can make you a
BY ADAM BAILAY
A gentleman is one who values hospitality, generosity, intellectual curiosity and, yes, chivalry. Day-in and day-out, all gentlemen should seek to incorporate these traits into their lives. To take it a step further, all of these characteristics can be found, honed, and showcased in the most unlikely of places—the kitchen.
Everybody knows that fast food is an easy, convenient, and generally inexpensive way to stay fed. But it’s also a great way to fill the body with a bunch of unhealthy crap. Want to be a better man? Cooking real food takes time, effort, and skill. Plus, ladies love it— trust me on this one.
Adventure. Cooking should be viewed much more as an adventure than a task. Whether you are fishing, hunting, or simply acquiring goods at the local market—much of the thrill that comes from cooking lies miles away from any stovetop. The idea of spending more time in the kitchen is all relative. Yes, typically it’s in the home—but, too, it can be on the road, a field at a hunting camp, or outside on the grill. To play off the title of one of Hemingway’s memoirs—A Movable Feast—a kitchen is anywhere you hang your cast-iron skillet.
Hospitality. Cooking and sharing food with others allows you to perfect this centuries-old practice. Inviting others into your home to sit and enjoy a meal cooked by hand is one of the most simple yet fulfilling forms of hospitality. Your kitchen should serve as an open invitation to friends, family, and strangers—it’s a place to celebrate the joy of friendship, the miracle of birth, the sting of loss, or the settling of differences. Breaking bread with others is one of life’s most primal instincts. It fosters tradition and community, and creates a warm and welcoming atmosphere in your home.
Generosity. Generosity is defined as the habit of giving without expecting anything in return. And people often showcase this habit to others by the sharing of gifts— whether it be money, talent, or time to help aid and serve others. The key component is giving freely— without expecting anything in return. Cooking and the sharing of food can easily provide a daily platform to exhibit generosity to others. And while generosity is most often connected to serving up generous portions of food to friends and family—don’t forget it, too, can be about teaching your talents so that others might also reap the same rewards.
Intellectual Curiosity. I’m of the mindset that we—as a society—are at our best when we constantly challenge and educate ourselves. No matter how much is studied, learned, practiced, and repeated—no one should ever be able to quench their desire to stop learning! It’s that intellectually curious attitude that should keep us exploring and learning in the kitchen. Cooking offers an autonomous and never-ending challenge to continue to study and evolve. New ingredients, types of cuisine, techniques, and equipment create opportunities for each of us to challenge ourselves. Learning the nuances and complexities of slow-smoking a pork shoulder, or tenderloin, is just as manly and stimulating as finely tuning a carburetor on a motorcycle.
Chivalry. Good behavior and social practices help remind men to open doors, offer up their seat, and stand when a lady enters the room. Still, these are only the outward actions of being a good gentleman; how often do we put them into practice? To truly practice chivalry, one must pursue, understand, and fulfill the heart of a woman. Men must take on a bit of adventure and risk to pursue said heart. To answer your next question, yes, this can be done in the kitchen!
One of the simplest ways to express one’s love and care to a woman is by serving her food prepared by your own two hands. A home cooked meal is just one of the many ways that a man can let a woman know he cares about her. What woman doesn’t love a man who can cook?