When Men Decide to Cook

no-girls-allowedBy Steven V. Philips –

Eyeing me lunching on pita chips, Chef Judi slid a book under my chin. I thought it was to catch the crumbs but no, it’s a cookbook. It’s titled No Girls Allowed. It’s subtitled A Cookbook For Men. Manly as I am, and an expert in all things, she still suspects that if it weren’t for the existence of Mrs. Philips I would starve.

To further check, Chef Judi quizzes me about my cooking skills. Guessing she means “cooking” is more than boiling water, I explain my superb can-opening abilities, also noting that I’m also quite facile at locating a take-out window. And, I’m excellent at making reservations.

When alone, I secretly page through the cookbook. Here’s what I found: No excess verbiage. Author Greg Ford doesn’t talk to you like the village-cooking idiot that I am. One recipe per page and clearly titled as to what’s to be produced. Ingredients are listed down one column and step-by-step instructions down the other. Easy read. No “inside Chef World” words and none of those glamor photos that will make my first attempt look like composta al dente.

mancookingThe chapter leads are fun: “The only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for the steak to cook.” That’s a quote from Julia Child. Eleven chapters in all. Reasonable number of offerings per chapter such as the Breakfast, Soups and Salads chapters = eight, Meats = twelve and so on. He’s even got four non-booze drinks that sound drinkable. Seems a bit strange but there are six sandwich “recipes.” Hmm. Plus, barbecue and Mexican chapters and more.

For desserts, a pie, a cake to overcome your flour-phobia, a custard and a cookie and six ice creams. Yes, the ice-cream is home-made so obviously you need to have an ice-cream maker. Bought or borrowed, he notes. You think he’s sending you out to Benjamin and Jerome’s in the final chapter?

Greg Ford also adds a suggested spice collection and he clarifies cooking units of measure on page 131. Teaspoons to cups, cups to pints. Hey, really, do you know how many teaspoons make a tablespoon?


Man cooking, smelling aroma   Original Filename: 200357416-001.jpgInsights:

  • How to microwave corn-on-the-cob and still have it edible.
  • How long to properly hard-boil an egg. Plus four more ways to cook eggs.
  • A pancake that “puffs” up.
  • You don’t cook most hams. They’re already cooked. “You warm them up.” OK, so you knew.
  • He did show me how to make Bechamel sauce. But who doesn’t know that?. Me.
  • Suggestions of what goes well with what.
  • OK, once he said “salt and pepper to taste”. Whose?
  • And his homemade barbecue sauce? Also to taste.


Despite my high level of culinary expertise, plus only third grade reading skills, note here that I’m on record that this cookbook is worth owning. And ignore the title, it IS for girls too. Caveat: A major omission for this Vermont person was NO mention of using real maple syrup on French toast, or waffles, or pancakes. Treason. On the other hand, no grits either. Whatever they are. But the author does live far west in Utah. Looks as though his quote of “hard-to-botch” appears to be accurate. Will advise.


Reuben Sandwich

Reuben(Serves 4)

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 can (16-ounces) sauerkraut, drained well


Fresh sliced sourdough, French or rye bread

10 ounces Swiss cheese

8 ounces sliced deli corned feef

Thousand Island dressing (in a bottle, grocery shelf)

Add mayonnaise to sauerkraut and mix. Butter one side of each piece of bread.

Heat frying pan to medium heat. Preheat sauerkraut in microwave for a minute or so. Put slice of bread, butter side down, in pan. Put slices of cheese on bread first, then meat, then sauerkraut, and some Thousand Island. Put other slice of bread on top, butter side up. Cook at low-medium heat. Watch that bread does not burn. It’s easy to burn. When bottom side is brown and cheese is melted, flip and cook until the second side is brown. Drizzle Thousand Island dressing on top of sandwich.


Dan’s Favorite Casserole

(serves 6-8)

1 (14-ounce) package Pepperidge Farm Stuffing. Blue package.

½ cup butter

2 cooked chicken breasts

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 cup sour cream

½ cup mayonnaise

1 jar (4-ounces) pimentos

1 (7-ounce) can mushroom stems and pieces, drained

1 (12-ounce) frozen petite peas

Turn on the oven to 350-degrees. Melt butter in a 9 x 13 baking dish. Pour stuffing mix in baking dish and stir. Save ? and set aside (you’ll need it for topping). Mix remaining ingredients in a bowl and pour over stuffing mix. Sprinkle the reserved stuffing mix on top, cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20-25 minutes in 350-degree pre-heated oven.

(No Girls Allowed by Greg Ford. Front Table Books.)


12 thoughts on “When Men Decide to Cook”

  1. Impressive and revealing insight into manly art of cooking by virile chef Steven V. Philips. Could you go one or two or three steps further Sir Philips and adapt some manly recipes for the vegan. The Reuben would lend itself beautifully with eggless mayo, soy margarine and and number of soy derived, spicy vegan faux meats in the produce case (bacon is excellent). No it’s not the same but worth a try. You may be pleasantly surprised.

  2. Just gave away all my cookbooks and my husband is a good cook. Always read your articles, but like the “handyman” ones better. Much more informative! But as usual quite clever and fun to read.

  3. I was a little skeptical at first (of course I know how to make a reuben (my mom grew up in NY). But he actually had some good ideas on how to make the sandwich perfect…so I’ll be glad to judge if you picked up any pointers.

  4. I read Mr. Philips’ articles every month and what a delight…this month is no exception. Great idea for a cookbook. Glad he said it was for girls too – sound like a book I could use…as, I too, am more accustomed to making a reservation rather than a casserole.

    Thanks again, Mr. Philips!

  5. To the ‘reviewer’ of this book…kudos for making it a funny and delightful read. From the recipe of the reuben posted, somehow I believe the reviewer should try his hand at this classic and soooo delicious sandwich….it sounds most easy to put together. Anyone can do it! You can, yes you can! And I do agree with you regarding maple syrup….must, must come from the Vermont area, be the real thing…..the rest is all nasty sugar with no rich flavor. Give us more, dear reviewer….much more. I loved reading the piece!

  6. Cookbook reviewer, certainly out of the box for Handyman SVP! But once again I find myself entertained and educated. This cookbook might be just in time for a Father’s Day gift for some?
    Cookbooks are a great reference and inspire me to explore “Flavors”. Looking forward to more summer time reviews from SVP.

  7. Finally Mr Phillips has gotten away from home improvements just as my bank accounts was turning to dust in an effort to complete all the projects that he has convinced my wife we couldn’t possibly exist without. I,m in hope his future endeavors in the kitchen and grill will afford me the pleasure of great foods. Another great offering !!!Where did you find this guy ?????

  8. Since I depend on my husband for all home cooking I read with interest Mr Philips’ review. The book sounds entirely appropriate for me and also my daughter in law. Thanks for letting your readers know about this book of cooking basics. Your articles never fail to entertain.

  9. My first ex husband at one time suggested we join the Mormon Church in order for him to have several wives. His thinking, he explained, would give the family a better variety of dishes to the eating table. He also had other things in mind, the b*****d. So much for his lazy butt.

    I know that most men prefer someone else put the food in front of them. Those men that are paid for food preparation are the best mates. I’m not trying to be negative but to prepared food for a table, day after day, doesn’t get the credit due. Sorry for my venting Mr. Philips. A very well though out article.

  10. Comments on comments from the writer:

    To Greg Ford: 14 generations of Vermont Philips’ are all pleased over your declared appreciation of the high value of maple syrup.

    To SueBee: Pushing crayons around all day must be fatiguing enough to preclude cooking.

Comments are closed.

Scroll to Top