In recent years the world has seen millions of adults living alone. For men, whereas once it was all about going from mum’s cooking to wife’s, now we’re spending long periods fending for ourselves, and while gender equality has advanced a lot and cookery is taught to boys in some schools, it is still the case that there are untold numbers of blokes out there eating chicken nuggets and baked beans or living on takeaways.
But why? You can do a bit of car maintenance, fix things around the house, paint and decorate… so what’s so hard about preparing some food?
If you fall into this category, BLOKE IN THE KITCHEN is for you. It’s written by a cowboy for cowboys: a man who makes it up as he goes along but has been doing it for a long time – and has a bit of a flair for it.
That’s me: a jobbing writer, single for a long time, married for a few years, divorced, single again for 10 and determined not to eat rubbish. Besides, I had my kids to feed from time to time, not to mention the occasional woman to impress.
I started off cooking in my early 20s, and it wasn’t rocket science. It wasn’t that good, either, but when the idea is to get something in your stomach to soak up the booze you’re about to consume, something is better than nothing. I was doing boil-in-the-bag fish with sauce included, defrosting bricks of spinach, boiling up frozen peas, using instant mashed potato… all that sort of stuff.
And there are good things in there: vitamins and minerals, protein, fibre etc. But as far as cooking is concerned, that’s like learning to walk and tottering around the room (with a fair amount of falling over involved as you overcook things or undercook them and end up eating superheated mush or hot-crusted ice).
Maybe you’re not even that sophisticated. Maybe heating up a pizza is as creative as you get. But if there’s a spark inside you that wants to light the flame of your culinary flair, this will help you to get started.
YOU CAN DO THIS
It’s all about being flexible, creative – and having a go. Recipes are useful, obviously, but many of us are too much of a cowboy to slavishly follow them. And anyway, you don’t have the ingredients at your disposal that real chefs seem to assume everyone does.
The aim of this blog is to teach blokes – and girls – to make something out of what they’ve got in the house – or just fly into the supermarket and pick a few things up.
You don’t want to be in the kitchen for hours and nor do I.
Grab a few ingredients, mix them together and be eating in half an hour or so – that’s what I’m talking about. Radio on in the background, glass of wine on the go, and a decent result at the end of it.
Cowboy tip: EXPERIMENT ON YOURSELF. Try things out in advance to avoid a disaster on the day.