Be a Man: Learn to Cook

Good Lord, what an insane week it's been. I'm glad it's over, yet my work still is not done. Regardless, I still had a little time to do some thinking about certain topics that are near and dear to me. One of them is, of course, food. Like most sensible men, I love good food and I enjoy the experience of eating fresh, tasty, nutritious food that tastes and smells great. And there are few things more enjoyable, to me at least, than preparing that food myself using high-quality but basic ingredients and just a few simple tools.

There was a time when telling a man to learn how to cook for himself would have been completely pointless. Either a man would be settled down and married to a good woman who could cook for him, or he would be single and have multiple food options available to him, or he would have a woman in his life with basic homemaking skills.

Sadly, that is not the world we live in today. Women have concentrated so hard on grrrl power and self-realisation that their basic skills in the home are poor or non-existent. Men are either stuck eating take-out from restaurants, or dealing with the latest in tofu-munching "wisdom" from their significant others. Take-out and fast food is horrible for you; the fats and oils that go into it are the cheapest available, of the soy- and corn- and vegetable-derived variety, which means that you run serious risk of ingesting large quantities of trans fats which (in technical terms) screw up all kinds of stuff in your body. And stuff like tofu, hummus, breads, pastas, and most processed bean and cereal products, are simply not things your body can digest or handle easily.

Moreover, the "conventional wisdom" these days forces us to eat complicated and difficult-to-prepare meals that require diverse ingredients and long cooking times in order to make "healthy" food that is in reality poisonous to our bodies and minds. The fact is that cooking a delicious meal for one or two people should not take more than 20-30 minutes of preparation time, and if you're using a pan or a skillet then it should take you no more than 10 minutes to actually cook everything you need.

If you are prepared to eat Paleo, if you work out by lifting heavy things two or three times a week, then you need to abandon the conventional wisdom about food and go back to simple yet delicious meals prepared quickly and easily using the freshest ingredients you can find. And there's good news here: it is in fact easier to cook this way than it ever was to cook any other way.

You really can have it all- huge amounts of tasty food that leave you feeling full and satisfied, that takes maybe 20-30 minutes at most to prepare, and that will cause your testosterone and energy levels to shoot up while giving you the nutrition that you need to be strong.

Tools You Need

Forget the TV shows that try to sell you entire racks of knives and sets of cookware. It's all BS. This is all you need:

  • A large and very very sharp cleaver or butcher's knife. I've had mine for nearly 10 years and I sharpen it every week. It's my favourite knife by far.
  • A small paring or cutting knife.
  • A cutting board. Get a bamboo one if you can find it.
  • A 10-inch non-stick skillet. If you want, supplement it with a 10-inch stainless steel skillet for high-heat cooking; Teflon doesn't stand up well against repeated high-heat, high-speed cooking.
  • A large, solidly built non-stick wok. (Great for those stir-fry breakfasts that take like 5 minutes to make if you've already chopped everything up the night before.)
  • A cast-iron grill. It should be so heavy that you'll be worried about breaking your wrist if you don't hold it properly.
  • A grater and a garlic press.
  • A crock pot for those meals that you just want to prepare and forget about. You can get a 4-5qt crock pot for like $30 these days. One of these will make the toughest piece of low-grade beef as tender as a ribeye steak after 4 hours of slow cooking. Once you make beef chili in a crock pot, you'll understand.
That's it. That's the entire list of tools that I use on a regular basis. And it all costs a maximum of $200- significantly less if you're willing to shop around- and it'll last for years if not decades. The amount of money you'll save on crappy take-out food from eating the food that you prepare yourself using these tools is immense.

