Food For Thought: What Men Like … In The Kitchen!

 

By Sandy McCall

 

The who, the what, and the where of men who cook, and those who don’t!!!

 

Because this is the Y-Chromosome issue, this piece is geared toward men who cook at home, but my true interest is in inspiring men and women alike to cook more at home instead of eating out or allowing someone else to do all of the cooking. It truly can be simple, meditative, and a pleasure to cook and eat.

 

Bobby Hubbard, author’s 22-yr-old grandson

Bobby Hubbard, author’s 22-yr-old grandson

As a part of the research for this piece, I sent an informal survey to several men I know. (see questions and results below.) Thanks to everyone who participated!

 

Some General Questions For You Readers:

 

Do you think that the work of a professional chef is more glamorous or more important than that of being a home cook? Most agree that there are far more men than women who are professional chefs and far more women than men who are home cooks. Personally, I love that we are now starting to see more female professional chefs and I would love to also see more men who are home cooks. Let’s start now!

 

Limited time does not mean that we can’t cook good food. Does your driving force as a home cook come from a sense of wanting to be artistic and creative, for better health, to please someone else, or do you eat because you have to stay alive? What?!?! Really?!?! … Eat to stay alive? Yes, it is a fact of life that we have to eat to stay alive, but there is so much more!

 

Men answering my survey questions answered equally in terms of who they admired more, home cooks or chefs. It is good to hear that some men really admire home cooks and love to cook themselves. Most felt they just didn’t have time to cook the way they might like and were open to timesaving, healthier meals or someone else in the family did most or all of the cooking … read on!

 

The youngest survey participant, Bobby Hubbard at age 22 and still living at home also said “Oh yes!” when asked if he would continue cooking as he gets older and lives on his own. And he went on to say: “I would like to participate in cooking every night and also be a part of planning the menu for meals.” And he goes on to say: “I think the men in relationships should also be responsible for cooking meals.” Thank you Bobby, you are an inspiration to all men!

 

Cooking can be a wonderfully creative effort for you personally where you can create meals (art) with texture and color. And what could be better than actually eating wonderful food that soothes your soul after a busy day—if you can share what you cook with others, all the better. I have some glorious leftovers and make-ahead meals designed to save time!

 

Most men in my survey answered that the stove/oven was their favorite cooking appliance along with the microwave and their pressure cooker and grill! So we are going to explore a couple of cooking styles that may be outside of the box for many men.

 

I love to grill outdoors, but I tend to put it off unless I have company, as it seems to divide my time between the kitchen and the deck so that I am running back and forth quite a lot. Recently I purchased an indoor grill/griddle made of cast iron (you can buy a skillet size indoor griddle also). And I will admit, I have used the griddle side several times, but never the grill side until now—what a great surprise it was! Nothing can replace the taste and smell of grilling outdoors and standing out in the open air, but you might like this alternative if you don’t mind the kitchen getting a little smoky! Perhaps the grill marks on the food fooled me into thinking it was really grilled! Ha!!

 

“One of the secrets, and pleasures, of cooking is to learn to correct something if it goes awry; and one of the lessons is to grin and bear it if it cannot be fixed.” ~ Julia Child, My Life in France

 

My other favorite make-ahead meal(s) are created by spending a few minutes in the morning for crockpot cooking. Wonderful to have a meal all ready when you come home from work (and for those of us who work at home—you get to smell it all day long!). This rendered 3 different meals with leftovers. Wow!

 

This month we explored healthy and easy meals but make sure to watch for future issues where we will explore meals that are quick, healthy, ethnic including Mediterranean foods, and I will even try to find a wild game recipe as requested by a reader (Thanks Rob). I also look forward to exploring further where we buy our food and how we might further support local farmers—without them, we would all suffer. I hope you will continue to read this column and submit your ideas and comments whether you are a man or a woman!

 


 

Survey Results from Five Participants

 

1) Do you enjoy cooking? 5-Yes

 

2) Would you cook more given different circumstances? 4-Yes; 1-No

 

3) What or who stops you from cooking more? “myself and time”; “live with parents”; “cook with my bride”; “my wife cooks”;“[I stop] myself” & “Fat and lazy”

 

4) Is there something that might make cooking for yourself or others easier or more appealing? 2-No; and need easy recipes; more time; and better appliances

 

5) How many times per month do you cook for yourself? 6; 0; 2; every meal; 28-31 meals

 

6) How many times per month do you cook for your family or others? 2; 15; 1; every meal; and 10 times

 

7) Do you admire other men who cook and why? 4-Yes; and like BBQ chefs

 

8) Are the men cooks that you admire home cooks or chefs? 4-Both; 1-Chef

 

9) Is your primary cooking appliance the 1) kitchen stove, 2) the grill, 3) the microwave or 4) the crock pot? 4) other? 4-stove/oven; 1-grill; pressure cooker; and microwave

 

10) Are you open to preparing quick and healthy foods for yourself and others if you have added info? 4-Yes ; 1-Maybe

 

11) Would you take a cooking class? 3-Yes ; 2-No

 

12) What topics would you like to see in Food for Thought for the future? Mediterranean and spicy foods; healthy foods; time saving foods; wild game recipes

 

Ages of participants are 22, 43, 53, 60 something and 63 years of age

 


 

Try my indoor grilled marinated trout, spicy shrimp with sweet potatoes, zucchini, red onion and peppers. This recipe made two meals for one, or might be one meal for two. Make sure you double or triple for more servings!

