- Mad Hungry: Feeding Men & Boys by Lucinda Scala Quinn
- Hardcover: 267 pages
- Publisher: Artisan (October 16, 2009)
- ISBN-13: 978-1579653569
Back-of-the-book blurb: Civilize the wild beasts in your life, one meal at a time.
Four hungry brothers. Three ravenous sons. A husband who loves to eat. Lucinda Scala Quinn has spent much of her life feeding the men and boys in her life and teaching them how to feed themselves. Now Scala Quinn – chef, television personality, and Martha Stewart Omnimedia’s resident food guru – shares winning strategies for how to sate the seemingly insatiable, trade food for talk, and get men to manage in the kitchen.
She provides recipes for single-skillet meals and dinners that yield fabulous leftovers and that are a cinch to stretch for extra guests. Her grab-and-run breakfast will help kids start the day right, and her healthful drinks make it easier for guys to say no to soda. Scala Quinn’s recipes are easy to prepare, affordable, and so good that even the most finicky eater will want to dig in.
Along with her cooking techniques and survival strategies (“Never be caught without bacon”), Quinn muses about life in a predominantly male household and provides empowering advice to feed guys’ spirits as well as fill their bellies. With her help, homemade meals become second nature, nourishing both diner and cook.
She Is Too Fond of Books’ thoughts: I’ll confess that I didn’t recognize the author’s name on the cover of this book. It was the “Feeding Men & Boys” that got my attention. While J has a “normal” appetite (he doesn’t inhale three servings of dinner … hmm, maybe that’s my cooking, not his appetite!), our 13-year-old son has taken to eating anything that’s not bolted down! These teen growth spurts are impressive!
Then I saw the sub-sub-title, including the tagline “bringing back the family meal.” That’s got my attention. Although I typically hold dinner until J gets home (anytime between 6:30 and 7:30), we’ve been eating catch-as-catch-can for the past few weeks; between his travel schedule, and end-of-year activities with school, and t-ball/softball, we’ve had only a handful of meals together lately.
Enter Mad Hungry.
Lucinda Scala Quinn advises cooking together, or at the very least, inviting the family into the kitchen. I’m all for this, and rarely shoo anyone out of “my” kitchen (I’m laughing as I type that – it’s not “my” kitchen at all!). She says:
A man who knows how to cook is more self-sufficient, is a better roommate, boyfriend, father, and son. And as any wife knows, a husband who can cook is like one who can dance – the deluxe package.
Well, we don’t exactly agree here. See, I think that a boy/man who can cook is much like a girl/woman who can cook – he can take care of himself and his body (health), and can offer this same care to others. This is similar to a girl/woman who can hang pictures, oily a squeaky hinge, and pump gas for her car. I don’t believe a boy/man being comfortable in the kitchen should be the exception to the rule. Yes, there are various levels of comfort, and of interest, but it should be expected that we all get the basics down. OK, stepping off soapbox to tell you about the cookbook; I’ve marked several recipes “to try” on my first pass through.
The author lists “ten tenets” of mealtime cooking, all of which are smart and do-able. They range from “Decide it’s important to you” (commit to it, and collaborate with your family) to “Be a mealtime evangelist” (model the behavior you want to see in your family – don’t skip meals; create traditions).
Another section gives tips on kitchen tools equipment, shopping, and stocking a “guy-frendly” pantry. Again, I’ll admit that statements like “men love hot sauce” push my buttons, perhaps because I’m so hyper-aware of not gender-stereotyping my kids. I remind myself of my 13-year-old’s growth spurts and seemingly insatiable appetite … and I get over the “manly” generalizations (and, to be fair, the subtitle “feeding men and boys” is what got my attention when I first saw this book; I can’t have it both ways, can I?)
We move on to the recipes, a straightforward selection for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. These are not prissy foods that look pretty on a plate, but don’t have nutritional substance; these are main dishes that will satisfy and stay with you.
Some that caught my eye include (typed lower-case, per the book):
- bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich, new york deli style
- blueberry bran muffins
- tabbouleh salad
- white bean salad
- vinegar glossed chicken (which the author calls a “must-make meal for rotation”)
- cuban-style pork roast (which includes 10 garlic cloves – yum!)
- dolly’s chocolate bundt cake
Many, not all, recipes include a full-page color photo of the finished dish. These are gorgeous matte photos, truly mouth-watering
Throughout the book, Lucinda Scala Quinn adds sidebars with personal notes about cooking for her boys – tips like freezing, quick no-bake desserts, and advice like “never be caught without bacon.” She includes comments from her sons, and shares the very personal experience of cooking for her family. As I read through Mad Hungry, I grew to appreciate the general comments about “boys and men” as reflecting the reality of cooking in her own kitchen; I lightened up, soaked up the general wisdom, and look forward to sinking my teeth into these dishes.