How to Cook Like a Man: A Memoir of Cookbook Obsession

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9781620400661: How to Cook Like a Man: A Memoir of Cookbook Obsession
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When Daniel Duane became a father, this San Francisco surfer and climber found himself trapped at home with no clue how to contribute. Inept at so many domestic tasks, and less than eager to change diapers, he took on dinner duty. Duane had a few tricks: pasta, stir-fry ... well, actually, those were his only two tricks. But he had a biographical anomaly: Chef Alice Waters had been his preschool teacher. So he cracked one of her Chez Panisse cookbooks and cooked his way through it. And so it went with all seven of her other cookbooks, then on to those of other famous chefs-thousands of recipes in all, amounting to an epic eight-year cooking journey.

Butchering whole lambs at home, teaching himself to make classic veal stock, even hunting pigs in Maui and fishing for salmon in Alaska, Duane so thoroughly immersed himself in the modern food world that he met and cooked with a striking number of his heroes: writing a book with Alice Waters; learning offal cookery hands-on from the great Fergus Henderson; even finagling seven straight hours of one-on-one private lessons from the chef he admires above all others, Thomas Keller.

Duane's inimitable voice carries us through, with humor and panache, even through a pair of personal tragedies. Here is a writer who can make chopping an onion sound fun and fascinating. But there is more at stake in his wonderful memoir: In the end, Duane learns not just how to cook like a man, but how to be one.

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About the Author:

Daniel Duane is the author of several books, fiction and nonfiction, including the surfer classic Caught Inside. His writing has appeared in Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, the New York Times Magazine, Esquire, GQ, and elsewhere, and he is a contributing editor at Men's Journal. Duane lives in San Francisco with his two daughters and his wife, the writer Elizabeth Weil. Visit his Web site at www.danielduane.com

From Booklist:

Duane’s title is nicely tongue-in-cheek. Facing fatherhood, the climber (El Capitan, 2000) and surfer (Caught Inside, 1996) decides that his contribution to the family will be as cook—make that chef. Beginning with Alice Waters’ Chez Panisse Vegetables (1996), he obsessively makes every recipe in that cookbook before moving on to other books and other chefs, transforming himself from a guy who rotates two different dinner recipes (Even Nights Stir Fry and Odd Nights Pasta) to someone who makes his own veal stock. Unable to do anything halfway, he lays waste to kitchens, keeps hungry guests waiting, and even sickens his wife and friends by serving a surfeit of truffles. Eventually, of course, he learns the value of preparing simple food that his family can actually enjoy. Though this is structurally somewhat uneven—Duane’s coming epiphany is so apparent that the second half seems a foregone conclusion—Duane is an intelligent and highly engaging writer, and his entertaining insights into male foodie culture will resonate strongly with both men who cook and the women who put up with them. --Keir Graff

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9781608191024: How to Cook Like a Man: A Memoir of Cookbook Obsession

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Publisher: Bloomsbury USA, 2012
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