Recipes Every Man Should Know
The Every Man Should Know series of books includes Jokes Every Man Should Know, Dirty Jokes Every Man Should Know, and Stuff Every Man Should Know. I own the two joke books of the series, and I’d highly recommend them both (Good jokes are something no man should be without). Yesterday I received a copy of Recipes Every Man Should Know to add to my collection. My responsibility, in return for getting the free book from the publisher, is to tell you what I think of it. Therefore, yesterday afternoon and evening I set out to read the introduction and to prepare two of the recipes for my family and to let them tell me what they thought so I could report it to you today. My cooking skills, though, are less than exemplary, and I hardly ever follow recipes when preparing meals. My biggest request of any recipe book is to make food that is presentable yet uncomplicated and unpretentious; I don’t have the patience for presentation.
I decided to start with a simple side dish that I could serve along with the grilled chicken I was already planning to serve. I picked the easiest one I could find, Garlicky Spinach. The recipe is designed for 2 servings so I just doubled it. Here it is: A bag of spinach, a minced garlic clove, olive oil, salt, and crushed red pepper.
“Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook garlic 1 minute. Add Spinach. Toss until wilted, about 1 minute (the spinach will shrink A LOT). Season with red pepper flakes and salt.”
It was excellent! However, since I was making it for my family and not just me or me and a guest, I had to make two batches as one bag of spinach (12 ounces) fills up my entire large skillet. It wasn’t a problem though because it only takes about two minutes per batch (the spinach shrinks up really fast). The other alteration I made was to prepare it with 5 garlic cloves and not 2; I like garlic and 1 clove per batch didn’t seem like enough. The end result was a side dish that I now remember (no need to read it again) and which is easy, healthy, and infinitely tasty.
Beef and Beer Chili:
There are quite a few ingredients to this one, but they’re things you probably have in your cupboard already (I had everything except the pinto beans). I’m not going to reproduce the whole recipe instructions here, but I will say that it’s super easy despite the number of ingredients. Here are the Ingredients: Canola Oil, 1 Yellow Onion, I Red Bell Pepper, 1 ¼ ground beef, 1 ½ tablespoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon cumin, salt, 2 tablespoons light brown sugar, 2 cans pinto beans, 1 can diced tomatoes, 1 bottle of dark beer, 1 teaspoon cornmeal (if you want it thicker). It took me 35 minutes including cook time (which was 30 of those 35 minutes). The end result of this recipe was highly filling. A medium sized bowl was enough for me, and it fed the 4 of us easily (serves 6-8 according to the recipe). Thus, both recipes, the very quick garlicky spinach and the chili which took more time, were successful.
Who Would Like this Recipe Book?
My friend PJ, the super awesome chef of my blogging circle, probably wouldn’t get much out of this book. He already has a repertoire of satisfying meals, and he seems to enjoy making impressive creations. There are a few impressive recipes in this book, like the Sexy Strawberries Zabaglione (intended, obviously, for date night), but none of them are difficult. There are several that take over an hour, like the Jambalaya. But, again, none of them are difficult. Most have 10 minutes or less prep times and less than 30 minute cook times. The diet conscious person would also not like this book. That doesn’t mean the meals aren’t nutritious. They are. It’s just that they aren’t low calorie or fat free.
Why I Like It:
I like it because the meals are hearty, nutritious, easy to remember, and not snobby or flashy. The book is clearly intended to appeal to a man’s sense of taste, but I would think, if I didn’t know the title, that this is family food. There’s a recipe for Quick and Easy Quesadillas, Spaghetti with Meatballs, Roasted Asparagus, Grilled Vegetables, Pasta Carbonara, Breakfast Burritos, and a number of other things I know my family will like. However, it also appeals to my grown up tastes with a few classic cocktails (Gimlet, and Manhattan to name two). This book would be good for anybody whose cooking skills aren’t top notch but who still wants to have a variegated catalogue of solid homemade meals. All the recipes, as far as I can tell, lend themselves to both family meals and single person fare. In other words, I would have used this book (had it been available in the stone ages) before marriage. And do you know what one of the greatest things is about this book? It fits in your pocket! I took it to the store with me yesterday and totally did not look stupid looking for my ingredient list. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve screwed up recipes because I forget to write something down. The downside to having a pocket size book is that it’s hard to refer to it while cooking. I overcame that by using a large binder clip to hold it open.
It makes a good gift item – Maybe a stocking stuffer for Dad or a thoughtful present to someone who’s cooking needs a quick fix. Perhaps a mother would get it for her son who just started living on his own.
· Hearty Breakfast Classics: 13 Recipes
· Sandwiches, Burgers & Snacks: 20 Recipes
· Meat & Potato Dinners: 27 Recipes (including some sauces)
· Beer, Bacon & Bar Food: 17 Recipes
· Chocolate, Cheesecake & More: 10 Recipes (plus 6 cocktails, 4 milkshakes and several frostings)