Book Excerpt

Man with a Pan

Culinary Adventures of Fathers Who Cook for Their Families

January 9, 2012

Culinate editor’s note: Our original Man with a Pan excerpt came from an essay by Jesse Sheidlower; the comments below were posted in response. We’ve since replaced that first excerpt with the excerpt below.

From the essay “The Pie Guy,” by Manuel Gonzales

Thanks to my tenure with the Clarksville Pie Company, I discovered a strange but fairly consistent phenomenon: If a man bakes a pie, or a cake, or cupcakes, or cookies, even, he becomes a curiosity to the opposite sex. He’s something of a rare find.

This has always surprised me. Baking, even baking from scratch, is not difficult, and the amount of praise and attention gained by presenting something so basic as an apple pie or a chocolate cake borders on the astounding.

To any man who cooks but has never dabbled in baking, I highly recommend that you learn a good biscuit recipe, a good waffle recipe, and then a pie and a cake, or cupcake, recipe — something simple and good that you can turn out at a moment’s notice. It’s well worth the effort.

In my case, a girl whom I had known in high school, and whom I had loved from afar, was coming to visit me for a week in February. She lived in Milwaukee, and I had visited her for a weekend in October. Things were progressing. We had seen each other over Christmas, but only briefly, and she had not yet tasted one of my pies. I had plans to show her Boston and to woo her with pie.

Things would have gone perfectly if (a) I had known anything about Boston to show her, which, despite the seven months I’d lived there, I didn’t, and (b) I hadn’t burned the first pie I baked for her (chocolate pecan) and then, in a completely different way, ruined the second pie I baked for her (apple).

She questioned whether I had really ever owned a pie company, but she fell for me anyway. She moved to Boston and then we moved to New York, in a span of four months, and then another four months passed, but I still hadn’t baked a pie for her. Not successfully. It became an issue. Not a serious issue, but it was clear she wanted a pie, and it was clear I had no desire to make one.

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I needed to stop making pies.

For the first time in what seemed like a long time, I saw a chance to define myself outside of the context of pies and the pie company. I was too caught up in graduate school and New York City and the experience of living with my girlfriend (who would soon become my fiancée, and then my wife) to think about making pies.

She joked about my reluctance with friends of ours, displaced Austinites who knew about the company, who laughed with her when she described the debacle in Boston, and who made jokes of their own when she said, “He never owned a pie company, did he? It was a line, wasn’t it?” And soon I felt pressured, as if I were being forced to perform: playing the piano for guests or singing that song I learned in school for my grandmother.

Thanksgiving was fast approaching, though. We had invited friends to our house to dinner. For dessert, she insisted, I was making pies. The pies were fine. They were good, I’m sure, though honestly, I don’t remember them. I can guarantee they weren’t nearly as good as my pies are now. I can guarantee they weren’t as good as the pies I made that very next Thanksgiving, because even after just one year living with the woman who would become my wife, something changed.

I stopped making pies, and I started baking.

What had started out as a lark, a means to escape the daily grind of office work, and a way to meet people (and girls), has since become something personal and particular. I realized that my ability to bake, and not the fact that I had owned a pie company, was what mattered.

After he fell in love, he really started baking.

In Austin, I rode the coattails of owning the Clarksville Pie Company, and not until I left the company did I begin to focus more energy on the pies themselves. (Not that I don’t ride those pie-company coattails still. Even now, that I owned a pie company makes its way onto my CV for every job I apply for. The novelist Ben Marcus, another baker and a professor at Columbia, once remarked that my having owned a pie company was the main reason I was admitted into graduate school. He said it jokingly, but I don’t doubt that it is at least half true.)

What’s more, the December after that first Thanksgiving, I proposed to my girlfriend, and a year and a half later, we were married. Maybe it’s a cliché, but the love of a good woman is no joke. It frees a man up. All the creative energy once expended in the pursuit of love was diverted into writing and baking. And so I wrote and baked and cooked more, not to impress my wife, whom I had already impressed enough to marry me, but because I had time and energy and I had her; without her, none of it would have been as important, as vital.

