You know, Alexander the Great was also a fabulous cook? Does it sound incongruous or incredible? Yes, the great conqueror was indeed an excellent cook in addition to being an adroit swordsman. Indian historians Akhilesh Mishra, Sacchidanand Sinha and the legendary British historian Sir Arnold Toynbee were unanimous on one count that the great Greek was also a cook par excellence and he learnt how to cook when he was banished to Lesbos Island by his tutor Aristotle. Young Alexander utilized his ‘lockdown’ by learning the ropes of cooking!
Many men across the world are showcasing their culinary skills in these times of lockdown and wooing their wives/girlfriends back by serving the ladies something seductively delicious to devour! If world’s greatest cook Sir Gordon Ramsay’s words are to be believed, he reworked and mastered Boeuf Bourguignon to please his estranged lady love during the lockdown in Britain. Interesting! Isn’t it?
Well, lockdown is incidental and an out of the blue phenomenon. That lockdown or banishment may have triggered a man’s embedded culinary expertise is inconsequential. The point is: Cooking or culinary skills of a man is a quality that’s surely appreciated by a woman or a bevy of women, as the case may be. Elizabeth Taylor thrice dumped Richard Burton but could never leave him permanently because according to the gorgeous diva, Richard was a magic in the kitchen, though it was also a euphemism for something else!
When Burton was imprisoned for a petty crime during his youth, he was sentenced to three months of simple imprisonment with no one to give him a company. His sort of a solitary confinement (read, today’s lockdown) culminated in acquiring culinary mastery which he picked up from the friendly warden who was also a fascinating cook! Cooking is not just a humanizing process; it’s cathartic as well as therapeutic. It enhances an individual’s emotional quotient and brings out his humane and tender traits.
Readers may be aware that prison manuals all over the world advise hardcore and inveterate criminals to take up cooking as a hobby that acts as a stress-buster which eventually mellows them down. In the prisons of Sweden, all inmates have to learn how to cook. By the way, Swedish males are world’s best chefs. They have an innate knack for cooking. Alfred Nobel, who invented dynamite, was also a superb cook who would cook the best Crayfish August and Toast Skagen for his forever whining beloved!
Cooking is caring. To cook is to care, care for the person you are cooking for. This quality is much admired by women. When a woman is fed up with daily cooking, if her hubby, beau or partner volunteers to cook for her, she feels not only loved but also thinks of her man’s gesture as a cutely chivalrous act. Yes, cooking is chivalry. That’s the reason, French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte would often cook for Josephine and scores of women he fell for.
French poet Lemier and Charles Baudelaire even wrote poems on Napoleon’s culinary skills and how that helped him impress aristocratic French women. Sartre wrote that those women had nothing to do with the legendary Frenchman’s military prowess. What impressed them was emperor’s cooking with care for them. Jean Paul Sartre himself was a tolerably good cook who would often make a tasty egg-salad and French black coffee for his muse Simone de Beauvoir and a couple of clandestine lady friends!
Our very own Jawaharlal Nehru would cook Kashmiri Roghan Josh for his muse (to use a euphemism) Edwina Mountbatten. Mrs Indira Gandhi once told Pupul Jaykar that her dad cooked Kashmiri mutton curry better than a seasoned woman in kitchen. Forever a ladies’ man, Nehru knew that women loved men who cooked lovingly for them.
Yet another debonair and footloose politician with astounding command of English knows how to cook well with a view to impressing more and more women. Sorry, there are no prizes for guessing who I’m alluding to.
The point is: When a man cooks for his woman or women, the desirable but dormant feminine attributes tend to surface, making him relatable to the women. They instantaneously find a meeting point to strike a rapport with the man, cooking for them. In other words, it increases a man’s desirable quotient in the estimation of woman/women. ‘A man cooking is a man good looking’ is an Oz adage many women will concur with. So men, learn to cook to impress your woman and also to retain her. Yours truly, once learnt to boil egg for his French girlfriend. But she soon realised that the man knew nothing better. So, she dumped him for a chef! Good riddance for both.
Lastly, this ongoing lockdown is the best and god-send opportunity for a man to try his cooking skills to please his exasperated wife bored with endless household chores in these times of forced confinement! Even better if both cook together, for, cooking together is loving (also, fighting) together. It’s sheer fun that kills the boredom.