Why Men Like Me Love To Cook

February 9th, 2007 by Jeff in Life

I was recently asked by a friend of mine why it is I like to cook so much.  He eluded to the fact that most men don’t cook, or at least enjoy it as much as I do.  I had never really given it that much thought before.  I thought about it for a few days, mostly while I was cooking to be honest and I think I have come to a few conclusions.

At an early age, I found that I was deprived of a couple things that most everyone else I knew had.  I was tested and it was proved that I was red green color blind.  No wonder why all my finger painting looked worse than all the other kids.  I remember my mother laughing out loud when I answered her question “So what does your teacher look like” and I told her that she had green hair.  This “handicap” if you will, really stopped any artistic pursuits during my youth.  I never learned how to draw, and to this day any attempt I make at drawing makes the average three year-olds paintings look like Michelangelo.

I did try to learn guitar during my life and had some success but in the end realized that although I can mechanically operate the device, I had no flare in creating anything with it.

As for singing, well, other than a few tipsy tries at the karaoke machine, it was a non starter.

I did however pick up computing like a fish in water.  When writing code, you do have a creative outlet.  However, without being able to physically touch the result, the joy limited.

After I got out of college, I started working in a restaurant and after the head cook abruptly quit, I found myself standing behind the chef area with white hat on, and numerous gadgets in front of me, not to mention a huge broiler, a deep fryer, and steamers.  It was a crash course, but in a relatively quick time, the “Chef Wanted” sign came down and I got the position permanently.

The seafood restaurant business is fickle and for some reason, it really slows down in the winters.  During winter, you find there is a lot of time on your hands in the kitchen.  When I first experienced this, I decided to use that time to deep clean the kitchen.  Well, once December was over, the kitchen was sparkling and there was nothing left to do.

The owner was an old crusty fellow from Maine.  He had many old things laying around and during my cleaning I found many old cookbooks.  Some were actually printed before the 1900’s and were somewhat fragile.  So on the slow nights I started picking through these old books and trying out some of the recipes.

I would make old school dishes and then hand them over to the boss, or waitress, dishwasher, whoever was willing to try it.  All of a sudden people were waiting in line to eat my latest discoveries.  So, off to the chalk board they went, and pretty soon, winters were not as slow as they used to be.

This was a feeling I had never felt before.  I finally experienced what a artist experiences when someone views their panting for the first time; when someone first lays eyes on the cabinets they had built by you, a master carpenter; when someone hears a song  you wrote and loves it.  The experience that in some small way, you have made a positive impression on someone with your creativity.

I finally found my creative outlet.  Even after I left the restaurant for a job that had health insurance for my daughter, I could not forget that feeling.  I began cooking for myself.  I had to learn the art of home cooking which is much different than cooking commercially.

To this day, I love to dig out an old recipe book and find an old gem that nobody is cooking anymore and see what I can do with it.  I am happy to browse the net looking for great twists on old dish’s.  The delight is still there when you hear your friends and family “Oooh, yumm, this is, wow, delicious” my creations.

Now that I have read the above checking for errors, I have already gotten a few ideas for some new recipes.  To me, that is the answer to my friends question.

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