s task it to prepare a meal with your own two manly hands. It can be breakfast, lunch, or dinner. If you’ve never cooked before, don’t worry; if you can follow a recipe, you can cook. Remember, we’re not talking about adding beef to Hamburger Helper or making a ham sandwich. Make a real meal.

Now, as a matter of fact, I usually greatly enjoy cooking. I have spent ridiculous amounts of time in the kitchen just preparing food. To be honest, the Art of Manliness (re)claiming the kitchen, classifying cooking as a manly activity does take out some of the motivation.

Although, I do happen to know a very interesting recipe with hot wings marinated in coffee and curry powder…

Man-meter: as it turns out, my cooking hobby makes me extremely manly. Good thing!

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