The Manly Homemaker

Every relationship has to learn how to compromise and find the middle ground for decisions. I got the house style I always wanted. My husband got to install the kitchen of his dreams. And this kitchen remodel (well, more like first floor remodel, but that’s another story) has caused me to reflect on current design for the home.

What I found is that men are more involved in these things than I had previously realized. Browsing through the flooring stores, the home improvement warehouse and the appliance stores I saw couples. I saw men expressing deep interest in faucets and carpets and light fixtures. I realized that manufacturers realize this. They must have realized it a few years ago and I’m just catching up.

There’s a general masculinizing of houses and product design going on. Take for example this new vacuum cleaner: The Dyson DC07. How can a man not look at that and want one. It’s the manliest vacuum I’ve ever seen. It’s got Root8Cyclone(TM) technology! Go there and watch that flash animation about how the suction works and tell me you’re not excited about it! I’m not kidding, did you watch it? It boasts that it’s the only vacuum with a quick draw hose! It’s like a lawnmower for the living room rug.

Parked in our new kitchen is the V6 fucking Volvo of stoves. Intended to survive to the next millennium, it’s a monolith of stainless steel, six 15,000 BTU burners and a six way adjustable convection oven that can hold a whole hog. It’s from Viking. (Yeah, we debated between that a Dacor, but what manly man would chose something called Dacor?) “Viking!” the brochure screams, “It comes with its own spear!” Every man that enters our kitchen growls his approval (and would probably pee on its stout little stainless steel legs if I didn’t keep an eye on them).

Couple that with our sink: All stainless steel, something you’d find in a veterinarian’s office, you could perform surgery on it and then just hose it down. Practical. Poured concrete countertops. Everything is efficient and crisp.

I think I’d have to credit Emeril Lagasse for all this. Think about it. When did cooking for men stop being gay? I mean, men could cook, would cook before. They’ve always cooked and it’s been acceptable socially, but now there’s great macho indulgence in cooking, it’s a sport. Men are no longer relegated to the back yard grill, they can come in the kitchen and cook up a storm there. Sure, there were celebrity chefs before Emeril, James Beard maybe, Paul Prudhomme. But he didn’t embody the gregarious manliness. No, it starts with “Kicking it up another notch” and ends with a “BAM!” and suddenly we’ve got cooking as a collective experience. Something the whole family can enjoy.
Cooking has become a full-contact sport. Credit The Food Network and Iron Chef.

10 Replies to “The Manly Homemaker”

  1. Graham Kerr! I was trying to remember him last night – he was my grandmother’s favorite. He was definitely a trailblazer – the transition from Julia Child.

  2. emeril has just dumbed down the whole thing. not that he is dumb, i’ve eaten his food and at his flagship places, he does a good job. but think about it, worldwide the majority of the great chefs for at least the last century have been men. apparently most of the world doesn’t think cooking is gay.

    and i did grow up watching graham kerr.

  3. I suppose there is a difference in perception between professional chefs and home cooks. How many well-known female professional chefs are there in L.A.? Let’s see, there’s Suzanne Goin (Lucques, A.O.C.), Josie DeBalch (Josie), and Mary Sue Milliken & Susan Feniger, a.k.a. the Too Hot Tamales (Border Grill and Ciudad). I can’t think of any more ATM.

    Anybody watch Martin Yan? Hehe.

    Great choice in ranges BTW. I’m jealous.

  4. Gotta say, my wife and I bought one of those Dyson vacs, and it SUCKED, and not in the way in which it was advertised. It’s too heavy and unwieldly, and detaching the hose to sweep the stairs is a logistics nightmare. We took it back to the Best Buy, (did I also mention that’s it’s expensive? Like $100-200 more than the next most expensive vac)) and went back to our crappy old Dust Devil, which we bought a few years ago, and it’s still goin’ strong.

    Sometimes good, clever design works, (we’ve got a house fulla Eames furniture, and it’s a pleasure to the eye as well as the butt) but sometimes a design is just too clever to get outta its’ own way,

  5. Speaking of “Iron Chef,” there’s a new edition called “Iron Chef America” that airs this coming weekend on The Food Network:

    http://www.detnews.com/2004/screens/0404/05/f08-112315.htm

    “‘Iron Chef America,’ airing April 23-25, brings two of the original Japanese ‘Iron Chefs’ [Morimoto and Sakai] to America and the Food Network to battle some of the biggest names in American cuisine: Bobby Flay, Mario Batali and Wolfgang Puck.”

  6. And speaking of Iron Chef America, the shows were taped here in L.A., acccording to today’s Times Calendar section. Do not read beyond the first couple of paragraphs of the story, however, if you don’t want to read a boatload of spoilers.

    I will say, as it was prior knowledge, that fellow Food Network personality Alton Brown of Good Eats fame…

    http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/show_ea

    …will also be appearing. In fact it just about killed him. Sort of:

    http://www.altonbrown.com/pages/rants.html#107851224924210066

  7. Ming is The Man, that’s for sure. He almost makes up for the embarrassment to our race that is William Hung. I was speaking of older TV chefs though, since Graham Kerr was mentioned. :)

    Hmm, guess I’ll ignore the Dyson and save up for a Miele or something…

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