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Feeding Others Becomes the Perfect Recipe
I’ve noticed something -- well, there’s no other word for it but weird -- about the guys I hang out with.
We used to talk about guy stuff – women, sports, guitars, women, sports, motorcycles, women, sports and trucks. And women. And sports.
Now when we get together we swap recipes.
I’m not kidding.
What used to be a collection of Manly Men sitting around a table at some dingy bar, belching and pulling one another’s fingers and saying “Arrrrr!” whenever the spirit(s) moved us, has turned into my mother’s Home Extension club.
Gone are the days when someone would come in, sit down and announce, “I just put new straight pipes on my bike. First time I fired it up, it blew the springs off the garage door.” Now it’s “I made the best chicken salad last night. I substituted a sweet banana pepper for the celery and used about half-mayonnaise, half-Dijon mustard for the dressing. The kids wouldn’t touch it but I thought it was great.”
The only thing that remains the same is the response: High-fives all around the table.
We used to be such heck raisers. I was going to use the other word, the H-E-double-hockey-sticks word, but decided not to because, truth be told, we were never THAT bad. I mean, we weren’t getting arrested. Much. And we kept our cars out of the ditches. Most of the time.
Anyway, the only things we’re raising nowadays are vegetable gardens and bread dough.
But wait, there’s more.
After we’ve swapped cooking tips, man-style (“You’re supposed to cook the fish five minutes per inch of thickness, you idiot.” “Oh yeah? I saw what you did to the vegetables last week. Nice touch, though, calling it Cajun-Style Blackened Broccoli.”) we sometimes move on to other areas of interest. And where we once talked about batting averages, free-throw percentages and single-season passing records, we get into long discussions about cholesterol levels, blood pressure readings and at what point during the night we have to get out of bed to … well, you know. I guess that’s why they call them the wee hours.
So what’s happening here? Are we all going soft?
Yes. Just take a look at our waistlines.
But we’re also softening in the right way.
I believe we are, at long last, growing up. As young men, out interests were mostly in the things that gave us pleasure. But now, when we talk about how to season the flour for fried chicken or how much rosemary to use on the roasted potatoes, it’s invariably because we want to feed someone else – family or friends – and make them happy.
Sure, we’ll be insufferably proud if the food turns out well but still, it’s about taking care of others. And that’s a sign of maturity.
As for the medical discussions – well, that’s also a sign that we’re growing up, a at long last. A young man believes himself to be immortal and that he and his friends will be here always. But as he gets older he learns the truth:
Time on this planet is limited, and it becomes all the more important to be aware of your health, and to take good care of yourself – and your friendships.
Not that we’d ever say that to each other. Older we may be, and even a shade or two wiser, but that doesn’t mean we’re going to get all mushy. We are GUYS, after all. Guys with really good recipes. Arr.
© 2007 Mike Redmond. All Rights Reserved.
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