 

Grilled Fish and Veggies

 

1 filet-salmon or thicker filet of fish of your choice
1/2 lb medium shrimp
1 sweet potato
1 zucchini
1 sweet red pepper
1 red onion

 

food1Marinate fish for at least two hours in ¼ C olive oil w 2 cloves minced garlic, 1T lemon or lime juice, 1/2 t each oregano, basil, thyme or herbs of your choice. (double or triple according to amount of fish used)

 

Spicy Dipping Sauce for Shrimp: ½ C ketchup, Add sriracha sauce to taste. Squeeze in juice from 1/2 large orange. Mix together and refrigerate.

 

Wash, trim and slice sweet potatoes and zucchini the long way in 1/4” slices. Wash and clean seeds from pepper and thickly slice. Peel and slice red onion in thick slices. Clean and shell shrimp, pat dry and feed onto short wooden skewers.

 

Heat cast iron grill pan until very hot. Carefully oil hot grill pan with coconut oil. Arrange fish (skin side down) and sweet potatoes on grill. Cook about 5-7 minutes and turn. Add onions, pepper and zucchini and shrimp skewers. Add salt and pepper. Turn remaining veggies and shrimp when almost done and cook until everything is done.

 

Serve and add dipping sauce for shrimp. Save leftovers and reheat the next day or use leftovers in stir-fry over rice or noodles.

 


 

So, recently I made these two crockpot meals and the indoor grilled foods on Sunday and Monday and I was able to have good, already prepared food for about a week.

 

Crockpot Roast Chicken

 

3.75-4# whole chicken
2 potatoes
2 carrots
1 large onion
2 cloves garlic

 

food2Wash chicken and pat dry. Rub outside with butter or coconut oil. Add quartered onion and peeled garlic in cavity. Scrub and dry potatoes and carrots and chop in large pieces and rub with butter or oil. Put potatoes and carrots in bottom of crockpot and add chicken with breast side up. Sprinkle chicken with salt, pepper, and 1/2 t each of dried basil, oregano and rosemary. Put lid on crockpot, set on low and cook for 5-6 hours until chicken is done and all pink is gone. Remove chicken and vegetables and serve.

 

One easy recipe for those leftovers is to use some of the roast chicken to make a wonderful and quick Chicken Tortilla Soup. See recipe to the right!

 


 

Chicken Tortilla Soup

 

yield: 6-8SERVINGS
prep time: 15 MINUTES cook time: 30 MINUTES

 

INGREDIENTS:

 

3 Tblsp olive oil
1 med size diced onion
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 cup diced carrot
1 small zucchini, diced
2 ears sweet corn, cut off the cob {or 1 1/2 cups frozen corn}
2 15-oz. cans black beans, drained and rinsed (or bean you like best)
1 15-oz. can tomato sauce
salt & pepper, to taste
2 t cumin
1/2 t chipotle or cayenne pepper (to taste)
1 t cilantro (dried or fresh)
2 t smoked paprika
1 t oregano
3 cups chicken stock (use broth from crockpot roast chicken—add water or more broth if necessary)
Leftover chicken from Crockpot Roast Chicken (no skin)

 

Food3Cut 5 corn tortillas into strips add toppings, if desired: fresh cilantro, chips, sour cream, avocado, etc.

 

DIRECTIONS:

 

Place large pot over medium heat. Sauté onion, garlic, carrot, zucchini and corn in olive oil to soften slightly, 5 minutes. Stir in beans, tomato sauce, spices, chicken stock and bring to boil. Reduce to simmer. Cover and simmer 10-15 minutes. Stir in tortilla strips and cook another 10 minutes. Ladle into bowls and serve with any desired toppings.

 

 


 

Watch for the next issue – July 2014: Woman’s Best Friend. All about the pets we love and care for (and who care for us!). We will explore animal foods for health. As always, enjoy cooking and write to me with your comments and suggestions.

 

Sandy McCall’s day job is working as the Broker/Owner of Southern Life Realty. When she’s not being the “mad scientist” in the kitchen or loving-up her cat and dogs, she enjoys writing for WNC Woman and volunteering in the community.

 

Sandy@SouthernLifeRealty.com – 828.273.9755 – SouthernLifeRealty.com – Your Dream, Our Expertise … Matching People With Property!

 

Sandy McCall
Written by Sandy McCall