Now I’m uncommonly protective and critical of the pies I bake. I pay particular attention to who slices them (I do) and who lifts the slices out of the pie pan (this is also me, if possible, though at times overeager relatives will dive in even as I’m not halfway through slicing the pie), in part because no one else seems able to cut a piece of pie without screwing up the rest of the pieces, or to divide a pie into equal portions, but mostly because I want to witness the slice’s release. I want to see how well the pie, particularly if it’s a fruit or custard pie, holds together when the first slice is separated from its companions. I want to check the bottom crust, to see if it browned and became crisp as it should.

And the first piece of pie I eat I poke and prod, taking small, sampling bites, first the filling, then the crust, then the two together, and even now, I’m fully satisfied only half the time. I’ve settled on a crust recipe, finally: all butter, no water, but cream as the liquid. I can make it in my sleep, and it is the flakiest, tenderest, most flavorful crust I’ve tasted, and it bakes up brown and beautiful.

What’s more, pies led to other desserts: cakes, cupcakes, pots de crème, crème brûlée, ice cream, homemade ice-cream sandwiches, s’mores made with homemade marshmallows and graham crackers, and soufflés, and any number of other sweet confections. And then beyond desserts, pies led to good food in general. In my family, I am the go-to guy for sustenance and the pleasure of eating. I am the one in the kitchen, and again, I can count on one or two hands the meals from our kitchen that weren’t made by me.

To be fair to my wife, she has tossed her hat into the ring, most notably when we thought we were going to bake our own wedding cake (an idea that lasted all of one four-layer cake) and again after our daughter was born, when becoming a mother awoke her inner Betty Crocker (though a Betty who liked to decorate confections rather than bake them). These were good, solid efforts, but in the end, an existence in the kitchen feels natural to me, not her.

Of course, nobody at home calls me the Pie Guy. I do so many other things: I shop, make dinner, put together lunches, wash clothes, play dress-up. But I still bake pies often enough that I wade into them recipeless and fearless. They’re the best pies my wife or I have tasted, and more times than not, it seems to me that baking a pie is the best thing I can do.

When faced with the prospect of daily life — deadlines to meet, 10th graders to teach, that flat tire, the one that’s been in my trunk since August 2009, to fix — baking a pie is sometimes the only thing I want to do. I bake pies for my wife’s students and for holidays and for dinner parties and for my parents to take with them when they visit my sister in North Carolina, and sometimes for no reason at all except that it is always a good idea to have a pie on the counter.

Related recipe: Pie Crust; recipe: Mexican Chocolate Pie

There are 59 comments on this item
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1. by tamarer on Jan 9, 2012 at 9:12 AM PST

Sounds like an interesting read. I would love to win a copy. Thank you.

2. by Amber Constant on Jan 9, 2012 at 9:27 AM PST

I would Love to win a copy as well.. I need something new to read, and this seems like it would be quite the pick for me!

3. by Amanda on Jan 9, 2012 at 9:31 AM PST

Just reading this article, you have already sucked me in! What you are doing is admirable and difficult all in the same. I applaud you for finding something that works for you and going against the “Norm”. You are setting a wonderful example for your children by teaching them how important health is and what you can achieve even if the odds are against you. Good luck to you on your journey.

4. by Rob on Jan 9, 2012 at 9:31 AM PST

Definitely interesting, a struggle I see in my future. I would love to win a copy as well. Thanks for sharing!

5. by anonymous on Jan 9, 2012 at 9:32 AM PST

This is a big issue in a marriage when one wants to eat better and the other doesn’t care. Crude way to put it, but I think it’s the basic truth. I would love to give this book to my daughter who has a husband that’s on board with eating better and serving better food to their children.

6. by theback40 on Jan 9, 2012 at 10:11 AM PST

Changing eating habits can be a revolution or an evolution. With children, it seems like the latter might have better results.

