Friday, June 19, 2015

Men's Favorites

a.k.a. The Care and Feeding of Hungry Dads

When it comes to food, men and women definitely do often exhibit certain universal preferences.  Apparently Women really are from Venus (in this case, the V in Venus stands for Vegetables), and Men really are from Mars (with an M for Meat).

While there is a lot of crossover to be found, and most women can certainly appreciate a good steak as much as any male, it is also true that, in general, women tend to include a lot more vegetables in their diet than men do.  Salads for lunch, carrot sticks for snacks, and the vegetarian menu option can look just as appealing to many women as any red meat selection.

The men are laughing at that statement right this very minute.  It's not even close, in their minds.  So, it's usually not difficult to come up with a meal that will please most men at dinnertime.  Some surefire winning menu choices are:
  • Meat and Potatoes
  • Steak
  • Burgers
  • Brats
  • BBQ / Pulled Pork
  • Pizza
  • Chili
  • Beef Tacos or Nachos
  • Loaded Baked Potatoes
  • Loaded Baked Potato Soup made with Beer (a triple-winner)
  • Bacon (add bacon to anything, and they'll love it) 

At Afternoon Tea, we also saw that men were naturally drawn towards very particular items in our bakery, as well:
  • Bread - Any loaf of freshly baked homemade bread, and they were sold.  A man would literally not walk out of the bakery without a loaf of bread added to his order.
  • Bread Pudding - There's a reason most chefs on Chopped make Bread Pudding during the dessert round.  It seems to be not only their most favorite dessert ever, but possibly the only dessert that ever comes to their mind.  To be fair, a good bread pudding can be absolutely exquisite.  We always made ours in a caramelized pan (such as is usually done for flan), soaked the raisins first in hot scalded milk to plump them up, and baked them in a bain-marie to keep them moist.  If you want to send it over the top and absolutely make your man's day, serve yours warm with a generous spoonful of Bourbon Hard Sauce (liquor-spiked sweetened whipped butter) on top:
Bourbon Hard Sauce
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, room temperature
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon bourbon
A dash or two of pure vanilla extract, optional
Beat until smooth.
  • French Toast - A close cousin to bread pudding, this is for Chopped contestants with a little more experience in desserts (or breakfasts, anyway).  Come on, guys, show a little more imagination here!  Making it fabulous comes down to the choice of bread, how well your soaking custard is flavored, and soaking long enough for the bread to become saturated with all of that deliciousness.  Serve it with real Maple Syrup (another men's favorite), the Bourbon Hard Sauce above, or Bananas Foster on top, and Dad will think he has died and gone to heaven.
  • Brownies - Yes, it's true ... most men adore brownies.  I think it's all about sinking their teeth into a dense bite of fudgy goodness that makes it such a hit with them.  It's a substantial dessert or treat anytime.
  • Chocolate Chip Cookies - I don't think I've ever met a man who doesn't like chocolate chip cookies, and we would never even think of going on a road trip without a big container full of homemade ones.  Bake up a batch for your Dad, and you'll be his favorite kid for life.
  • Pumpkin Pie - For reasons I don't understand, most pumpkin pie aficionados tend to be male.  Having pumpkin pie out-of-season is a novelty that would make most men smile.  So, why wait until fall to make him his favorite?
  • Peanut Butter - Literally anything made with peanut butter is a hit with men.  I think it takes them back to their first apartment and early bachelor days, when all they could afford (or all they could think of) was to keep a jar of peanut butter in the pantry.  I ran into a few male college friends at the supermarket back in the day, and this was the content of their carts: beer, ramen, boxes of mac & cheese, cheese nip crackers, peanut butter, and beer (again).  If it was a truly special week, they would splurge on a thick cut of steak for the small grill on their balcony, and a loaf of fresh baked bread (and more beer).  Otherwise, the peanut butter is always standing by.  Peanut butter cookies, peanut butter brownies or peanut butter cookie bars will bring back fond memories for your guy.
  • Waffles - I don't know why, but many men seem to prefer waffles to pancakes.  Maybe it's the crispy edges, or the denser, meatier bite again, but waffles are another men's favorite.  A man invented Chicken and Waffles (I can't imagine any woman coming up with that one), and any dessert waffle will be a big success with your man. The best topping of all for a dessert waffle?  Ice cream, of course.  Top them with a warm fruit compote, or a generous drizzle of hot fudge or caramel sauce.  Finish it off with a big scoop of ice cream, and he'll have something to celebrate!

So, your job this weekend is very simple.  Simply select one entree from the first list above, and a dessert selection from the 2nd list, and you'll be all set to make some lucky man's day this Sunday!

Happy Father's Day!!

Summer Posts:
Sunshine in a Jar
The Fruits of Summer

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