Thursday, December 27, 2007

Be A Man: The Manliness of Food

So what more can I say about manhood? I have a few things, but of the most important deals with food. You know the old adage? The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. For me, there is another adage that applies. If you want to keep my attention talk to me while I am eating.

I don’t know if it is something genetic or personal, but when I eat things I hear become more interesting. I remember as a kid that when my mother would tell me things while I was eating, whatever she was saying became more interesting. Whenever watched television while eating I was able to understand or accept what I was watching. As I got older I also found the need to eat when watching my favorite Food Channel network programs such as Top Chef or the classic Iron Chef (Japanese and American versions).

So what does food have to do with manhood? There is something empowering being a man with a healthy appetite. Maybe it is just me, but when I eat a good meal I feel invigorated and ready for whatever the day has to offer. If a woman I am interested in cooked it then I am in love. That is not to say that I am the kind of man who relies a woman for cooking. Ask anyone who knows me I am a legend in the kitchen, if I say so myself. Yet, when a woman cooks there is something about the care that she gives to not only the food, but also those who are eating it that changes the whole dynamic of eating.

This has especially been the case when I was in Ethiopia and now that I am here in Israel. When I was in Ethiopia visiting my adopted family there, the mother of the house cooked a big meal in my honor for lunch. I at as much as I could, but at certain point I had no more room. So when we finished, the entire sat in the living room and talked. About an hour later the mother of the house began cooking again. I thought to myself, Why is she cooking again? We just ate. It was then that she came out with an even bigger meal. I gulped and thought to myself, I can’t refuse this meal. It would be dishonorable to do so, yet I was still extremely full from the lunch. Yet, my manly pride kicked in and I began to pray for an expansion in my stomach. Everything I held dear was on the line. If I could not eat the meal it would taken the wrong way. If I did eat the meal I felt like I would explode, which also could be taken the wrong way.

Me and my adopted Ethiopian family (2001)

So I sucked it up and then the manly surges of energy kicked in. I took as many bites as I could, and out of the need to defend the honor of all men I ate. I ate as if there was no tomorrow, and that is when the heavens opened up. A light shone upon me and I felt my stomach expand. It was working and God was on my side. I ate as much as I could and then I stopped. My surge of manly energy had subsided. I thought I had defended the pride of all men well. That is until the mother of the house said, Is that all you are going to eat? I looked at her with wide open eyes as she put more food on my plate. It was then that the heavens closed and the clouds came, and I began to reach to the heavens for my manly surge of eating capacity had left me.

I don’t remember much after that. I think I somehow got out of eating more. Yet, maybe there is a lesson about manhood in this story. We men hunger and crave. Sometimes when we eat we do so out of a competitive nature. Sometimes we do so because our attentions are diverted. Yet, even in the simple act of eating you can see elements of what makes a man a man. To the ladies who read this, next time you cook watch for your man’s reactions. You may find something manly in his eating habits.


So let the call go out to the hills and the local hamlets. Let the cry of freedom ring true at every buffet line and hole in the wall restaurant. Let the song of meat and spicy vegetables be sung by all those with X and Y chromosomes.

We are men and we are hungry!

5 comments:

Lisa said...

I'm in trouble, then, and perhaps the source of this trouble is the same reason why I am not in a relationship :) - I CAN'T COOK!!!! You know, they put me on "the drinks" and "the paperware" for holidays in my family, at work, and at church!!!

Great post!! Quite enlightening - instead of that doctorate I'm pursuing - I need to go to cooking school!!!

Ehav Ever said...

Hey Lisa,

As a Manly man who can cook, I would say don't sweat it to much. A real man will love you with all of your good qualities and he will look past this one short coming. :)

I will have to say that is pretty bad if you got stuck with plastic cutlery and paper dishes. That means they didn't even trust you with the real plates, forks, and knives. (smile)

Don't feel bad. I have an aunt who can't cook to save her life. When I stayed with her family once for the summer I got tired of always eating at fast food places every day (ALL DAY). So I cooked a big meal, and told my uncle and my cousin to come and enjoy. You should have seen all the guys in the family came out of the wood works to get a home cooked meal. She seemed a little jealous that I could cook and she couldn't it was funny.

Shelly said...

Hi Ehav,

Nice post. Usually I'm one of your silent readers (your posts are very insightful and provide much food for thought) but I just HAD to comment on this one - being a food obsessive myself, I am totally feeling you!

There is something so beautiful about watching a man not only prepare food but eat with passion and appreciation too. I have a real thing about it... I was blessed enough to grown up with a father who is active in both respects so it's a big part of what I like most about your gender!

Good food is one of the greatest joys in life and a sure sign of humanity and vigour as far as I'm concerned :-)

Mes Deux Cents said...

Ehav,

First; what is that bread on the blue plate? Is that some sort of Challah bread? It looks so good!

Second; I think that when food is made with love it warms the heart of Women too.

Third; I am happy but not surprised to hear that you can cook. I'm always very impressed with people who are self-sufficient.

What meals do you cook best? What was the last meal that someone who loved you cooked?

Great post.

Ehav Ever said...

Shelly - Sorry I didn't respond earlier, I was trying to find something to eat. (lol) Thanks for stopping by. Don't be so silent I don't bite. (smile) I agree with you that food has almost a spiritual element to it.

As a Manly man I can say that when I have cooked for others it really made me feel good. People have often been surprised that I can cook. When I was a kid my mother taught me how. After my father passed away she worked a lot so I needed to know how to fend for myself.

There is something also empowering, as man, seeing the looks on women's faces when they realize that you know how to cook. I guess when I find a potential wife I will use that as a selling point to seal the deal.

MDC - The bread on the blue plate is called Berechas. It is a Sephardic Jewish dish which is normally stuffed with either mashed potatoes or sometimes other vegetables. This particular type may not have anything on the inside. This type is a little different than the type I am used to, but just looking at it now I must admit I am getting really hungry.

I agree with you on the hearts of women getting warmed with food. I once had a cooking date. I invited a woman I was interested over and I showed her how to cook Moroccan and Italian food. I think she really enjoyed it.

Oh I am more than a cook. In certain Jewish circles in NYC I am a legend. (smile)

My favorite dishes to cook are mostly family inspired dishes. I do most of my best cooking with food that is for the Sabbath. In Jewish tradition we are supposed to eat 3 hot meals on the Sabbath. The food for the Sabbath is supposed to better than the food we normally eat for the week to give us a feeling of being kings and queens. The reason is that the Olam Haba, the time when God reveals Himself to the entire world, is often talked about like a Sabbath.

So I cook some dishes that you may have never heard of. Some of them contain peppers, beef, celery, tomatoes, peppers, and squash. I also like to cook Moroccan food and Italian food, yet most of the time I cook the traditional family dishes. I recently learned how to cook Ethiopian food from a friend, but I haven't tried it at home yet.