Men and the Kitchen

Posted: January 4, 2011 in Uncategorized

A Philippine Daily Inquirer story got my attention today. Here’s an excerpt of that story:

More Asian men taking over kitchen

By Riza T. Olchondra, Philippine Daily Inquirer

First Posted 04:03:00 01/04/2011

MANILA, Philippines—A gender shift is taking place in the kitchen in the Philippines and the rest of Asia, according to the Electrolux Asian Food Survey 2010.

Women have traditionally ruled the kitchen but these days, more men are spending time in the kitchen and becoming “connoisseurs of epicurean pleasures.”

Results of the online survey that covered 4,000 respondents show that about 66 percent of men enjoy or are passionate about cooking with the fairer sex falling behind at 63 percent.

Considered to be sensitive and metrosexual, men who cook are “in” and sleek kitchen appliances are now his power-tools; a tantalizing meal is now his pet project, said the survey report.

My question is: what does “being sensitive and metrosexual” have to do with men who cook? Are “metrosexual” men those that exhibit more of their feminine side than otherwise expected? So, that’s why they cook? I can’t even call that logic.

I belong, proudly, to a Batangueño lineage with nearly 80% of the family being male. The same 80% love being in the kitchen—even before metrosexuals seemed to have dominated it, as the report apparently suggests.

My late father’s seafood kare-kare (scallops, crab meat and mussels cooked in peanut stew) is an all-time favourite in the Salud dinner table. Much of the time he was the one who prepared the table during parties at our home with his notoriously sinful kalderetang baka (beef strips stewed in tomato paste), pasta de Oskar (super spicy tomato pasta dish topped with halapeño strips and meatballs, Chicken ala Bocayo (steamed chicken cut in strips and dipped in three different sauces—from sweet to spicy), and his own favourite lumpia de lengua (lengua meat and thick gravy wrapped in lumpia wraps with whole halapeño, bean sprouts, young onion strips and crushed garlic).

My uncle has pinaumpong manok as a feather on his cap, so to speak. Boiled whole chicken made to “sit” on top of rice grains, pork fat and spices. It is later deep fried to golden brown and stuffed with spices.

My other uncle, Tex, cooks a mean kalderetang kambing. Goat meat stewed in tomato paste garnished with potatoes, red and green bell peppers, and mixed with liver paste and siling labuyo. He also cooks a mean kinilaw na balat ng kambing and adobong kambing (goat meat cooked in garlic and vinegar and fried dry).

I, for one, love to cook. When I’m not writing, I take the reins of the kitchen and cook up dishes like Liveracci, my own version of fried rice (rice fried with salty and spicy shrimp paste (bagoong), preferably Barrio Fiesta’s, and topped with green peas, ham strips, cubed hotdogs, carrot cubes, kernel corn and chicken liver strips).

My other specialties are: Chicken ala King (chicken cooked in mushroom stew, topped with mushrooms, carrots, potatoes, etc.; Chicken ala Owel (chicken salted by fish sauce (patis) and rubbed with a little brown sugar, then deep fried); and munggo (monggo seeds cooked with tinapa strips (smoked fish), ampalaya fruit, ampalaya leaves and chorizo). Each of my male cousins (we are about 30 plus in all) has their own versions of native dishes to boast of.

I have friends—strapping hunks all of them—who are as good in the kitchen as they are in bed with their wives.

Are we therefore metrosexuals? Sensitive? A tad more feminine? Alpha Males, yes, as anyone who knows us personally will attest. Call us metrosexuals and you’ll be in for the surprise of your life!

 

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Comments
  1. Relly Carpio says:

    Someone told me that metrosexuals are men with better hygiene and smell good. I told her real men don’t bathe.

    As for cooking, Metrosexual cooks begin from the grocery. Real Men Cooks begin from the hunt, through the slaughter, through the cleaning and skinning, through the butchering, and then onwards to food prep. Metrosexuals begin chopping the onions all pristine. Real Men Cooks are covered in blood by that time.

    Its just that these days, learning to cook is easier because of the ready availability of ingredients versus the time that you and me were growing up. Which is why it’s easier to embrace learning to cook, and with ten thousand cooking shows on cable and the internet, it is also easier to learn.

    Also we have to take into account that women these days are no longer into the whole “woman belongs in the kitchen gaddemit!” attitude. So its either men start learning how to cook or survive on tins.

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