A slight breeze whispers through the trees. Fortune favors me this misty morning for the wind hides my scent, carrying it away from my intended prey. All morning I’ve tracked this fearsome beast. Waiting for that one perfect moment, that split second, frozen in time. I let fly my spear, giving a silent prayer to the Gods of the hunt. The animal screams and falls dead. Today is a good day because I eat. A voice from the heavens booms, “Clean up in Aisle 7.” The manager starts screaming “Get Out! I’m calling the cops!”
It’s not my fault. I told my girlfriend that guys don’t shop. We hunt. Sure you can send us to the grocery store, but make sure we have a list. We hunt for the milk. We hunt for the bread. We make the kill then we’re out of there, and as for the tampons…
A lot of us also don’t cook, and that’s why Don’t Fry Bacon with Your Shirt Off: A Single Man’s Guide to the Kitchen by Bob Woodley is going to come in handy. Not frying bacon with your shirt off is the first rule for the single man for a number of reasons. You don’t want to burn the skin off your chest, and you want to be able to eat your BLT without burning down the house.
The great thing about this book is that Bob breaks it down in guy-like instructions. Just like with any basic skill, there are levels of competence. You might feel comfortable rewiring your house or your level of handiness might be changing a light bulb. If you are eating cereal for dinner and think that the refrigerator is just for keeping your beer cold, then this book is for you.
The book starts with the basics–a list of all the pots, pans, utensils, and other stuff you may eventually want to have. Don’t worry about having to run out and buy that fondue pot. He lists the stuff you will need most first, and just like buying any tool, whether a power drill or a frying pan, quality counts.
One of the few things that modern man has over Neanderthals is the ability to store food for later consumption. This handy book covers some of the basics. There’s more to storage than Tupperware. What’s the sense of buying the econopack of chicken wings only to have to throw half of them away?
This isn’t a cookbook full of recipes, though he does manage to sneak in a couple. If you are a typical guy, a recipe is just like a set of directions for putting together a BBQ grill. First you read it thoroughly, drink a cold beer, and then throw it away, because you’re a guy and you don’t need directions. Bob does cover where to find recipes and how to follow a recipe, and you know Aunt Martha is just dying to give you her famous meatloaf secret.
The book also covers Mexican and Italian food, pasta, ground beef, the amazing egg (it’s not just for breakfast anymore), and how to cook for a party. The important survival mode chapter is for those who just need to get by, whether the end of the semester is coming or you’re recently divorced, and don’t want to starve, live on fast food or microwave popcorn, and pizza. The best way to reheat cold pizza by the way is to use a toaster oven, not a microwave.
This book is a great gift for your friend who just got his first bachelor pad or for the recently divorced buddy. Grab a six-pack, drop by and leave the book on the kitchen counter. Just don’t consume alcohol and decide to cook up something. It may seem like a great idea, but jalapeno poppers are not for the uninitiated and grease fires can be nasty. (Note: do not use water or beer to put out a grease fire. Smother it was a pan lid, use a lot of baking soda, or a chemical fire extinguisher, and when it doubt, get out.) So, do the single man you know a favor. This book won’t make him a chef, but it can make him a cook. Grab this book, serve, and enjoy.