Saturday afternoon my Mrs. Greenbean and the girls were out shopping for dresses and stuff and I had some free time. I had worked most of the morning and, honestly, was just thinking about kicking back in the recliner and napping. I know that as a card carrying man I should be watching college football, because it was Saturday. However, I was flipping through the television and spotted something that caught my eye.
That’s right, it was Julia Child and Jacques Pepin on PBS! This demanded my attention. Julia Child of course is a great cooking hero but Jacques Pepin—what a stud! I mean, seriously, he is like the coolest chef guy ever.
Julia and Jacques were baking soufflés and they looked so yummy. One was a desert soufflés and the other was a scallop soufflés. I could almost smell the kitchen flavor as they whisked, beat, and baked.
Jacques Pepin used to have a regular weekly show on PBS that I watched all the time when I was in college. I learned a lot about simple cooking techniques from watching him. He always uses fresh ingredients and he encourages me to never over cook the meat! To my knowledge Pepin had three shows–one with Julia, one by himself, and a third with his daughter. I didn’t care for that so much because I found her lack of cooking skills annoying. She seemed to be in the way. I’m sure she is nice and all, but she didn’t have that cook’s instinct—and those of you who cook know what I mean.
Before I found Pepin on tv as a young man, the only people I’d ever seen cook were women—mostly my mother, grandmother, aunt, and my friend’s mothers. My father can cook very well, but he never did it unless we were camping, and then it was always fried fish, potatoes and breakfast foods like sausage and eggs. The idea of my father baking a soufflés, for example, is just impossible for me to imagine. But Pepin, somehow, in a smooth, confident and definitely French way made cooking come alive for me as a guy thing to do.
Of course, Pepin doesn’t do much anymore in terms of tv, although I think he still puts out cookbooks. What I find fascinating is that most of the major cooking personalities on television today are masculine—Alton Brown, Anthony Bourdain, and a host of other people who do tv shows about food. Yeah, I know there are plenty of women out there on television who cook great food, like Paula Dean but it fills me with a certain amount of joy that food can be a man’s game.
And, after all, when a man cooks he can eat his labor. Eating footballs is never much fun. It was a delightful half-hour of nostalgia and testosterone fueled indulgence. Of course, when the show was over I took my nap and dreamed of making soufflés in a gadget filled kitchen of my dreams.