7. by Ben Ortiz on Jan 9, 2012 at 2:58 PM PST

I never really cooked at home until I went through training to become a MGR at IHOP. I had to certify at each kitchen station and I fell in love with the Egg Station. It was like a whole new world opened up for me. And I still love making omelets for my wife and me to share for breakfast. Much better than eating out. (Now I’ll add Sriracha to the eggs. They don’t teach that at IHOP. Too bad.)

8. by Eddie on Jan 9, 2012 at 3:22 PM PST

It really is hard, I have the same problem. Would love to read this.

9. by anonymous on Jan 9, 2012 at 4:08 PM PST

Thank you for sharing your story, and being so honest about your trials and tribulations with vegetarianism. When you live with other people, and you are the main source of their meals and don’t want to cook with meat, it is quite challenging! It would be great to win a copy of what I’m sure is not only a wonderful cookbook, but a great read as well. Fingers crossed! :)

10. by stachad on Jan 9, 2012 at 6:32 PM PST

How I wish my husband and children would eat more vegetarian meals! This book looks like an amazing read!

11. by David Wanderman on Jan 10, 2012 at 5:57 AM PST

I have dabbled in the big V. Maybe it’s time for a full commitment

12. by anonymous on Jan 10, 2012 at 8:07 AM PST

I can go for a long time without meat. Not for any real reason, just love vegs, fruits, breads and cheeses. Then I get a craving for a really good gourmet hamburger from a local place and well, that’s ok too!.

13. by Jackie Munyer on Jan 10, 2012 at 8:39 AM PST

Would love to read more and give recipes a try. I need to take a look at my diet and make changes,exactly what January is all about!

14. by Lisa B. on Jan 10, 2012 at 12:57 PM PST

In the past I have been a vegetarian, I have been a pescatarian. I have eaten meat and eschewed all meat products. This is going to be an unpopular opinion, but reading this, you do sound lot be somewhat of a PITA all around. Someone who is exceedingly controlling of his children and someone who most likely does ruin dinner parties. That said, you also seem to be aware of these proclivities.

15. by wally14 on Jan 10, 2012 at 1:23 PM PST

I would love to try these recipes. Especially because I am a father of 2 and do all of the cooking/baking in my household.

16. by Teresa F. on Jan 10, 2012 at 8:37 PM PST

This would be perfect for my brother, who is a stay at home dad for two boys and cooks for the family.

17. by anonymous on Jan 10, 2012 at 11:38 PM PST

This article really vis a tease and the picture of the mushroom soup was mouthwatering. I truly would love this book, unemployed as I am,

18. by nlaugust on Jan 11, 2012 at 2:01 PM PST

my vote for QOD is this from Jim Harrison, one of the contributors to this book:

Your meals in life are numbered and the number is diminishing. Get at it.”

19. by ceilithe on Jan 11, 2012 at 2:01 PM PST

Loved the honest-to-goodness life lessons for the author, his children, and ultimately the reader of his & others’ essays. Great intro to what I’m sure are plenty more where that came from :)

20. by Walter Hanig on Jan 11, 2012 at 2:19 PM PST

Looking forward to reading the rest of the book.

21. by rtysons on Jan 11, 2012 at 2:22 PM PST

Interesting essay, though it seems to me that the author owes it to his kids to start that conversation. They’re old enough.

22. by Elizabeth on Jan 11, 2012 at 2:28 PM PST

The challenge of feeding children extends beyond just meat. Hopefully, in time and with patience, whether they continue to follow our (kosher) diet, opt to be vegetarians or omnivores, they will discover pleasures beyond boxed mac and cheese.

23. by Dana on Jan 11, 2012 at 2:41 PM PST

This essay contains many thought provoking ideas. What we choose to eat in relation to our families and love interests really reverberates with me. Do you think we are more likely to cook meat for those we want to have sex with? When we’re in love, we can be happy eating almost anything. And why is meat eating associated with manliness?

