Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Boy Cooking/Girl Cooking

I don't mean to be sexist, but there is a major difference in the meals that I cook and the meals that Wright cooks. And the difference is sooo typical. Take, for example, my previous post on using fresh lettuce to make a salad. I was in heaven eating the salad for dinner. Wright smiled during dinner but gobbled down pizza later.

Another example: my obsession with soups. Easy, simple, healthy - a perfect dinner, I think. Again, Wright smiles. He usually just makes sure there is a large enough cheese plate to avoid binge eating pizza when he finds himself starving around 11pm.

When Wright cooks, however, things are very different. First I should explain that he loves to cook, and would do so every night if he wasn't at work so late. When he's out of work in time, or if it's the weekend, though, he's all over it. And no, I have never seen him make a soup or salad.

Last night, for example, I was exhausted so he took over the cooking. He decided to make an entire Pork Tenderloin. On a Monday night. Just for the two of us. If I hadn't been so tired/confused about his thought process, I would have objected, but alas, he went on his merry way.

Wright has a gigantic cast-iron pan (seriously, it is about 2 feet in diameter) that he tends to use for what he calls "one pot meals." The basic pattern: he heats up the giant pan on the stove, sears a large piece of meat, usually covered in garlic and herbs (Pork Tenderloin, in last night's case), adds the vegetables (butternut squash and figs) and puts the whole thing in the oven to roast. Everything comes out steamy and delicious. The flavors all meld together and make a wonderful meal - I really have never seen him fail.

The meal, though, is SO different from what I usually cook. For one, there is always an enormous piece of meat. And, it is all rich, hot vegetables. Rarely are greens used (unless I insist on a light salad, which he usually avoids eating; note the addition of thyme sprigs for "greens" last night). We like to call it boy cooking. It's delicious and always elegantly plated (see last night's meal above), but boy is it different from girl cooking!

I love to laugh at him when his meals particularly boy-ish, just as he laughs at me when I put a salad in front of him. As embarrassing as it is to say, gender stereotypes always win in our kitchen.


  1. Great post!

    Here's the recipe for all you recipe followers out there:

    *pork tenderloin
    *butternut squash
    *olive oil
    *balsamic vinegar
    *soy sauce
    *sugar or honey
    *cheese plate (see Calvine's post)

    (note that I do not measure and neither should you, unless baking)

    Marinade for the tenderloin
    In a large zip-lock, pour in some olive oil and a few splashes of soy sauce. Dice the garlic into tiny cubes and try to smash it into a paste. Two or three large cloves are enough. Zest a whole lemon and squeeze in one half. Throw in some thyme, salt and pepper and let sit for about 15 minutes (any longer and it will cook from the citric acid in the lemon, no good).

    In your large cast iron
    Heat to very hot (just smoking), and sear the tenderloin on each side. Also add the squash that has been oiled, salted and peppered. Once each side of the tenderloin is seared, throw in the oven at 425 for about 15 minutes (these is no standard time, you just have to feel for doneness).

    Balsamic sauce
    While the meat is in the oven, dice the figs and add them to a pan with a little oil. Caramelize for about five minutes and then add the balsamic with a scoop or two of sugar/honey to reduce. This should take about 15 minutes as well. Once syrupy, you're done.

    Stack the butternut squash in the center of the plate, cut medallions from the tenderloin and stack around the squash. Top with the balsamic/fig syrup and add some fresh figs, thyme for a nice touch.

  2. I showed Thomas this post and he said [regarding Wright's cooking], "I like his style." Ah, boy cooking.

  3. Cal --

    My first time back to your blog in AGES and I'm having a blast poking around. Great cure for my case of the Mondays - thank you!

    I bet Mr. Wright would love this pork tenderloin recipe too: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Fennel-Rubbed-Pork-Tenderloin-with-Roasted-Fennel-Wedges-351294

    It's my favorite...I make it all the time and throw baby carrots in with the fennel to roast. So good, and so easy even a man could handle... :)


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