When I was younger, I didn’t really step foot into the kitchen, unless I wanted to sneak a cold hotdog or sugary Pop-Tart.
The kitchen was my mom’s space, fixing sandwiches or stirring marinara or spreading barbecue sauce over ribs in the oven or frying up some eggs or mixing paella or whatever other home-cooked meal she decided to serve her kids.
When I visited my friends’ houses, their mothers also reigned over the kitchen. Moms stood orchestrating the pans and spoons to harmonize something special with some veggies. The lovely aroma of whatever simmered in the pot traveled the entire house, giving each house its own characteristic scent.
The dads, however, kept their distance from the kitchen, unless it was to grab a Blatz from the refrigerator.
Well, dads, you’ve kept your distance from the kitchen long enough.
We need to change this! Drink something better than Blatz!
And more importantly, take control of your food. Don’t let the food control you!
Be a man, dammit! Don’t be a follower of foods, like believing chicken nuggets are edible nutrients.
Redefine the Kitchen
One way to do this is to redefine the kitchen. Make it cool. We keep building Man Caves, a room removed from life, reality, health.
Don’t hermit yourself. Don’t run away and hide in a cubby hole with a flat screen TV. F-that chubby hole! Take control of the central nervous system of the home: the kitchen.
Make the kitchen your man cave.
Oh, the word kitchen doesn’t sound manly to you? Call it whatever you want. A Man-kitchen, your bar, the cafe, the commissary, the mess hall, whatever it takes to make it sound like your room.
Bring the man into the kitchen. And I think we can start by bringing the fun into the kitchen.
Turn on the ballgame. If that means the Tribe and Tom Hamilton, so be it. Make some peanuts or pistachios handy for a quick fix in between glugs of beer.
There, the scene is set.
Play with Your Food
Next, don’t worry about f’ing things up. You’re eating peanuts and drinking beer, so who really cares what happens next.
Finally, I find it helpful to always have fries going in the oven (see recipe). Just toss some salt and a little rosemary on these suckers, and you’ll have a fantastic side dish to whatever burger, stew, or pizza you’re making. Heck, put the fries on the pizza.
If it helps, keep it simple at first.
Also, if it’s the word “recipe” that’s turning you off, because it’s too romantic, then use different terminology, such as “food” or “stuff.”
Cooking at home is going to be healthier than something you get out at a restaurant.
Seems very American to me. You can control the ingredients. You’re in the driver’s seat.
It's Your Mess Hall
Some dudes say they’re afraid of the kitchen or that they can’t cook. What?! You can do whatever you want in your mess hall.
Experiment. Try different flavors together. You think broccoli only tastes good when drenched in barbecue sauce? Freakin’ do it, dude.
Invite some buddies over to organize a kitchen coup. Hold a pizza making competition—it’ll be better for your body than ordering out for a pizza delivery. Heck, invite me and we’ll make it an event!
Whatever it takes, spend some time reacquainting yourself with the kitchen. Drink a beer together and talk about some steps forward, because once you build a relationship with your kitchen and start using it, you can begin to make unhealthy dishes healthier.
Start the kitchen revolution!