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Book Review: The Cookbook for Men Who Must (or just want to) by Richard Chamberlain (the real one)

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Homemade biscuits. Melting pats of butter. Mmmmm… For many of us, biscuits come from a box, a tube, or frozen. There’s nothing terribly wrong with that (though the ones from a tube bear little resemblance to the taste and look of homemade), but for people who have never felt the joy of being up to their elbows in flour, making “real” biscuits is a good place to start learning to cook for themselves.

People who don’t think it’s worth making a meal for one often subsist on frozen dinners, fast food, and junk. When you’re alone, it hardly seems worth it to mess up the kitchen preparing a full meal. The problem with fast fixes to hunger, though, is that they aren’t all that healthful. Sugar, corn syrup, salt, fat, artificial ingredients, preservatives — all the villains of our modern diet — are plentiful in frozen meals and fast food. The time you save eating convenience foods is probably wasted by sick days, doctor visits, or a shortened lifespan. 

The Cookbook for Men Who Must is a book of basics for those who have not experienced the joy found in a kitchen, and offers a selection of “manly” recipes (barbecue, sausage gravy, meatballs, chocolate chip cookies, nachos) while emphasizing portion control, less fats, and fewer calories. It is not a diet book, and the recipes in the final chapter prove that.

Author Richard Chamberlain, who identifies himself as “the real one,” shares recipes he’s prepared for his family over the years, and none of them are difficult; none require you to debone a duck. Many of the recipes are for foods that are available prepared, but Chamberlain gives simple-to-follow instructions and encourages readers to make changes to the recipes to suit themselves. Once fledgling cooks overcome their fear of frying, baking, and roasting, they will be ready to go on to more complex recipes and cookbooks.

The Cookbook for Men Who Must takes cooks-to-be from breakfast to salads (incredibly simple) through desserts, and provides useful lists of basic equipment and ingredients every cook should have on hand (surprisingly, lemon juice wasn’t one of them). Although written for men, this cookbook makes a good foundation for anyone who hasn’t been introduced to their oven.

Bottom Line: Would I buy The Cookbook for Men Who Must? No. I’ve already conquered the basics, but for sons (or daughters) who don’t have a clue, this might be just the gift to get them started in the kitchen.

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About Miss Bob Etier

  • Steve B

    As a guy who was single for more years (30 years) than married ( a total of 10 years) it’s HIGHLY recommended that a guy learn to cook! Not only do women like a man who can cook them a nice little dinner every once in awhile, but you yourself will also eat better. I’m self taught in the kitchen and love cooking once in awhile! So does my wife :)

  • Lee Shawn

    Funny. At home we split the cooking. When it has to be quick, to the point and tasty, I cook. When it has to be complicated, full of details (and …. well … tasty as well) my wife does. Only thing I haven’t come to master is baking. This requires more precision then I have :-)

  • Phil Loughlin

    I’m not single but a man should definitely learn to cook. As busy as life gets nowadays us men can’t rely on others to cook for us. We need to be responsible as well. I think this book is great for someone who needs to learn the basics.

  • John Wilson

    One of the secrets to cooking for one, as I often do, is to be able to make tasty meals from leftovers. Sometimes it means adding a piquant sauce, and sometimes a new ingredient, sometimes using the blender, etc.

    For example, last night I made a simple meal of asparagus sauteed in pepper sauce and soy, over a bed of quinhoa. Tonight I’ll add a yogurt/curry sauce, some sunflower seeds or pecan bits, and a desert of yogurt cranberries and banana (half a banana, the other half for a late night snack or breakfast).