Macho Cooking From the Past
Cook like a man? What else is new?
What makes this a "man's cookbook" — especially given that it includes recipes for things like cold vegetable salad, quiche, and strawberry mousse, along with the offal and such? Oliver's introduction will not win friends among the right-thinking of today. "Women,…by reason of their very virtues, because they are mothers and the perpetuators of the race, cannot afford to be as adventurous, as daring, as men," he writes, elsewhere positing that for men, "The manual activity they indulge in before their stove is an outlet for them, a field of exploration into which a good deal of poetry enters." Hmmm. Well, okay. Now, guys, let's make some calf's foot jelly and pork chops with piquant sauce and garlic chicken…
Charles Browne, who was the mayor of Princeton, New Jersey, from 1914 to 1923 and then a New Jersey congressman, doesn't mention men (or gentlemen, or stags) in the title of his work The Gun Club Cook Book (Charles Scribner's Sons, New York, 1939), but the eponymous institution, the Nassau Gun Club in Princeton, was a men-only affair, dedicated to shooting clay pigeons, drinking Pilsener, and eating well. Oh, and Browne says right up front "This book is not for the blushing bride—if such there be nowadays—fuming in the kitchenette." The recipes he offers are mostly simple, all-American fare (if you don't count the occasional chow mein or "French doughnuts"). Look here for corned beef hash, clam fritters, planked shad, succotash, baked potatoes, and blueberry pie.
Browne isn't much of a nose-to-tail guy ("We mentioned tripe once before, so why bring that up again? Tripe can be used but why should it?"), but he does appreciate meat: "The homely and much maligned pig is without doubt the greatest food animal in captivity," he asserts, while "Roast beef undoubtedly has the honor of being the great American (and English) dinner dish for those who can afford its use." He also makes it very clear where his nutritional interests lie: "While we have tried to suggest well-balanced meals," he writes, "we care nothing at all about calories or even vitamines [sic] nor have we any interest in 'diet kitchens.' We pity those who can't eat but we write only for those who can." Hombre!
"If you wish, you may get up a recipe for 'Southern Corn Bread' for your book, as I am very keen about it with honey..."
— Frank Buck
Try this classic recipe for Senegalese Bananas from chef-restaurateur Raymond Oliver, author of A Man's Cookbook.
— Will Budiaman
"Oysters, of course, are never 'stewed,' which means prolonged cooking, they are merely heated and added to the hot liquid, usually milk."
— Charles Browne
"After a Sunday afternoon with Monk Atrim at the cockfights — and more of this gentleman later! — a quartet of us went over..."
— Charles H. Baker, Jr.
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