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Cooking for Guys - Getting Started

Updated on May 30, 2014
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Introduction

Cooking for guys is like a foreign language. Guys will gladly talk about work, sports, cars and a host of other “guy” things, but rarely about cooking. Guys will talk about their garage, their den, their bedroom and their patio but rarely about their kitchen. Guys will talk about their new golf clubs, their new television and their new computer but rarely about a new kitchen utensil. I am sure researchers would spend years trying to explain this phenomenon, but cooking for guys is not high on the list of “guy” topics.

Consider this

  • Men, in general, eat more food than women.
  • Men, in general, eat less healthy than women.
  • Women, in general, live longer than men.
  • Heart Attacks are the Number 1 cause of death in the United States.
  • 550,000 Men versus 325,000 Women suffered heart attacks last year.
  • According to researchers, 90% of all heart attacks are caused by obesity and poor diet. ( See WebMD Article )

Cooking Skills

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Where to Start - Tools

I have already told you that cooking for guys is foreign, so we will start with something that guys know; “If you want the job done right, get the right tools”. Start by throwing away every utensil in your kitchen except for any pot or pan given to you by a women. If you own a cast iron fry pan, keep it. Every thing else…throw it away. Here is a list of kitchen utensils you need to buy:

  • Set of good cooking knives. (Don't forget to buy a Knife Sharpener)
  • Two high quality small fry pans and two larger fry pans.
  • One small cooking pot and one large cooking pot.
  • One stainless stell stock pot.
  • Several mixing bowls. (Same glass and some stainless steel)
  • A set of wooden cooking spoons and a set of plastic utensils.
  • Several baking pans. (Some glass and some metal)
  • One strainer for noodles.
  • Two cutting boards.

I might add a hundred more items but this is your core list of kitchen utensils. As you find a need for other items, simply go to a store and purchase them. If you can wait a few days, purchase the items online. You will save a lot of money.

What's Next - Learn to Shop

As much as cooking for guys is foreign, shopping at the supermarket is even more foreign. I will give you the one thought that should be running through your head when you enter the supermarket; “Shop the Outside of the Store.” Traditionally, all the fresh produce, fresh baked goods and fresh meats & cheeses are on the outer aisles of the supermarket. Every time you can replace canned goods or a packaged meal with a fresh item, you have scored a victory and winning is something guys love to do. While this strategy is easy to understand, it is difficult to perform. My early attempts were poor, even laughable. As a side note, many women love taking a guy on a shopping trip and don’t be afraid to ask questions like “How do I cook an eggplant?”.

The second half of supermarket shopping is understanding nutritional values. With the power of Google and Wikipedia, you can find out which type of lettuce is high in vitamin A, which vegetable is high in fiber or which fruit is high in antioxidants. If you are forced to buy canned goods, read the nutritional labels. A can of soup has 20% of your daily sodium. Fresh soup has less than 5%. Fresh cheese from the deli has 50% less fat and sodium than packaged cheese. Your goal is balanced nutrition and healthy eating. It is just as important to eliminate the bad foods as it is to replace them with fresh foods.

Final Step - Learn to Cook

You have your tools and bags full fresh food. Now what? Over the first few years, I employed several strategies. I tried recipes from books, I tried the “Keep it Simple” idea, I tried following cooking show examples and I tried free form experimentation. Each of these strategies taught me valuable lessons about cooking. However, my first suggestion is to master your most common food item. If you stop at fast food establishments and order tacos, then start with tacos. Season your taco meat with fresh spices. Top your taco with fresh lettuce, tomatoes and onions. Judge whether it tastes better or not. (Did I mention that you will have failures?) Move on to experimenting with the taco. Try different meats or even a meatless taco. Try a taco salad instead of traditional tacos. Find an authentic Mexican restaurant and try their tacos. Pay attention to the ingredients they use and how it tastes.

The next phase of learning to cook is to set your goals high. Choose a fancy recipe and try to make it. I chose Kotopoulo Skorthato (Greek Lemon Chicken) with roasted garlic potatoes. I tried it first by myself. Frankly, the food was bad. The chicken was dry and I used too much lemon. Next I tried it with some good friends. The chicken and potatoes were perfect but the salad and vegetables were bland. Finally I invited my greek boss over for dinner. The food was so good that my boss was in the kitchen lapping up the juices in the pan with a dinner roll. There was nothing left on the table.

As you take each step, you will learn new flavors, new methods, and new challenges. You will master making garnishes, making quick healthy snacks, making elaborate dishes and eating healthy. All you need to do is start.

Cooking for Guys Healthy Cooking Tips

My Story

I grew up in a typical Midwestern town in a typical Midwestern family. I went to school, graduated from college and started my career in the computer industry. All along I was taught “guy” things and cooking was not one of them. For me, dinner was a drive-through window, a delivered pizza or a microwave meal. The only important kitchen utensil was a can opener. My only important decision at the supermarket was which box of macaroni and cheese and which bag of potato chips to buy. When I turned 40, I noticed a significant drop in energy and concentration at work. Like many guys, I consulted several doctors and they put me on a regiment of pills. One night at the bar (I was eating chicken wings), I met Karen who was an unemployed nutritionist and she spelled it out; eat well and you will live better. I began a journey to teach myself how to cook. I no longer take pills, I cook vegetables. I no longer visit the doctors, I eat fruit. I no longer eat at fast food restaurants, I cook it myself. Simply amazing.

Conclusion

Cooking for guys is not as far outside of your field of comfort as you think. Guys enjoy mastering a craft. Guys enjoy working with high quality tools. Guys love to eat. So at your next tailgate party bring along some garlic spinach on toasted bagettes or what I call "Little Muddy Footballs".

Little Muddy Footballs

Garlic Spinach on Bagettes - Chef ManCave
Garlic Spinach on Bagettes - Chef ManCave

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