I Cook Therefore, I Am

If I can steal a tag line from Oprah. Project 40 is about “living your best life”.  The aim is to be better tomorrow than we were today.  After only a short month of blogging I’m pleased to announce that the message is spreading. My best friend Pat O’Connor was so inspired by the message of Project 40 that he has agreed to become a regular contributor to the blog.  As a well-rounded man of style, he’ll be sharing his passion for cooking and hopefully he’ll discuss his own journey into mid-life also. Enjoy his first post.

Thanks for joining Project 40 Pat!

I cook therefore, I am

In the past few years I have found myself more and more disinterested in television. I believe the sitcom reached perfection with Seinfeld and died with it. If it isn’t sports, I find myself looking for knowledge when it comes to television. I’ve developed a passion for cooking over the years and I’ve found that I’m watching the Food Network more and more. As I approach my 40th year, I have let go of my dreams of athletic prowess, I find television to be mostly mind-numbing and non-sensical with the exception of anything HBO has to offer of course. I am a man’s man through and through. A true sports fanatic, a beer aficionado and a lover of the female form. If there is one thing I’ve learned throughout my years as a bachelor, it’s that the way to a woman’s heart can be realized by entertaining all of the senses. That includes the sense of taste. I believe that every man regardless of his station in life, should master at least one signature dish that will if nothing else, get him out of a tight spot when a dinner reservation at the latest culinary hot-spot is out of reach.

Let’s face it, anyone can make a reservation at a 5-star restaurant and throw out the plastic to cover the fee, but to bring a date back to your place for a home-cooked meal is in my experience, an aphrodisiac unlike any other. First of all, let’s look at this from a logical point of view. The end goal is to end up at your place in the end isn’t it? Why not cut to the chase and start the night in the eagle’s nest!

When I first moved out on my own, I was barely able to craft a grilled cheese sandwich or follow the directions on the box of Kraft dinner. But in my twenties, it was perfectly acceptable to be ignorant of food preparation and instead rely on the take-out menu for sustenance. Inevitably, there comes a point in any man’s life where you yearn for a good meal, but don’t necessarily want to leave the house to get it.  This is the point where I acquired my zest for cooking. I longed for a quality meal, but couldn’t muster the strength to get dressed up and head out on the town to get it. After a long day of work one wants the satisfaction of a good meal without having to leave the house to get it. I began simply by experimentation. I went with the traditional ‘Alph-male’ staples like steak and burgers. I watched the experts and learned from their experiences until I became somewhat of an authority on steaks and burgers. I found myself critiquing the restaurants I went to by comparing their food preparations to that of my own. After mastering the perfect steak and the perfect burger, I moved on to greater challenges like risotto or lasagna. Through trial and error as well as in-depth research, I have mastered these two dishes to the point where I feel comfortable comparing mine to those I’ve sampled in restaurants in and around the city.

I feel that every man strives for independence and yearns to be self-sustaining. But why be satisfied with mere nutrition when one can strive for culinary excellence? I will make it my mission to turn every man into a competent cook with my humble advice and my time-tested recipes.

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