Most men work at the office. Where there is little time for lunch. Or just a quick bite in the cafeteria. Or where they eat from their desk. Where they sit behind the computer all day or have important meetings with other important people who also have important meetings. Sometimes they go outside for a walk, which is wonderful, or for a business lunch or business dinner. Which is very nice of course, but where the food is very rich, most of the time, where they drink too much alcohol, and where they somehow have to keep a clear mind, for they are discussing business. And where they have to watch out later, when they drive home or to their office.
On Saturday most men are stressed out. But not their women. They have been at home all week, we hope, and are looking forward to an exiting weekend with their husband, and the kids, in a shopping mall, amusement park or some other place where thousands of people, all with screaming children, come together. This is not the way to get rid of your stress, of course. There is a better way.
We men need to have fun. That is what eliminates stress. So we can buy an old Harley Davidson and go drive all day with the boys through the countryside. Making a lot of noise and scaring all the old ladies. Or patch up an old sports mobile. Or have any other expensive hobby. Most of the time outdoors.
I propose a different kind of sport. Cooking, cooking in your own house, cooking in your own kitchen. I assume that you too own part of the house and that you too have paid for this wonderful kitchen. So you have every right to be there. And you should have fun. Fun in your own house. So you will ask your wife or girlfriend, very friendly, to leave the house for the day. That should be no problem for she has been telling you for weeks that she wanted to see some friends. And you don’t want your lovely partner putting her head around the door of the kitchen every half hour, asking ”if everything is all right”. If one of your children wants to stay with you, wonderful. You can have a great day together. They get to know their daddy better and in a good mood and you learn a bit more about your child.
Now men cook differently. We like to think the whole thing over and carefully plan what to do. So we first have another cup of coffee and then we select one of the recipe’s from my book. We make a list of what to buy and go to the market. For we need fresh vegetables and good meat, good chicken, fresh fish or whatever. We take our time to talk to the people selling these things. They know the best way to prepare their food. We might need some special advise of the fish-monger if we go for a Bouillabaisse or of the Chinese if we go for a Thai buffet. And taste some of course.
And if we meet a friend, no problem, we have all day so there is plenty of time for a drink. There is one more thing we have to do before we go home. We, we men, we need good equipment. The best there is. Nothing is good enough for us as starting amateur cooks. Good pans, good knifes, good sieves and strainers, towels, bowls, some special equipment, everything. And if your partner complains that you spend too much money on all these items, then tell her that they will last for years, maybe even longer than your relationship, but don’t say that) and that they are a good investment. And if they persist then tell them that you are planning to buy another Harley Davidson.
At home we carefully sort out all our goods. Spreading them on the table, putting them into dishes and bowls or storing them in the fridge. We men like to work in good order. Cooking is a process, to be undertaken step by step. So we first take drink. A beer or a good glass of cold, dry white wine. And we switch on the radio, to our favourite program, we may choose now, or we bring our DVD player or our i-tunes. Whatever.
Then we go to work. Step by step. Cleaning the vegetables. And then, take a moment to reflect. Feel with your fingers the wonderful products of mother earth. Smell the exiting aromas coming from cutting the vegetables, or the fish or meat. Listing to your new knife going “tsjak, tsjak” through the vegetables. Isn’t that a miracle? Isn’t that having fun?
Smell the aroma of the softly boiling bouillon. Coming from your new pan with the thick bottom. Where you have put some much meat and vegetables.
I am not going to tell you how to cook. That is all in my book. Written down in our special language. Step by step, and alternated by some amusing stories. Just one piece of advice, or rather two. First clean up the kitchen. Make it cleaner, much cleaner than it was before. We don’t want our partner saying afterwards: “well the food was okay, but the kitchen was a bloody mess” We don’t want that. And the second is to be prepared that most women always have to say something negative first. It is almost a must. I don’t know why, but they do. If you have laid out the table with your best dinner-set, they might say something like: “yes but this spoon should have been there”. Don’t let it spoil your fun. Pretend you didn’t hear it or correct it with a smile. Otherwise your whole day is ruined. And you just had so much fun. And if they persist you can always go back to your Harley Davidson.
The manuscript is written in Dutch. It contains about 80 pages of typed text, size A4. It needs some pictures or drawings to illustrate the most interesting situations and the best food. I have not yet found a publisher.
It can be translated in English fairly quickly.