GNH Lumber Outdoor Living

Whittling Away: In the kitchen

Headshot of a man named Dick Brooks.

Today I whipped up a batch of muffins.

No one would believe that I had produced these fat, warm little beauties, in fact I was accused of trying to steal credit from the Queen of our little castle. 

Most of the great chefs of the world are male except for Julia Child and I’m not so sure she isn’t. 

For some reason, in our area, the idea of a male preparing a whole meal is weird. The sight of men hunkered over a smoking grill in the back yard, third-degree burning large lumps of various kinds of dead animals is not an uncommon sight, especially on a weekend. It’s the idea that these same males could actually produce something edible using pots, pans and an indoor stove that seems to amaze folks.

I’ve always liked cooking, I’ve always liked eating — there’s a pretty obvious link here. It also explains why I’m as svelte as a bowling ball. 

Most guys go through a transition period from Mom’s cooking to their wife’s meal preparation.  For some, this transition period is very short, so many of them are not really comfortable in the kitchen. They do recognize the refrigerator — the adult beverages live there, it’s large enough to be found easily and easy to operate. 

Some of these men do understand the complexities of a peanut butter sandwich but would probably starve to death if left on their own for an extended period of time in a kitchen. 

I, on the other hand, was almost 30 before I married. This meant I had left Mom’s kitchen and survived four years of college food — actually, these years prepared me for the culinary masterpieces I survived on in the first few years of bachelorhood. 

Being a teacher in those far-off years was sort of like entering the religious life, you gave your soul to the Lord and hoped you wouldn’t starve to death. Consequently, I couldn’t afford to eat out all the time, so gradually I learned my way from burnt offerings to food that was actually edible. 

I found that cooking was fun! I abandoned cookbooks and struck out on my own. If something didn’t taste good, there was always hot sauce — enough of it and you can’t tell what anything tastes like. 

Gradually I became a competent cook. I even went on to become the cook on a tall ship preparing meals for a crew of 20. Mess up a meal on board ship and you walk to shore! The fact that both the crew and I survived attests to my ability in the kitchen.

Just to prove that I’m not woofing, here’s a great recipe for someone looking for an easy meal to serve, even those males with a culinary handicap can handle this one:

You need a large baking dish, cover the bottom with about an inch of uncooked instant rice.  Next cover the rice with orange juice, place pieces of chicken on top, sprinkle on a package of dried onion soup mix, cover the pan with aluminum foil, bake at 350 degrees for an hour or until the chicken is cooked. You can’t mess up and it really tastes good.

My mother would be so proud!

Until next week, may you and yours be happy and well.

Reach columnist Dick Brooks at

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