SexyVegeMan

I love to cook, but it wasn’t always thus…

…turning the clock back…

There was a harmony of delicious scent when I excitedly pushed my way through my family’s back door on chilly winter Sunday afternoons.

I was still wearing the ice skates that shrouded my icicly-frozen toes. My friends Larry (yep, another Larry…to avoid confusion, he called me Lawrence, I called him Larry), Dave, Jerome, Hugh and I had just finished a game of hockey “shinny” across the road on the seasonal ice rink the city workers built for us each winter in the school park.

Mom was in the kitchen cooking, the dining room windows were hazy with steamy condensation from vegetable water boiling on the stove and all was well with the world … it just was.

From the living room, I could hear the sounds of the black and white console TV and my Dad’s raucous laughter at something a little tyke had said on “Tiny Talent Time”, a prehistoric version of the many “Idol” or “Talent” shows that litter our current TV screens. If I came in a few minutes later, Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom would have a roaring lion or a soaring giraffe crossing the screen.

There were pan-roasted potatoes with a delicious salty-caramelized outer surface sizzling in the oven. A heady beef gravy smell wafted like a culinary aphrodisiac, saturating every room in the house. The dining table was set and soon an oblong ceramic dish would be laid down with large, dark slices of roast beef that occupied centre stage every Sunday evening in our house like a specially-invited dinner guest. I would feel a surge of pleasure when the plate was placed at the table.

downton_table

I’m pretty sure this is exactly what my family’s Sunday dinners looked like…

Idyllic memories aside, there were some downsides to this heaven-on-earth. Squishy piles of pumpkin-orange mashed turnips that I love so much now were a decided turnoff as were insipid soggy pale-green peas delicately served from a Green Giant tin can.

There are what we call comfort foods.

This is what I would call a comfort meal.

It was a warm, friendly, dreamlike scenario that played out once a week, every week. My parents and my brothers and sisters and maybe their partners gathered around a family table. We shared a roast beef and we shared the stories of the past week, both good and bad. This was the scene of many many middle-class WASP families in Canada of the 1960’s and 1970’s.

There were no cookbooks in sight or for that matter anywhere in the house. Food preparation was something handed down from mother to daughter with time worn recipes (sometimes hand-written on cards) that were part of the DNA of any woman worth attracting a man of substance.

But we boys and men didn’t cook. We might help out a bit on the side mashing fluffy potatoes or carrying plates to the table. And on hot summer weekend days, men held dominion over outdoor cooking on the BBQ where clouds of charcoal smoke, beer and red meat encapsulated the spirit of manliness.

danger_men_cooking_

But real cooking belonged to the girls.

In yesterday’s world, men were the bread winners and women were the bread makers.

And yet, something that was taken for granted just 50 years ago, that is, that woman do the cooking, has been totally turned upside down.

Today, I love to cook. Lots of men do.

The reason? Men have finally learned one of the great secrets in life.

Good Male Cooking = Sex

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I first came to enjoy cooking as a way into a young lady’s pants.

Some guys build big vein-streaked muscles or hunch over greasy car motors to attract cute girls. For those of us non-hulky young fellows lacking any sort of mechanical aptitude, we had to resort to other means to draw sweet bees to our hives.

I developed two strengths that assisted in my often weak attempts to seduce and capture the hearts of young women. I learned to strum the guitar. And … I learned that cooking for the fairer sex could be a powerful aphrodisiac. Go figure.

Women chefs cook with their hearts and souls in pursuit of nourishment of the body and their families, while male chefs cook with their head and their private parts in pursuit of … well, you know. An exception to this is poutingly-hot TV cook Nigella Lawson who has cornered the sexy female side of food preparation. I would devour uncooked scorpions from her fingertips.

My go-to dish was French Onion Soup.

French Onion Soup with Stringy Melted Cheese 500

It was my fishing lure of choice in the sea of attraction. The broth was dark and rich and tantalizingly fragrant, with a hint of fresh thyme. It had the whiff of European sophistication that layered me with a hint of cosmopolitan elan. And there is something very pre-orgasmic about a dish that has a guy and a girl eyeing each other across a table with gooey strings of molten swiss cheese hanging teasingly from a spoon.

I used my cooking skills on one or two (OK, maybe 3!) occasions in my teen and early 20’s years to lure and seduce. Did it always work? I would say yes, although to be honest, I didn’t normally cook for someone until the outcome was almost 100% secured. Cooking just sealed the carnal deal!

Years have passed, and now that I’m older and happily coupled, cooking is a pleasurable part of my everyday existence, and not just BBQ’s! I love to combine spices and flavours to make something exciting to look at, savour, and taste.

My kids don’t see anything sexy or alluring about the dishes I set at the table, which is a good thing. While it’s all simple and straightforward, the colours and textures of foods are still a sensual experience of pleasure.

The sight and scent today of a plate of steaming roast beef at the table takes me inside myself to a warm time of family pleasure and the company of my long-gone parents. I longingly wish that I could make pan-roasted potatoes or apple pie that compared to my Mom’s.

Life has its cycles and rhythms. Yesterday my son in Nova Scotia phoned while walking on his way home from purchasing fresh beets to make Borscht … hmm … could this be his “seduction” dish?

If my kids only knew the thoughts that course through my head when we sit around the table together and I sip a spoonful of French Onion Soup … well, I can hear them now…EWWWWW!

When I grow up, I'm gonna cook sexy food just like Dad...

When I grow up, I’m gonna cook sexy food just like Dad…

 

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