I was going to blog about men. But I’ve decided I’ll hold back on that topic as I’m not qualified enough.
I was going to blog about being competitive but it didn’t sound like a winner, so I’ll leave that too. And then I was going to blog about food but, if you’ll pardon the pun, food can keep.
Instead I’m going to blog about all three of the above. A full house if you like Poker. Which I don’t. Today I’ll be blogging about men, being competitive, about food.
Be prepared for some sweeping generalisations all in the name of a funny, but if you do recognise anyone like this then please raise your hand.
I know men who own ‘Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking’ (RRP £450), The Big Fat Duck Cookbook (RRP £200), and the expensive one by that Gordon Ramsay bloke. I know men who watch Masterchef with a notepad, men who own a SousVide, a set of Sabatier or Takamura knives, men who talk about food like they’re the only people on the planet with tastebuds. Men who walk around Borough Market at the weekend pushing their Smugaboo Bee into the back of your legs and shouting over your shoulder for a piece of the organic air-dried prosciutto like they deserve a place at the Chef’s Table in Life, just because they own a book by some bloke who owns a restaurant, has appeared on telly, and they once tried the tasting menu at the Fat Duck.
Oh, you’ve never been? Oh you should. You’ve never tasted anything like it apparently.
I know women who have Nigella’s and Jamie’s books, work wonders with a George Foreman or a slow cooker, have a set of knives from Argos, like shopping in Lidl, and buy the cheese on special offer from the Sainsbury’s.
I know blokes who go into the kitchen to cook something, which takes hours, and every pan, utensil and surface is used and abused They then sit there expectantly waiting for their other half to say that it’s the best thing they’ve ever put in their mouth, other than their cock, and how they just want to ride them NOW for being such a fucking beast in the kitchen.
I know women who cook an evening meal, clean up as they go along, do the washing up and put things away, and serve up an evening meal which the kids chuck on the floor and merely gets a nod from him indoors. Unless it’s one of those nights where he’s gone down the pub in which case it goes into the microwave.
I know blokes who talk like this.
“Have you tried the biodynamically grown lovage infused Somalian cheddar? It’s divine. Only £8900 a kilo from the local farmers market. You’ve never tasted anything like it! Oh, and we once drove nine hundred hours to go to this quaint little bistro which serves the most delightful noodle de pot. Honestly, you’ve never tasted anything like it.”
Haven’t I? How do you know?
I’ve never had a conversation with a woman about 21 day hung meat, air dried ham, sun blushed, or sun embarrassed tomatoes, or cave-aged cheddar. But I have with men. Many of them.
I say conversations. I’m mainly the one doing the listening while the other person brags their way to being the Alpha Male. While I’m hunting for a spoon with which to gouge their eyes out
“I bought a really good cheese the other day” say I, starting a conversation which I think they’d like but instantly regretting it.
“Oh me too. I bought some from a farmers collective that only sell this cheese one day every decade. Honestly, you’ve never tasted anything like it. I made some cheese souffles with it, but the first batch didn’t go well enough for my liking so I threw them all away and had to start again”
See. Men. Some men. Being competitive. About food.
I like cooking, or at least used to when I cooked for people other than me. Now I’m not that keen. I didn’t make anything fancy or fussy. I made comforting food which tasted good. I liked cooking for friends and they always ate my food with gusto. I loved cooking for the kids, my ex-wife and family. I didn’t use a recipe book. I didn’t spend hours trimming the most expensive meat bought from the butchers, which always seems weird to me because, erm, why not get the butcher to do that, when you bought it? Just a thought. But I guess you’ve got to use those expensive knives at some point.
I once went to a dinner party. The idea behind it was kind of like Come Dine With Me. We all took turns every fortnight or so to cook a meal for each other. We didn’t score it though. Based on what I’m about to tell you.
My friend bought the most expensive fish known to man. He spent an easy £100 on the best fish from the best place he could as he wanted to make a bouillabaisse.
“A what?” I said as we were getting ready to leave for the dinner party.
“It’s a fish stew.”
Okay. Well why not call it that?”
“Because it’s a bouillabaisse”
“Okay then” *Head explodes*
We arrived and had some wine, and our friend was in the kitchen. Gin and tonics were made and eventually we were presented with something which… well.
It looked like something you show naughty fish to stop them from being naughty. Like an explosion in a fishmongers, in a bowl.
This fish stew, sorry, bouillabaisse, looked pretty much like fish paste filling a bowl. It was a chewy soup.
He’d put all this fish in a pan, cooked it, without very much liquid, and served it up.
One of our number had a fishes head in theirs, buried, and they still have nightmares about it.
We laughed about it. It was actually quite tasty but a bouillabaisse it was not. And thankfully this friend is one of life’s good people and not up their arse enough to worry about it too much.
But I know men who would. And I know others who’d,when it came to their turn to host a dinner party, would tell everyone how they would make the PERFECT bouillabaisse. As a starter. Just because.
All this talk of food has got me hungry. I’m off to make a toasted cheese sandwich with some delightful French cheese I bought from a fromagerie in…
Does this sort of man ring any bells with you? Please share any stories or experiences you have. You can be anonymous if it helps you vent a bit.
And thanks for reading.