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Archive for May, 2015

Are Men Better at Cooking than Women?

We all have heard of women competing with men in the corporate world and men taking the competition in the right spirit. How? Well, they have been competing with women where culinary skills are concerned. Men have been trying to outshine women in their own game, on their turf or territory – the kitchen. And this is not a new phenomena; men have been slaving in the kitchen since the 14th century actually. A French chef, by the name of Guillaume Tirel, was the head chef from 1326 to Phillip VI.
No matter how much we try to deny it, men are perfectionists and are very creative. They are a little more adept at taking risks as compared to women. So, when it comes to cooking, they apply all their creativity and knowledge on the subject and try to invent something new, or modify a tried-and-tested dish. There are a few reasons as to why men are better than women at cooking, which are listed out in this Buzzle write-up.
The Key Ingredients that Make Men Better Cooks
Hard Work
I am not insinuating that women are not hardworking. All I am saying is that men do tend to put in few more hours when it comes to learning something that they enjoy doing. The funny thing about cooking is that if you enjoy what you are making and the entire process of creating something new, your dish will always be a masterpiece, no matter how simple it is. Men enjoy investing in a hard day’s work doing something they love. Apart from this, men love it when their efforts are appreciated by others. It motivates them to work harder, compete with themselves, and strive to achieve the perfect results.
Creative and Adventurous
Men are more adventurous when it comes to cooking. They love a challenge, specially when it comes to mastering exotic dishes. They add spices and ingredients in varying proportions, and if something goes wrong with the dish, they know what to do to balance it out. They are very good at modifying traditional dishes by adding alcohol, exotic spices, extra ingredients, and turning it into something that’s completely new. Probably, they are like this because they work without any inhibitions, and they do not overthink things.
Men are perfectionists when it comes to their job. If their line of work is cooking, then they are even more critical about it. When they come across a dish that has the reputation of being challenging and difficult, men take the easy way out, by working hard over it. If for the first time, they fail at it, they keep trying till they achieve the desired taste. Once that is done, they concentrate on perfecting it to a point where no one can pick any fault with it. It’s like they get a high while making sure everything that they make is par excellence.
Love to Eat
The fact that men love to eat is not an uncommon fact, and also that they love to eat delicious food is a no-brainer. If men came across a dish that they loved, they would try to replicate it at home so that whenever the craving for the said dish kicks in, they can quickly whip it up and gorge on it. A lot of men live alone and get bored and tired of takeouts. Cooking their own meal does make them good cooks, because they always want to try something new.
What Men Say About Cooking
I think every chef, not just in America, but across the world, has a double-edged sword – two jackets, one that’s driven, a self-confessed perfectionist, thoroughbred, hate incompetence and switch off the stove, take off the jacket and become a family man.
– Gordon Ramsay
I found that if I offered to cook for a girl, my odds improved radically over simply asking a girl out. Through my efforts to attract the opposite sex, I found that not only did cooking work, but that it was actually fun.
– Alton Brown
I’m a home cook and love to read about food, but I’m not trained as a chef. I’m just really into cooking and passionate about it.
– Ted Allen
My mother gave me a real kick toward cooking, which was that if I wanted to eat, I’d better know how to do it myself.
– Daniel Craig
Cooking for people is an enormously significant expression of generosity and soulfulness, and entertaining is a way to be both generous and creative. You’re sharing your life with people. Of course, it’s also an expression of your own need for approval and applause. Nothing wrong with that.
– Ted Allen
I liked the energy of cooking, the action, the camaraderie. I often compare the kitchen to sports and compare the chef to a coach. There are a lot of similarities to it.
– Todd English
If you are a chef, no matter how good a chef you are, it’s not good cooking for yourself; the joy is in cooking for others – it’s the same with music.
If you are still not convinced whether men are better or not, you could always see the proof firsthand. Usually, most of the chefs in good restaurants are men. The world has seen enough on television where men have voted down women in cooking. Chefs like Gordon Ramsay, Jamie Oliver, Guy Fieri, Carlos La Cruz, and many more have done some amazing cooking for them to be so famous. At the end of the day, cooking is a very subjective issue, and different people have different opinions. As long as you enjoy cooking and eating, it should not matter who cooks.