24. by anonymous on Jan 11, 2012 at 2:42 PM PST

I am a partial vegetarian if there is such a thing. I live in a house with meat and potato guys (my husband and two sons) but I would prefer all vegetables. My big issue with vegetarianism is I never get enough proteins, I must be doing something wrong. Your article seems to touch on going from eating meat to vegetarian, I’d love to read more.

25. by Richard Yarnell on Jan 11, 2012 at 2:53 PM PST

I just spent a weekend with my emaciated ex-wife who has recently decided that neither vegan nor even vegetarian is particularly healthy for her. While she chooses the source of all her food, meat and vegetable, carefully, she’s begun to eat modest amounts of meat again and says she’s never felt better.

I do eat meat. We have evolved eating meat and plants: we were hunter/gatherers long before we became pampered consumers. I also like things that grow rooted in the soil.

I suggest that balance should be the rule. We all know people who eat either all meat or all vegetables, undoubtedly missing some much needed nutrient in the process.

The fact that we eat meat is not the problem. How much meat we eat and how that meat is produced are problems. I’ve written about rabbit on this site. Rabbit is one of the most economical meat crops we can produce. Rabbits thrive on medium to low grade forage - mostly grass. They are naturally near the bottom of the food chain and reproduce, well, like rabbits. The meat is low fat, quick to cook, and plentiful: rabbits skeletons are light.

We also stew our old hens when they quit laying; we eat mutton when our breeding ewes (we raise Jacob sheep for their wool) are too old to carry on.

But, I do the cooking around here and push the beans, vegetables, and greens in ever changing combinations with fruits and meat. Since our house has a large attached greenhouse, we have lots of fresh plants to eat, year round. We’re comfortable eating many of them raw.

I hope, Jesse, you’ll find your way back to a happy balance that will please both you and the kids. But I won’t every say it isn’t a personal choice.


26. by JEP on Jan 11, 2012 at 2:53 PM PST

I have the book Man with a Pan on hold at my local library. I would sure like to own a copy!

27. by Cindi Hoppes on Jan 11, 2012 at 2:57 PM PST

Hi, I have been a vegetarian for as long as I can remember being able to choose my food choices! Of course, growing up with a much older brother who became a Veterinarian, helped me make my mind up sooner than later...Somehow, the idea of eating anything with two eyes and what I believe, a soul,
was extremely difficult for me. My husband and our two sons are not vegetarians like me, but my husband enjoys cooking and sometimes finds it difficult to please all of us! Many thanks for the opportunity to win your book. Cindi

28. by anonymous on Jan 11, 2012 at 3:01 PM PST

There should always be a tolerance towards those who restrict their diets but it goes too far to say that there should be no meat in one’s home. That, in itself, is something akin to the religiousity of vegetarianism. It’s just a fridge! Relax!

29. by stacy on Jan 11, 2012 at 3:08 PM PST

Love this essay. I can identify with many different parts. For instance, my dad is a great cook and I always love learning from him. Also, I am a vegetarian. Have been for a while now. I find vegetarian dishes and cooking so much more interesting and exciting quite frankly and have not had a strong urge to eat meat (then again, I only ever ate poultry, really, not liking red meat or fish, so I am not missing so much I suppose).

30. by anonymous on Jan 11, 2012 at 3:28 PM PST

I am not interested in total vegetarinaism but I do like cutting back on meat, especially red meat. I eat mostly white meat chicken. I am Diabetic and need some portein in my diet and lentils and beans being high in carbs doesn’t allow me to eat too much of them. I would love to have a copy of your book. By the way I collect recipe books and dlove to read them like some people read novels.

31. by Laura Wallan on Jan 11, 2012 at 3:34 PM PST

When my four children were young I never allowed them to eat white bread and very little meat. I made my own cereals and never purchased any food that started out in a box. My kids did not grow up without complaining about my feeding habits. They are now adults with kids of their own. One is a vegetarian, one is a vegan, and the other two are bread makers in the city. The point is, they do not eat white bread, they make (or make ME) create their cereals, and they are all the better for it. Hang in there, you will be amazed at how they may change their eating habits because of how you eat. As soon as they are old enough to stir a pot, teach them everything you know about cooking. Soon they will be cooking for you.

