Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Art of Manliness (Revised Standard Version)

Much to the initial surprise (but eventual delight) of my in-laws, my wife chose to marry me. I am a man -- and a manly man at that. At least, by my own definition. Let's discuss that briefly while I make some pita bread.

Get out your breadmaker. You have one, right? OK, get on Amazon and buy one.
Spend at least $100 for a decent one. It's worth it.

While I am certain that we may disagree about the finer points of what makes a man, I am just as certain that we'll agree on the one core characteristic: a man has the ability to take care of his loved ones.

Makes sense, right? Put food on the table, keep shelter over their heads, keep the power and water turned on, and make sure the bad guys don't get 'em.

Find a recipe for pizza dough. Odds are your bread maker came with a recipe book that includes one that will work really well.  Insert ingredients; start machine on Dough cycle.

How we go about that, of course, will vary widely. For example, I am not currently capable of growing and hunting sufficient food to feed my family. I could not build a house from raw materials. I cannot generate electricity on my own, nor have I the ability to dig a well. I am currently spending time at the gym to make myself more intimidating looking, and I'd like to think I'd fight like a cornered lion if someone threatened my wife'n'kids, but I've never been trained to fight.

So, like most men, I work a job, which enables me to pay for someone else to provide all of those necessities.

When your dough is ready, toss out some flour on the counter to make a work surface, and get out a rolling pin. Rub some flour on it, too. You're good at rubbing, aren't you? You did say you were married.

Now, every man thrives on the satisfaction that comes from keeping his family. It's an instinct as old as the first Og that smashed Ogette over the head with his club and dragged her back to his cave for some snu-snu. I am the provider and the protector -- my existence is relied upon wholly. HRRARARRRR! 

Toss an upside-down cookie sheet into the oven. Bare metal is better.
Set it to bake at 400F.
If you've got a dinosaur like mine, you'll want to do this as soon as your breadmaker's cycle is over.

However -- when I am not the one directly providing all of those essentials, the satisfaction of Og is diminished. My toil is not in the woods hunting oxen (that's the wild version of beef that you hunt, right?), burying baby carrots so they'll grow into adult carrots, or pedaling on my homemade bicycle-generator in the basement to run electricity to the tele-vision so my family can watch The Biggest Star or Dancing With The Losers

Plop your dough out onto the flour. Doesn't look very appetizing yet, does it?

My toil is in front of a computer. My challenges are publication deadlines, satisfying editors, pleasing clients, and doing it for eight full hours every day, five days per week.

Pound the dough into the counter. Fold it over and pound it some more. Do it again.
Are you imagining your mother-in-law's face? Stop that! She loves you!

So what's left for me? Well, there are household projects like building the kids' playset, watching grass grow, and replacing boob lights with more eye-catching fixtures. 

Hack it up, hack it up, hack it up, hack it up. A big knife works best.

Use the roller to smash 'em flat. Don't worry about the shape. Circles are boring. 

And there's kitchen mastery. While I am and will for a long time remain Starr's apprentice, I'm getting pretty damned good at the few things I do.

Directly onto the sheet, two or three at a time. Five minutes or so.

Like baking pita. Which, as you've just seen, is really freakin' easy. Try it, guys. Grilling isn't the only culinary pursuit out there, and if you're like me, and have a wife who is sort of meat-indifferent, you'll win a lot more snu-snu with the oven than the grill. Unless you're really, really good at it, leave the meat smokin' to the likes of Joe and Corky (no, not the kid from Life Goes On). Your buds might not be as impressed with your baking skills, but the wife and kids will sing your praises.

Freaking delicious. Best when hot, but also really tasty reheated in a toaster oven.

And that, my manly friends, is much, much more satisfying.

I linked up to Type A Decorating, A Bowl Full of Lemons.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent Ryan! I really enjoyed this. Actually gave me and idea! OH NO! Light bulbs are flashing all over the place! LOL Very good job!


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