Back for a final go-round after a summer hiatus...
For a page featuring two recipes beginning with the letter S and a baseball player adorned in S emblems, you'd think the illustrator would have included foods that started with S. Unless the that apple in his glove is a spartan, or the cupcake/muffin on the table is strawberry-chocolate flavoured, there is a distinct lack of S-foods. There is the possibility the connection lies in a theme of sweetly-flavoured items men can enjoy. "Sweet" begins with "S"!
My father was a man of many talents. Cooking was not among them. It wasn't that he was bad at it, just that he rarely did so. Usually we'd go out if Mom wasn't around for dinner, but occasionally he made his lone specialty, spaghetti. He prepared it classic 20th century North American household style: boil a pot of water, add pasta, drain, toss with jarred sauce. While all of us showered our spaghetti with a sprinkle of Kraft's finest green-tinned parmesan, Dad added to his plate crushed hot peppers from a Club House spice jar that may have predated man's first steps on the moon. It was a tasty treat for kids which seemed extra special when he made it.
Whenever we ate pasta, the odds were good Dad would quote a key line from a late 1960s Alka-Seltzer commercial. Based on the blooper reel above, Dad delivered his mock Italian accent with more conviction and fewer faulty stoves.
In a book devoted to manly foods, a steak recipe was inevitable. This one tosses in a bevy of manly ingredients: beer, chili sauce, strong mustard, and Tabasco sauce. Though the tomatoes vinaigrette recipe includes wimpy lettuce, the leaves are only there as garnish to briefly distract a manly diner from thick pieces of bloody-red tomatoes. A slab of meat and chunky vegetables equal a primal meal fit for a mighty hunter, even if the hunt now consists of comparing specials in the weekly supermarket flyers.
The remaining recipes here are anything but primal, relying on processed short cuts (Bisquick for the cake, instant "Potato Buds" for the soup) to make life easier.
The final batch of recipes. After overindulging on weiner schnitzel, the test kitchen said "enough!" Left with no suggestions to fill out the last three letters of the alphabet, the editors panicked. While finding dishes for Y (yams, yogurt) and Z (ziti, zucchini) wouldn't be difficult, X posed a problem. Finally, after an exhaustive six-hour meeting where the notion of "Xanthan Gum Delight" was repeatedly rejected, the editors devised a cop-out solution: readers could decide what special meals beginning with X, Y and Z were foods men liked.
Our journey ends with the back cover. Remember to make up for lost time by preparing food the man in your life will enjoy...or anyone, regardless of gender, will savour on a special occasion.
One lingering question: did Betty Crocker Kitchens prepare the logical companion volume to this tome, Foods Women Like?