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Being the cook of the house, I also feel an urgent need to lay to rest notions of cooking as a pansy sport. In manly circles, it is thought of in the same light as badminton or croquette, fit only for the effeminate. In reality, cooking is more akin to the rough-and-tumble sport of baseball, borrowing such terms as batter and fowl. It also requires plates and heavy mitts for effective play. Its participants need, in equal parts, power, finesse and intelligence.
Beyond sports analogies, cooking also demands the use of a vast array of tools easily as specialized as auto-mechanics or electronics. A cook may use spatulas, rolling pins and calendars. Hammers and a variety of knives come in handy, too. Not that the art of cooking is so complex that you need to take a battery of courses at the local vocational technical college to do it. Cooking is only as complex as you wish to make it. You can make a simple bowl of oatmeal in the microwave or a complex Chicken Cordon Bleu. You can whip up a bowl of canned soup or make baklava from "scratch."
I suppose I should pause here to explain the word "scratch" so that the reader does not presume I am falling back on my baseball analogy. For a cook to make something from scratch is to attempt to throw together a palatable dish using only basic ingredients. When I say "basic," I mean basic. These ingredients are the elements that form the chemical chart we were all forced to memorize in chemistry class in high school. I�m not big on scratch recipes. So to use this cookbook, you will not be required to break out your son�s chemistry set. Luckily, in the modern world, most carbon-based consumables have already been formulated into a readily edible substance. For example, you don�t need to go through the trouble of making pie crust from flour, water and polyunsaturated gelatinized sunflower seed oil. You can get it from a box, roll it out and flop it in a tin. Or you can even buy the crust pre-made. Heck, you can just buy the whole pie frozen.
This prompts a second question, and a good question: "If I can get food pre-made, for example in a restaurant, then why bother cooking at all?"
I have racked my brain and scrounged up several good reasons. First, any real man is as much of a tight wad as I am. He can�t afford to go out to dinner every night and going out on a date makes this procedure doubly expensive.
An even better reason is that no one makes food to my taste as well as I do. I know just how much paprika and hot sauce to dump into my chili and how many onions to toss into a chicken teriyaki. I know enough to keep my food simple, and to avoid the baser elements on chemical chart: no molybdenum, ferrous oxide, Tang instant breakfast mix or Brussels sprouts.
The best reason to cook is for the sheer joy of it. There are many who would argue with me about this. Even my own mother tells me what a drag cooking can be. But cooking is like any other activity. You get out of it in proportion to what you put into it (and this has nothing to do with Newton�s Law of Conservation of Matter and Energy that we were also forced to memorize in high school). I get a bang out of cooking because I make it fun, and I make the food I like. When a dish turns out to taste good there is also the satisfaction derived from a job well done.
Finally, if it has been too long since your wife or girlfriend granted you her favors, cooking works wonders where the usual pleading and begging will fail. You can pretend to be the sensitive lover, when all you have done is throw a can of mushroom soup over a slab of beef and dumped some instant mashed potatoes into a pan of boiling water.