Saturday, August 11, 2007

Teaching Men To Cook

August 11

First, I've discovered that because this blog is misnamed, many people find it when they are searching for recipes for "fair food," meaning food that is served at fairs. Why anyone would want to cook such food I cannot fathom, so I must tell any new readers that that is not what I write about.

But I have a few male readers who want to know the principles of cooking. They say to me, give me a recipe, give me a shopping list, give me some good equipment, and set me on the road to cooking. One of them wrote me a very clever comment on this blog asking for just such information. Another writes his own blog and seems to want the same kind of straight and simple directions for cooking.

For one thing, I think both these guys have a little A.D.D. The blogwriter openly owns it. Their minds, therefore, don't work like mine does: Just think it through before you start, and organize as you go. They need a roadmap. They insist on specifics. They can work with a recipe, but it had better not leave anything out, for example, at what time in the proceedings you set the water to boil, when does the pasta go in in relation to the garlic in the sauce, and how many dishes, bowls, spoons, pots and pans am I going to need?

This is so admirable to me, a cook of forty-something years. I try to turn back the clock to when I didn't know how to make anything but fudge. What did I do? How did I equip myself to get to the level I now enjoy?

I remember this vividly: I was a bride who had never made anything but fudge. My mother hardly cooked at all, but was great with a can opener. I said to myself, I know I can learn this, and I bought a basic cookbook and decided to make everything in it, recipe by recipe. I learned in the process that I loved it. By the end of a year I had mastered the basics.

But these are working guys, youthful and seething with testosterone. They are not obedient little beginning housewives. They want to achieve, and they want it fast. They are willing to tackle any challenge -- if they are given clear instructions including lists and timetables.

I'll do it. Just post some questions to let me know what it is you want to make, and I'll tell you what I know.

No comments: