Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Dishes Men Like.

Today, February 6th …

I thought we needed a balance to the English ‘Wives Day’ story of last week, and the headline of an article in the London Times on this day in 1939 caught my eye: ‘In an American Kitchen: Dishes Men Like’.

Perfect, I thought - not just a focus on men’s food, but an extra dimension too - an English interpretation of the American idea of men’s food. An article to teach British men how to give their tired women a break by donning aprons, firing up the BBQ and cooking manly outdoor cowboy food perhaps?

I should have read the article more closely before I committed myself to using it today, for the article is clearly addressed to Wives, and the Work is intended for Wives. It is about Dishes Men Likea Women to Cook For Them, it is not about Dishes Men Like to Cook. It clearly demonstrates that in 1939 the primary responsibility of an American Wife was identical to that of an English Wife – the difference being in the mere details of ingredients, assembly and recipe naming. ‘Yankee Meat Cakes’ are rissoles after all. But whatever you call them, if you (I address myself to Wives here) cook them well, be assured that your man will be ‘gastronomically grateful’.

‘In an American Kitchen: Dishes Men Like’

Men’s culinary enthusiasms range from the sublime to the ridiculous, but with one accord they all cheer certain dishes. Cooking for men is one of the few efforts in which a woman can invest her time and energy with selfish abandon and yet emerge with the men entirely on her side, and gastronomically grateful. You might try these American favourites and let them turn into your triumphs.

Yankee Meat Cakes.
Place ½ lb beef, cut from the round, which has been minced twice by the butcher, in a mixing bowl and add to it one teaspoonful of grated onion, 1 ½ teaspoonfuls of salt, and one-eighth of a teaspoonful of pepper. Soak one slice of bread, cut 1 in. thick and grated, in two-thirds of a standard measuring cupful of hot milk, or a very generous gill, for five minutes, and mix well with the meat. Then beat with a wooden spoon for at least eight minutes, and when the mixture is very light, beat in an egg. Let stand for one hour and then with a spatula or wet hands shape into cakes about 2 ½ in. across and ¼ in. thick. Return to the refrigerator for at least an hour.
Put three tablespoonfuls of butter into a hot iron frying pan, and when it is melted and bubbly add the meat cakes. Brown on both sides quickly and then cook for five minutes, turning them continuously. Remove the meat cakes and add one tablespoonful of flour to the fat in the pan and stir till blended. Add 1 ½ gills of hot water and cook until thickened, stirring constantly. Season with one half teaspoonful of Worcestershire sauce and pour over the cakes, of which you will have six.
Don’t cheat on the beating, for it is that which makes the meat cakes light and puffy. These simple meat balls are akin to the American Hamburger, and can assume importance for occasions.

The recipe for Yankee Meat Cakes was followed by instructions for Chipped Beef in Cheese Sauce, Baked Beans and Sausage, Baked Stuffed Potato, Chocolate Roll, and Strawberry Shortcake, all of which would without doubt have Men cheering madly.

Don’t hold back Girls, you know you really want to do it. Go ahead and invest your Time and Energy with Selfish Abandon, and become one of His Triumps.

Tomorrow’s Story …

Tuesday Fritters.

A Previous Story for this Day …

The story featured a recipe for a Horsemeat banquet on this day.

Quotation for the Day …

Few things are more revolting than the spectacle of a normally reasonable father and husband gowned in one of those hot, massive aprons inscribed with disgustingly corny legends, presiding over a noisome brazier as he destroys huge hunks of good meat and fills the neighborhood with greasy, acrid smoke: a Boy Scout with five o'clock shadow. NY Herald Tribune 1961.

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