32. by elemenope on Jan 11, 2012 at 3:47 PM PST

I never eat beef & still eat the occasional bit of chicken. I prefer fish and a Japanese diet. For a long time, I was vegetarian but had a hard time keeping my iron levels up and being chronically anemic isn’t any fun.
It would be great to add more “tried and true” vegetarian meals. Thanks for the opportunity.

33. by nekobasu on Jan 11, 2012 at 4:37 PM PST

As a vegetarian parent (and married to a vegan), it was interesting to read about your struggles to explain your vegetarianism to your girls. My oldest is only five, and he’s been vegetarian his entire life, so we haven’t had any difficulty yet -- when we talk about why, we just explain our environmental and health concerns around meat. Eventually we’ll add in the ethical problems with the meat industry. I hope it stays simple! :-)

34. by grateful_J on Jan 11, 2012 at 5:14 PM PST

“Virtuous eating” is a balancing act. One the one hand, I choose to eat foods produced locally, organically, sustainably, etc. On the other hand, I will eat what is set before me (by friends and family, when I’m receiving their generosity) without questioning sources (unless that is part of the ongoing conversation). This author did a lovely job relating the various balancing acts he performs, with honesty and clarity.

35. by Paul Corsa on Jan 11, 2012 at 5:45 PM PST

It is not unusual for a person to change beliefs at different stages of their life. As long as the new system of beliefs meets their social and spiritual needs all is well until they evolve into requiring a different belief system. I learned this from Professor Earnst Toch at Wayne State University in the 1960’s. His observations are as true today as they were then.

36. by Betsy Pauzauskie on Jan 11, 2012 at 7:26 PM PST

I enjoyed reading the posted information. I enjoy meat; but, have wrestled with the issues of eating something with a face a few times in my life. I would love some of his vegetarian recipes though. I think most Americans need to eat more fruits and veggies. The book would be educational and interesting to read!

37. by Riana on Jan 11, 2012 at 8:51 PM PST

Sounds like a delightful read! I applaud this essay for the author’s thoughtfulness and care given to this topic of dealing with food choice and raising children. Food choices are deeply personal proclivities and this account is peppered with utter respect. Looking forward to sitting down with this book over a wonderful glass of wine.

38. by Rosemary Febbo on Jan 11, 2012 at 8:53 PM PST

In the early ‘70s, i taught classes in vegetarian natural foods cooking. My three sons were young enough that I swayed their eating preferences. I made all of my own tofu, ground my own flour for breads, grew most of my veggies in my backyard garden in a residential area of Los Angeles. They helped plant, grow and pick the food, which I believe added to their willingness to try various green foods. My youngest son never ate sugar until he was 5 years old. I made homemade sherbet and carrot cakes, all with honey for his birthday parties. Just months ago I had a conversation with him where he made a statement about being so different growing up, especially when it came to food. Now, of course, eating the way he did is all the rage. He’s 38 years old, always been a vegetarian and NEVER been to a doctor for an illness. But then again, his older brother eats plenty of meat and has not been to a doctor in 30 years either, so I am stumped as to which is best for an individual. I do believe however the lack of pesticides and other additives add greatly to good health. They read labels. Personally, I limit my meat eating to once or twice a month.

I produce and host a food show on community radio, so I talk to a lot of folks from both sides of this fence. Maybe I can interview you on my show sometime.

Thanks. Eat well and with pleasure.

39. by Dorothy LeCel on Jan 11, 2012 at 8:57 PM PST

I eat a lot of vegetables including a lot of beans, I enjoy chicken and fish but really don’t eat anything that walks on four legs. My problem with beef, pork, lamb is the way that they are treated and fed, it disturbs my sensibilities and I don’t think it is necessary, except in the name of profits. I happen to live in northern california and am fortunate to have a good number of family farms that I can purchase from.