The Basic Ingredients of ANY Paleo Meal

Now that you've got your tools, it's time to ensure that you have some ingredients on hand at any time for any meal you want to prepare. This means:
  • A ready supply of high-quality proteins- beef, chicken, fish, eggs, pork (bacon!!!), and any other form of animal protein that you really enjoy. If you're a vegetarian- sucks to be you, really.
  • Lots of leafy green vegetables- spinach, salad greens, kale, etc.
  • Various other vegetables that you enjoy- broccoli, tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, carrots, stuff like that
  • Spices- any spice mix at your local grocer will do, but ensure that you're paying for good quality spices that will last you a while. I go through spices quickly because I come from a culture that enjoys highly spiced and aromatic foods.
  • Fruits- my fridge is stocked at all times with berries, dates, and often bananas. Fruit is my primary and often only source of sugar these days, so I might as well enjoy them.
  • Cooking fats- probably the most important aspect of the Primal approach to life. Saturated fat is good for you, and don't ever forget that. Get yourself some extra virgin coconut oil, grass-fed butter, and extra-virgin olive oil. A man could live a long and happy life on just these three fats. I also keep a supply of nut oils for variety and flavour, as well as a jar of bacon grease (which makes everything cooked in it taste amazing).
Cooking Is Easy

The basic Primal approach to cooking is really, really simple. Take a piece of good-quality meat. Cook it in a good-sized chunk of fat- coconut oil, lard, tallow, bacon grease, butter, almond/macadamia oil, whatever. Use spices for taste. Add vegetables for digestion and health (and in my case, taste- I do like my salads). Cook until the meat is tender. Eat with a big mug of coffee or tea, or a glass of delicious red wine. That's it.

This isn't difficult, and it's amazing that we are taught anything else as children. Cooking doesn't have to be an ordeal. I've been cooking for myself for about 10 years now, and I thoroughly enjoy preparing and cooking my own food. It's fast, it's easy, and it tastes amazing. What more could a man want?

Things Any Man Can Make
  • Bacon and eggs: take half a tomato, some mushrooms, a quarter of an onion, and an eighth of a bell pepper. Chop everything up. Whisk at least two eggs until smooth and blended. Dump veggies in a pan in at least a teaspoon of butter. Cook for 3-5 minutes, add eggs, scramble until golden brown. Make bacon in the microwave or on another skillet. Eat with cheese and coffee, followed by fruits in heavy cream.
  • STEAK!: There are very few women out there who I've found can really cook a killer steak. And that's because steak is very simple to cook, but it requires timing and precision, not faffing about. Sear a hunk of ribeye for 2-2.5min per side (depending on thickness). Dump in an oven heated to at least 200 degrees Celsius and cook on each side for 4-6min. Keep cooking until blood rises to the surface. Remove, add salad greens and red wine to your table, and then proceed to tear it apart like an animal.
  • Paleo stir fries- my idea of a really good breakfast these days involves seemingly half a produce aisle chopped up and dumped in a wok. Honestly, just chop up a bunch of onions, mushrooms, carrots, and broccoli, add spinach if you want. Get a few boneless chicken thighs, cube and dice. Cook the meat first in a very very hot wok in coconut oil, and lots of it. Remove the meat. Add the veggies. Stir around until the veggies just start to get soft. Add the meat back in. Add some spices and tamari (gluten-free soy sauce).
None of these things takes longer than 30 minutes to make. All of them will leave you feeling full and happy for hours- yesterday I had a steak and giant salad for breakfast with a mug of coffee and a bowl of fruit. I didn't eat anything else for the next 15 hours, and I put in an absurdly hard workout in the evening. And I was operating on less than 6 hours' sleep and I had an extremely busy day. At no point did I feel more than a mild grumbling hunger, easily assuaged with a cup of tea with nothing in it.

The Bottom Line

Eating this way is healthier, cheaper, and easier than any other. You will be able to eat the things you want, that your body has always been designed to digest, and that will make you strong and energetic in a way that people on conventional diets can only dimly understand. Most people who eat conventionally simply cannot abide the idea of going 24 hours without food- I do that once a week. Try this out, and your wallet and your doctor will thank you for it.

Comments

  1. Thank you Sir.

    ReplyDelete
  2. You should add a mortar and pestle or industrial pepper grinder to that list. If you haven't tried fresh herbs,prepared especially for your meal at the time of eating it or shortly before, you haven't lived.

    ReplyDelete

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