Turf & Rec

Features Profiles
When to stay out of the kitchen


June 11, 2014
By Ian Robinson

Topics

So … I know guys who would rather shoot themselves in the face with a crossbow than cook.

The only time they’ll even think about going into the kitchen is to say: “Hey honey? I’m hungry. When’s supper?”

I mean, they bought special beer fridges for their man caves specifically so they don’t have to enter the kitchen, just in case the women in their lives asked them to empty the dishwasher or something.

Or, Heaven forfend, cook something.

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These guys are serious about not cooking the way the Pope is serious about not having any game with chicks. They’re serious about not cooking the way your average politician is serious about not balancing budgets. They’re serious about not cooking the way Kim Kardashian is serious about not ever—EVEREVEREVEREVER—acquiring a useful skill like typing or welding or, for that matter, cutting her own meat and feeding herself.

By the way, why on earth would anybody ever tune in to Keeping Up With the Kardashians? It’s like an amoral Duck Dynasty about people who own razors … with even less intellectual content.

And what the hell happened to Bruce Jenner? He used to be on a Wheaties box, for crying out loud. He was the pride of his nation.

Now, married to Kim Kardashian’s mom, he’s kind of a parody of an innefectual sitcom dad. Plus now he’s getting his Adam’s apple shaved, and the skin on his face is so tight you could play a drum solo on it.

For those of you who don’t keep up with such things—hard-working, church-going prairie folk and such—getting your Adam’s apple shaved is a cosmetic surgery normally associated with sex-change reassignment.

Is that what living with a herd of Kardashian women can do to a fellow?

And, if so, what’s next for Kanye West?

What’s his face going to look like after 20 years of being married to Kim Kardashian? Not to mention his … um … his Adam’s apple.

But I digress.

Cause I do that.

We were talking about my macho, non-cooking friends.

These are guys who would eat couch pizza rather than turn on the stove.

And not fresh couch pizza, either.

Couch pizza they found four days after they had the guys over to watch the hockey game couch pizza.

Couch pizza that’s well on its way to becoming some sort of bio-hazard.

But, like the migratory impulses of birds triggered by the change of seasons … this all changes the minute the snow melts.

And barbecue season begins.

And all of a sudden, you got guys concocting their own spice rubs with all the attention of medieval alchemists. Finely chopped garlic, a hint of tumeric, a smidgen of dried red chill pepper, rosemary, of course. All of it ground up with a hand-held mortar in a pestle, lovingly folded into an extra-virgin artisanal olive oil that was crafted by the 12th generation of Italian olive oil growers on a hillside somewhere south of Naples. A bottle of the stuff costs more than a case of bourbon whiskey, and is harder to find than Stephen Harper’s sense of humour.

And, like medieval alchemists, they’re a secretive lot.

You ask them for the recipe for their spice rub and they look at you like you just asked them if they minded if you borrowed their wife for a long weekend in Vegas … and if they could lend you a couple of grand to finance it.

You find them hunkered over a cutting board lovingly massaging their personalized super-secret spice blend into a hunk of meat that they had “their guy” behind the meat counter of a nearby supermarket cut special for them.

And not regular supermarket meat, either.

We’re talking aged, grass-fed, free-range, black Angus from a specialty farm, where the cattle were given Christian names and the farmer wept when he sent them to slaughter.

Cattle who lived better and were more pampered than the people who are now about to cook it.

The onset of grilling season is like a form of mental illness for these guys.

And I’m not sure what the big deal is.

They won’t cook indoors … but offer them the chance to stand over a gas grill or a smoker or charcoal grill in 35 degrees Celsius heat … and they’re in.

They’re not only in … they’re all in.

These guys argue over the merits of cooking over charcoal vs. gas vs. hardwood. (In case you were wondering, you get more intense flavours from charcoal and hardwood … but gas gives you more temperature control. Hardwood is considerably more expensive than either. Gas is the cheapest.)

They soak their wood chips in water or wine or beer to impart different flavoured smoke to the meat.

They also start talking about the best craft beer to pair with steak or brisket or pork or lamb.

I guess by now you’ve figured out that when I refer to “them” I really mean “we.”

I’m pretty sure I’m getting a smoker for Father’s Day, which will round out my backyard patio collection that includes not one but two gas grills and a classic Weber charcoal UFO-shaped charcoal grill.

And I’m diligently looking for just the right craft beer to go with my slow-cooked brisket with pork baby back ribs.

And don’t even think about ripping off my special spice rub.

I left out three of the most important ingredients.​