40. by Melody Portillo on Jan 11, 2012 at 9:41 PM PST

I love the stories from others about their trials of “to be or not to be” vegetarians, vegans or carnivores. As a parent and a Chef, I get it. You want to take care of yourself, be healthy, eat better, yada yada. Ours kids are important and we want what is best. I don’t think that your food choices should cause stress or tension for you or your children. We all give in every once in awhile to our kids. I suggest you feed them Chicken and waffles (quinoa and whole grain waffles, of course)!!! ;)

41. by Lisa Marie on Jan 11, 2012 at 10:27 PM PST

what i love about eating is the journey involved. i remember when, a few years ago, my brother had just informed me that he and his girlfriend were going to try to start eating vegan. in response, i told him that i was trying to eat more meat. there are so may culinary traditions out there and the more i read the more informed i am about the choices i make with each meal and the impact those choices have on myself, my family and my society. a local organization has a ‘vote with your fork’ campaign. to that i say educate yourself and vote!

42. by szymanskiea on Jan 11, 2012 at 10:53 PM PST

While vegetarianism may not be a religion per se, I do see it as having similarities to a faith system. As such, proselytizing to others about it is one thing; encouraging others to directly oppose it is another. I’m not a vegetarian but I am extremely careful about where I source my meat and how those animals are treated; even still, if I’m offered meat in good faith at a dinner party, I won’t turn up my nose and cause a ruckus. The situation in which John finds himself with his daughters is a difficult one indeed.

43. by Moms Kitchen on Jan 12, 2012 at 3:14 AM PST

You lost all the weight because you were in love. You will start eating meat when you fall in love with a meat eater. I’d love to win a copy of the book. Great writing!

44. by Kim Spencer on Jan 12, 2012 at 4:09 AM PST

I have to admit it was the teaser “sexually transmitted eating disorder” and the possibility of winning a copy of the book that got me here. Some interesting points made well here; makes me interested in reading the book.

45. by Rosemary Wolbert on Jan 12, 2012 at 4:45 AM PST

I still harbor the same thoughts about vegetarians and vegans as Jesse did before his conversion. I am happy with a meatless meal often, but I still love meat. I’d love to read this book. I love reading (and writing) about food!

46. by anonymous on Jan 12, 2012 at 5:56 AM PST

The men in my family are/were great cooks. I am a retire Home Ec. teacher who wants to get back into cooking and share in this experience with my husband whose love of cooking is inspirational to all he knows. I’d love to win this book.

47. by Laura Stark on Jan 12, 2012 at 6:33 AM PST

A thought-provoking read. I, too, am interested in changing my eating habits, but for the loss of weight that I am currently carrying. I don’t think I would miss eating meat, but my husband and daughter? I don’t think they can go that way entirely. A good steak, some Italian sausage, even I crave those at times. A diet of vegetables, fruit, whole grains, etc., is doable in my estimation. The writer’s anguish at not being able to explain his actions is definitly something he will need to deal with; his daughters deserve that, at least. But whether or not he continues his vegetarian diet is a personal choice. I, too, deplore the mistreatment of animals in this country, whether it be a pet or a farm animal that is being raised for meat (or dairy) production. I still cringe when I recall the video (of a butcher shop in China) I saw of cats and dogs being stripped of their entire skin while still alive, and remaining totally aware, until hopefully they were killed or died of shock. And yet, I still eat meat.
People will do what they think is best for themselves; forcing their beliefs on others is wrong.
Work out your feelings, writer,: you must for the sake of your children. They are, after all, your legacy, and what you do WILL affect them for the rest of their lives.

48. by Georgen Charnes on Jan 12, 2012 at 7:17 AM PST

I’m so glad to read that someone else has had trouble cooking with their kids. It’s so often depicted as 100% wonderful; I have to constantly bite my tongue and plaster an insincere smile on my face. Sounds like a good read.

