Garrison: Why men should cook

Zac Garrison Senior from Franklin, Ky.

Pour some heavy whipping cream into a pan. Put on medium-high heat (around a seven, in numerical terms) and then add grated parmesan cheese while slowly stirring until the sauce thickens. As your sauce simmers, boil a few servings of pasta and throw in a dash of salt for flavor. Once your sauce is thick enough, drop your noodles into the pan with the sauce and briefly toss. Pour onto a plate, garnish the edges with some parsley and enjoy your simple and delicious home-cooked meal.

Ladies and gentlemen, I just gave you step- by-step instructions on how to make fettuccine alfredo from scratch. It’s easy, quick and making it in your kitchen sure beats paying $15 for a measly portion of it at some bourgeois steakhouse chain.

I’m an avid cooker. I love the feeling of creating something from raw ingredients and formulating a wonderful finished product that brings people together. Not many people know I cook, but it’s been one of my passions for as long as I can remember.

I think every man should know his way around a kitchen. I’m not going to try and make this column a gender equality anthem, but I am genuinely a firm believer that a man needs to be deadly with a spatula and a cookbook. My roots in cooking go back to when I was a child, and it starts with my father. I never really had many ways to relate to my father. Dad liked to work on cars. I liked to work on computers. Dad liked to ride four-wheelers. I was more partial to sitting in the house reading the “Pendragon” series for the third time.

We always bonded, but never really had anything in common. My father also loved to cook, and every time he made a meal he made me put down the Game Boy and come help.

I would always moan and groan but eventually make my way to the kitchen to peel potatoes or dice onions or do whatever laborious task he had saved for his little sous chef. It eventually got to the point where I would really enjoy cooking with him.

I started to understand what flavors went well with each other and we finally really had something in common. We were culinary conquistadors on an epic quest for father- son bonding and I’ll keep all the knowledge I gained from being a sultan of the souffle close to heart for the rest of my life.

Men, if you think cooking is just for women and is not an important skill to learn, I’m totally OK with that. But, you are missing out on the vast benefits that come along with being skilled in the kitchen.

First off, we’re going to have to cover the basic fact that ladies love it. Ladies love a man that can cook for them. Mostly because everyone loves food, but also it shows that you are diverse in your skill set.

Part of the beauty of learning to cook as a guy is that women simply don’t expect it and are usually impressed. I’m serious guys – cook for your ladies.

It’s also one of the best ways to help you learn to multitask. Anyone who has ever worked in the food industry can vouch for this statement. At any point in time, you can have eight different things cooking and 12 different orders that haven’t even been looked at.

Needless to say, you learn to multitask, prioritize and manage your time extremely efficiently. It’s always a mental workout in the kitchen, for me at least, to read the recipe for the first time and spending $34 on ingredients even though you’re not exactly sure how to make it. Then managing to not burn anything while you’ve got four different pans on the stove while one is about to burn and the oven buzzer just went off is another situation all in its own.

Learning to cook for yourself is also incredibly good for your health. Even though I wouldn’t say it’s gotten me washboard abs, I know exactly what’s going into my food and how fresh it is.

You have full control over the ingredients and the freshness of said ingredients that you are eating every time you cook a meal. By doing this, you get to taste food at its full potential with fresh ingredients that aren’t necessarily packed with preservatives.

If the day comes that I have a son of my own, I’ll make sure and have him in the kitchen with me. Some of my best memories I’ll ever have of my father include learning to chop onions or watching him curse after he nicked his thumb for the third time.

Then when my son grows up he’ll be a super ladies’ man with all of his culinary expertise and all the young lasses will swoon as he walks by.

Not exactly that, but something close. So men, take note. Learn to cook. Cook for your lasses, (or lads) watch as they enjoy something that you created, and tell me it’s not a great feeling. Trust me, it’s worth it.


Column by Zac Garrison, Senior from Franklin, Ky.