Manlycakes And You
Something you might not have thought of.
When you decided you were lucky enough to be able to stay home and rear the spawn of your love, you might not have thought all the way through this. For one thing, if you’re going to be home all day from a job outside the house, you’re going to be the one to whom the majority of the housework falls.
Which, no matter how much we might moan and groan, is probably right and just. We’re here, we should be the ones who do the things that need to be done.
By things, of course, I mean cleaning, laundry, shopping and, what scared me the most, cooking.
Now, it was a bit easier for me. My sweetie, She Who Must Be Fed, was in medical school almost before the ink dried on our wedding license. Which meant her schedule was even worse than was mine, and I was a reporter who worked for a newspaper an hour out of town. Which meant that I was the one who had to do most of the cooking.
It was, I’ll grant you, dudes, rough. Especially at first. Very, very rough. I mean, despite growing up in a house where my mom could come into the kitchen an hour before dinner with nothing planned, look into the pantry, see what she had and then promptly whip up a delicious, healthy meal, I was not much of a cook.
I still cringe when I remember how proud I was to have been the first to discover that, if you brown some ground beef with maybe some garlic powder, you can then make some mac and cheese and — get this! — combine the two together to make a great meal. Yes, I say with shame, I actually thought I was the first person to think of this. My, at the time, intended didn’t even try hard to keep from laughing when she took me by the hand at the grocery store and walked me down the entire aisle filled with Hamburger Helper and the like. Shut up. I hear you so just shut up.
So, yeah, it wasn’t easy getting going. But I slowly gained ground. At least enough that neither she nor I would starve. Yes, we ate out a lot, but that was more convenience than abhorrence of my cooking. At least, that’s what I like to tell myself.
These days I like to think that I’m a pretty good cook. At least servicable anyway. I can look at a recipe, then make changes on the fly depending on what I think will work better for my family or what I happen to have in the pantry at the time since I forgot to actually buy the necessary ingredients for the dish when I was at the grocery store.
I’m also a big believer in every man knowing how to make at least one good meal that doesn’t involve spaghetti. Because, let’s face it, simply throwing noodles into water and then reheating a jar of Ragu does not a good meal make. For most single young men, being able to prepare one really good meal probably is a good start. But for you, stay-at-home dudes and husbands, it won’t cut it.
For one thing, your family will get pretty tired of burned steaks off the grill and withered baked potatoes and limp green beans.
Worry not. I am here to help you.
Not only that, but I have the one meal that — when not made every single day — will brighten the faces of every family member. I’m talking about breakfast. But for dinner. Yeah, that’s right.
It’s been amazingly well received in my house when I decide to do up eggs, bacon and pancakes or English muffins for dinner. There’s something about eating that morning fare at night that almost jazzes it up.
Cooking bacon is easy. You simply put it in the pan on medium and turn it every once in a while. You’ll quickly get the hang of crispy-but-not-burned bacon. Scrambled eggs are easy as well. Cook them in some leftover bacon grease and it covers a multitude of sins. But here, dudes. . . Here is the kicker.
No, not pancakes. Not mancakes. But manlycakes and they are not only fantastic, they’re easy as can be.
Now, I found a recipe for mancakes online somewhere and it did look pretty good. It also looked like a major pain in the butt to make as it called for me to make my own batter and all that. Nope. My mantra is, the easier it is on the chef, the better it is on the plate.
Here’s what you do: Go to the grocery store and get one of those pre-mixed pancake bottles. There are a couple of different companies that make the little plastic jugs and fill them with pancake powder. Fill the plastic jugs full of water to a predetermined height, close the jug and then shake to mix. There. You’ve just made pancake batter.
Step two involves getting out a large bowl and dumping the batter into it. Then you get out some already shredeed cheese. You can choose any cheese, but I like to stick with the traditional cheddar, or maybe colby jack. You dump maybe a cup, cup and a half (can you tell I’m not much for measuring in my cooking?) into the pancake batter. Then, you take some bacon and begin crumbling that into the batter as well.
That’s the basic dish right there. However, if you’re feeling bold, you can also include things like sauteed onions or mushrooms, maybe a couple pieces of pepper, or some breakfast sausage. Just as long as there’s plenty of meat and cheese in the batter.
Once you’ve got everything in the same bowl, haul out a wooden spoon and start mixing. While you’re doing that, heat up your griddle to about 350 degrees and
spray the griddle with either Pam or some olive oil spray to make it non-stick(ish). When the mix is mixed and the griddle is griddled, you use a big spoon to scoop out some batter and drip it onto the griddle.
Then it’s just the same as cooking regular pancakes. You wait until bubbles start forming in the top of the pancake, slip a greased spatula underneath and flip the manlycake onto the other side to cook. Give that about the same amount of time and then slide it onto a plate.
You can pour heated syrup on them, but I tend to think they’re good enough to eat on their own. Or, when I’m feeling a bit experimental, I’ll cook an egg and slide it on top of a couple of manlycakes for a better egg mcmanlypancake than ol’ Ronnie ever even thought of in his most fevered dream.
There you have it, dudes. It’s the perfect way to feed an entire family. There is no one who won’t like this meal and want more.
Even better news is this: Once you’re confident about being able to make this meal, you’ll want to stretch your spatula and try new and different ideas in the kitchen. You’ll have the confidence you’ll need when you start thinking about that next meal. Which you have to cook tomorrow. And the day after that. And the day after that.
But that’s what being a stay-at-home dude is all about. And you knew the job was dangerous when you took it.