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Eat Like a Man - Cookbook Review

The Only Cookbook a Man Will Ever Need

By Ryan D'Agostino

(Chronicle Books, 2011)


Ryan D'Agostino's Eat Like a Man includes more than 100 mainly simple, tasty (and occasionally date-worthy) recipes from top chefs

If you're not comfortable with a cookbook that drops the F-bomb, then Eat like a Man: The Only Cookbook a Man Will Ever Need is not for you. But if you're a man more at home in the garage than the kitchen, this unique Esquire magazine publication could introduce you to the Joy of Cooking in a way other conventional cookbooks can't. This handsome tome includes more than 100 mainly simple, tasty (and occasionally date-worthy) recipes from top chefs, simple explanations and photos of cooking techniques, as well as interstitial musings about food from a man's perspective.

The book is broken up into six sections: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Sides, Dessert, and Drinks (with Food), containing innovative dishes, many featuring manly ingredients and unadorned extreme-close-up photographs. Each recipe, including contributions from Tom Colicchio (Craftsteak), Mario Batali (Del Posto), John Besh (Restaurant August) and Daniel Boulud (Daniel), is rated for its degree of difficulty, like an Olympic dive. The resuscitated pizza — reheating a leftover slice, then topping it with crumbled bacon and a sunny-side up egg — is "easy," as is bourbon and brown sugar salmon from Mark Gaier and Clark Frasier (Arrows). More difficult dishes such as beef stew with ale are marked "reasonable," while the most taxing, such as butter-poached bone-in top loin are graded "worth the effort."

Even if the man in your life uses his oven for storage, he would still benefit from reading the articles. Besides informative pieces like "Things a Man Should Know About Wine and Spirits" and "The Whirley Popper" (about a popcorn machine), there are entertaining essays from chefs and writers that will stick to your brain if not your ribs.

Esquire won a James Beard Award for "Magazine Feature Writing with Recipes" for its issue on How Men Eat, so rest assured the recipes and food content are worthwhile. We disagree with the hyperbolic subtitle that this is the only cookbook a man will ever need, but it's a good start to a novice's culinary library. We also take issue with the decision to include only one dessert recipe, for fruit crisp, dubbing it "the only dessert you'll ever need." In our experience, men eat more desserts than women. We had heard that real men don't eat quiche, but since when do we not enjoy cake, cookies and ice cream?

Try Rick Moonen's Catfish Sloppy Joe recipe from Eat Like a Man

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