49. by Rebecca on Jan 12, 2012 at 7:44 AM PST

My daughter is a pescatarian; my husband and son are concienscious carnivores. When my son goes to college, the three of us will most likely be occassional pescatarians. Things change, so who knows!

50. by kyenne on Jan 12, 2012 at 7:56 AM PST

It is a wonderful counterpoint to read this essay thinking back on when my parents separated and my father took on cooking for my brother and me. His specialty was meatloaf (straight from James Beard) and really crunchy salads - he was more into the pleasure of chopping things up than lettuce so there were more carrots, celery and peppers than lettuce. Vegetarian choices were limited to tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. It all works out just fine, Jesse. I have a huge garden now and raise my own eggs and honey!

51. by Tina W on Jan 12, 2012 at 8:57 AM PST

This looks like it would be so much fun to read.

52. by Barbara Lamb on Jan 12, 2012 at 10:10 AM PST

A very interesting article. I am a vegetarian living with an omnivore. For 8 months he went on a vegan diet for his arthritis (with miraculous results, I might add). When he started to eat meat again I was disappointed, but have tried not to let this affect our kitchen life. He is still eating and enjoying a predominantly vegetable-based diet. Though I would prefer no meat in the fridge or blood on the cutting boards, this needs to be handled with tolerance. Cooking with resentment isn’t healthy for anyone.

53. by EvaToad on Jan 12, 2012 at 10:51 AM PST

I enjoyed this excerpt. I’m the daughter of divorced parents (from about age 7), and our family was “pescatarian” until then because of my father’s moral/philosophical objections to meat. My mother started adding meat back into her own diet, and that of my younger sister, when my parents separated, but by then I was too old to be really on board with it. Now I eat chicken (and fish/seafood). My partner grew up in a family that still eats a LOT of meat, but because of the way I eat he has gradually reduced his meat-eating to nearly match mine, though I never had any objection to his eating steak or bacon. And, much to my surprise, we seem to have inspired a reduction in meat and increase in vegetable consumption amongst HIS family!

Clearly, this essay really touched me. I hesitate to offer advice, but rather... I’d like to offer a comment that kids seem to generally turn out ok no matter what dietary choices their parents make as far as meat goes. I suspect it’s more important to help them understand what choices their parents are making, and allow them to make their own (within reason..balanced nutrition is important!).

54. by debra daniels-zeller on Jan 12, 2012 at 10:55 AM PST

Interesting perspective. I have been a vegetarian for a long time and have gone through many phases but I have never said my husband can’t store his meat in our refrigerator or cook it if he wants. We’re considerate of each other and he eats meat in restaurants or when I’m away, and he mostly gets precooked stuff, so no cross contamination on cutting boards. My daughter grew up eating what she wanted and that included meat, but I never cooked it. I’d love to read more of these essays.

55. by Isabel Raci on Jan 12, 2012 at 3:33 PM PST

Thank you for sharing your story. With all due respect, I believe you should focus on developing a sense of humor and relaxing. You seem to be taking yourself and your choices entirely too seriously. Food is really fun and funny.

56. by Johnella Mathley on Jan 12, 2012 at 6:37 PM PST

Living and eating between vegetarian and some meat, as I experience the bounty of my garden I am more inclined to eat very little meat throughout the year and I am more disappointed by the taste of meat every year.

57. by Donna B! on Jan 12, 2012 at 7:15 PM PST

I love being vegan and there are no limitations in my mind at all. Having the best vegan chef in the house doesn’t hurt either! I like your perspective and thoughts about this... original and well written. I would invite a look into the health aspects of this lifestyle -- far reaching and beneficial. And one can get protein from many other sources besides meat.

58. by Nile Curry-Hughes on Jan 13, 2012 at 11:23 AM PST

In full favor of men being involved and interested in the kitchen!

59. by Kim on Jan 13, 2012 at 12:13 PM PST

We’ve picked our winner! Thanks, everyone, for your comments. This is a topic that drives rich discussion; we appreciate your thoughts.

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