HelloFresh Head Chef Tom takes you through 10 tips to make you a better, manlier cook.
Fellers, it’s time to leave the dark ages. We’ve done away with smoke signals, living in caves and losing all of our teeth at thirty – so why still cook like a caveman?
The modern gentleman needs to know more about cooking than how to char a sausage beyond recognition on the Weber. Cooking is not just about sophisticated soirees and impressing people (although it can be), it’s also about being responsible for your own nutrition. Start being self-sufficient and embrace these 10 tips for upping your cooking, and eating game.
1. Embrace Veggies
Speaking of cavemen, it’s time to drop the prehistoric notion that only meat can satisfy or be delicious. At worst, vegetables enhance the flavours of a steak of salmon fillet. At best, they’re a whole world of colour and flavour, incredibly good for you and often cheaper than meat. Try a vegetarian meal once a week on Meatless Monday and discover a cornucopia of previously undiscovered treasures.
2. Real Men Eat Quiche
A page in Bruce Feirstein’s ‘Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche’ proclaims that among the “things you won’t find in a real man’s stomach” are pâté, tofu, quail and rice pilaf. Although the 1982 book was a satire, there is still a tendency for some foods to be characterised as not manly. Nonsense I say! If you’re skipping delicious smoothies or delicate salads in a bid to preserve your masculinity, drop it. Your tastebuds will thank you.
3. Have One Dessert Up Your Sleeve
Likewise, there’s nothing girly about a delicious chocolate birthday cake, or wine poached pears. Pick your favourite dessert, find a recipe for it and learn how to cook it. It’s worth having just one sweet dish you can make for situations that require you to impress or comfort.
4. Scout’s Motto
If there’s one thing to remember when cooking, it is the code of the noble Boy Scouts: Be Prepared! Read the recipe in full first, prepare all ingredients ahead of time, give yourself enough time to cook without being rushed. You’ll be surprised how easy cooking is when you’ve planned ahead a little.
5. Essential Independence
Don’t forget that cooking for yourself is the ultimate sign of self-sufficiency (if you can’t nourish yourself, good luck heading outside and lopping down a tree trunk). If you can master enough in the kitchen to keep yourself well fed, you’ll not only be better off, you may even be more attractive to potential mates you encounter in the wild. Don’t forget, you stop being cute when you get all needy – even if it is just at dinner time.
6. Become Green Fingered
If you are doing good old fashioned steaks on the barbeque, do it with style. Keep a pot of your favourite fresh herb (I like parsley or basil) and a small chilli plant on the windowsill or veranda, ready to garnish dishes. You’ll be amazed at how good it makes a meal taste, plus it looks as cheffy as all get out.
7. Get it Done Like A Boss
Most blokes are guilty of puffing out our chests and strutting around because we’ve made an effort cooking dinner. Here’s the real tip – when you’re cooking, don’t make a song and dance about it. Stop going on about your kitchen skills and let the food speak for itself. It’s absolutely the classier option, and your Mum’s been doing it for years.
8. Diversify your Portfolio
If you have a go-to dish that you can nail every time, pull a little switcheroo. Swap out on of the ingredients for something else in season, and voila! You just added a new recipe to your repertoire. Love a stir fry? Amp it up with some snow peas or daikon. Meat and three veg your thing? Swap mashed potato for butterbeans. Experimentation is half the fun, so don’t be afraid of trial and error. You might just discover your new favourite meal.
9. Finishing Touches
There’s nothing quite as counterproductive as slaving over a stove for an hour, only to wolf down your supper straight from the pot while you drop bits in the couch. Think of serving a meal as the last step to every recipe. Set a place at the table, and savour both the food and the good company while you enjoy the fruits of your labour.
10. Have Fun With It
At the end of the day, cooking should be relaxing. It should be a bit creative, a bit meditative, and ultimately satisfying. Approach it with a sense of fun rather than anxiety, and you might be surprised that cooking indoors can be just as good as a barbie.