Comparison Between Hunan and Szechuan Style of Cooking

In 2011, UNESCO declared Chengdu, the capital of the Sichuan Province, as a city of gastronomy in recognition of its highly sophisticated food culture.
We just can’t think of getting through hectic weekdays without Chinese takeaway! It’s great to taste, quick to make and considerably lighter on your belly,not surprising that it makes our weekday staple. Although Chinese food is popular worldwide, our understanding of Chinese food ends with egg rolls and chop suey.
Chinese cuisine is actually an amalgamation of eight cuisines belonging to different provinces of China. These include Anhui, Cantonese, Fujian, Hunan, Jiangsu, Shandong, Szechuan, and Zhejiang cuisines. Although meat and fish are the heart of this cuisine, a large number of vegetarian dishes are also found as the Chinese culture was greatly influenced by Buddhism. These cuisines are based largely on the traditional medicinal beliefs. There is always a variant of Chinese cuisine found wherever Chinese people have settled around the world. Singaporean, Malaysian, Indonesian, Indian, and American version of Chinese cuisine is quite prominent.

Both Hunan and Szechuan cuisine are known for their bold pungent flavors. However, their different location and geography has given rise to a few differences between the two cuisines. Let’s take a closer look.

Hunan Style Vs. Szechuan Style

► Hunan cuisine is also known as Xiang cuisine. It comprises food belonging to the region near the Xiang river, Dongting Lake, and the western Hunan province.
► Szechuan cuisine, on the other hand, belongs to the Sichuan or Szechuan province located in southwestern China.

Flavor Profile
The only way to describe the flavors of these cuisines is fireworks in your mouth (not necessarily in a bad way!). With copious amounts of chillies, garlic, and onions, these foods are anything but boring. A whiff of these foods will surely make your stomach growl and mouth water. Not only are the foods of these cuisines enticing; they are addictive.
► The dishes of Hunan cuisine, ideally, require a lot of ground chillies (with the seeds) and loads of dried chili pepper. So, the flavor in these dishes can be said to be a combination of heat accompanied by oniony garlicy along with the umami flavor of the meat used (getting hungry already?!).
► Szechuan cuisine makes use of chillies along with a lot of Sichuan peppercorns. These are the husk of the seeds of the plant, Zanthoxylum simulans. This adds aromatic hints of citrus along with some tingly numbness to your mouth, giving Szechuan food its unique identity. Therefore, the flavors of Szechuan dishes can be described as tingly, hot with loads of garlicy oniony flavor.
► Szechuan cuisine involves the use of a lot of chili bean paste. It is a spicy, salty paste made from fermented broad beans, soybeans, salt, rice, and of course, chillies.
► Another thing that distinguishes the two cuisines is the combination of hot and sweet or hot and sour flavors used in Szechuan cuisine (these flavors sure play a game of naughty and nice with your taste buds!).

Crunchy Goodness
► Hunan cuisine adds a big bite of crunch with a lot of vegetables being added to almost every dish.
► Szechuan cuisine uses of a lot of nutty crunchiness with loads of salty peanuts, cashew nuts, and sesame seeds being added to the foods.

Preferred Protein
► Pork is usually the most preferred meat in Hunan cuisine, followed by beef. This cuisine has a lot of fish dishes.
► Beef is the beloved meat of the Szechuan cuisine followed by pork. Rabbit meat is more popular in the Sichuan region than any other part of China. Being a landlocked province, this cuisine doesn’t have many fish dishes. Szechuan cuisine has a lot of vegetarian dishes to brag about too.

Cooking Techniques Used
► Ideally, Hunan cuisine employs various techniques like stewing, frying, pot-roasting, braising, and smoking for cooking food. Meats are usually marinated for a very long time (overnight) before cooking. Usually, the meat is fried and added to the sauce later. The marinade and all other ingredients are cooked separately and assembled just before serving the dish.
► Stir frying, steaming, and braising are the techniques preferred for making dishes of Szechuan cuisine. Meats are marinated for a few minutes before cooking. Another differentiating aspect of this cuisine is that the meat is cooked along with the marinade and ingredients.

Preserved Foods Used
► Hunan cuisine uses smoked and cured foods more frequently in its dishes.
► Szechuan cuisine uses pickled, dried, and salted foods in its dishes.

Some Dishes To Try
Hunan dishes
► Dong’an chicken
► Mao’s braised pork
► Steamed fish head in chili sauce
► Smoked pork with dried long beans
Szechuan dishes
► Kung Pao chicken
► Mapo tofu
► Bon bon chicken
► Tea-smoked duck

So the next time you order Chinese food, we hope you’re a little bit more adventurous and try something new!