Real Men Bake

I don’t know much about being a man. I do not fix things well. I don’t know how cars work. If I didn’t grow hair out of my face, I could probably be mistaken for a startlingly bald lady the way I fawn over babies in public. Once, I assembled a headboard for my girlfriend, and when I finished, I realized I had installed one of the shelves so backwardly that it would have taken an hour to fix. But I do have one piece of advice for dudes. A simple and practical maxim that will make your lives easier. Every guy should learn how to bake one thing really well.

“Wha-wha-what?” you may ask. “Shouldn’t every man know how to change his own oil or throw a curveball or wrassle a gator?” Maybe. But in my experience, none of those accomplishments will earn you the kind of instantaneous admiration that whipping up a pie or a cobbler from scratch will generate. Besides, how long into your life are you going to be playing competitive baseball? Fastballs fade. Cookies are forever.

Baking isn’t easy, but it pays dividends. First of all, if you’re a guy and you’re not wearing a puffy white hat and an apron streaked with flower, no one will expect your prowess with a double-boiler. People love to be surprised. And there’s no more delightful surprise than a tray of homemade baked goods. They’re delicious, and they show that you put in time and effort to do something nice. You’ll be a hit at your office potluck or family reunion. Anyone can throw together a salad, but it takes motivation, dedication, and practice to engineer a platter of seven-layer bars. Your hard work will not go unappreciated.

Plus, if you spontaneously bake for a girl you’re dating, she will probably lose her mind with excitement. Most girls (according to my limited research) have never had a guy bake for them out of the blue. You will get major brownie points (pun intended and knocked out of the park) for all that legwork. If the baked goods stink, you still get credit for trying, and it’s a charming story for the grandkids. If they taste good, then even better!

“But Josh,” you’re asking now, “why not just learn how to cook? Baking is for girls, right? And cooking is manly. Like on a grill, with an open flame and sword-like skewers.”

Well, intensely sexist yet weirdly phallo-centric devil’s advocate that I invented, baking has it all over cooking. If you learn how to cook one thing, that’s a good start, but if you can make lasagna, people are going to assume you can make meatloaf or tuna casserole. In short, when people see you cook, they think you can cook. If you bake one thing, that’s usually good enough. No one looks a gift croissant in the mouth the way they do with a steak or a soup. Plus, you won’t get called upon to bake nearly as often as you would to cook. You’ll have to bake for Thanksgiving, probably. Maybe a random barbecue or two throughout the year. One or two close relatives’ birthdays, tops. If you show even remedial cooking prowess (and by this I mean the ability to combine foods without setting a house on fire) you will be enlisted for any family gathering, friendly get-together, and office party.

More importantly, the joy of baked goods last longer. If you put in three hours roasting a chicken, sautéing onions, steaming broccoli, and boiling water for rice, you get one great meal and then a week of lunches. A batch of brownies or a pie gives you a several treats to look forward to when you get home from work (or before you leave for work if you’re a grownup who LIVES LIFE TO THE FULLEST). Baking is a better use of your time.

Which brings me to my most crucial point: When you know how to bake, you can have pastry whenever you want! You can make it happen with your own two hands. It’s like magic. I imagine the same satisfaction a burlier guy gets from disassembling an engine block or hollowing out a canoe (I don’t know what actual men do) is the same sense of purpose I feel when I pull a key lime pie out of the oven. In fact, my pride at baking brownies is often so intense, I feel no need to ever father a child.

Maybe that makes me a wimp, but all I know is that baking has enhanced my romantic, familial, and professional relationships. I’m leaving my mark on the world by creating things that bring people joy and excitement. Isn’t that what being a guy is all about?

So bro, put down the wrench and pick up the whisk… if you’re man enough. TC mark

image – lamantin

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  • bake man

    Also: make sure the one thing you learn to bake is universally well-liked. I learned how to bake carrot cake, which a lot of people totally hate. 

    • http://www.nosexcity.com NoSexCity

      Suggestion: one with and one without walnuts.

      Also, Depression-era brownies are a certified crowd pleaser. I’ll give you my recipe if you ask real nice.

      • A.

        Depression-era brownies? I’m curious.

      • http://www.nosexcity.com NoSexCity

        Depression-era baking/cooking emphasized making due with ‘less’ since people didn’t have the same amount of money to throw around on ingredients. In the case of these brownies, they use cocoa powder instead of chocolate or any syrup like you would find in most recipes (boxed or not) today. Not *as* sweet, but still sweet.

        Cheesy website with further examples: http://www.homeeverafter.com/printable-menu-plan-great-depression-recipes/

    • http://www.nosexcity.com NoSexCity

      Suggestion: one with and one without walnuts.

      Also, Depression-era brownies are a certified crowd pleaser. I’ll give you my recipe if you ask real nice.

    • http://twitter.com/ward_hegedus Ward Hegedus

      carrot cake is fucking phenomenal if done well. 

    • http://twitter.com/ward_hegedus Ward Hegedus

      carrot cake is fucking phenomenal if done well. 

    • http://twitter.com/ward_hegedus Ward Hegedus

      carrot cake is fucking phenomenal if done well. 

    • http://twitter.com/ward_hegedus Ward Hegedus

      carrot cake is fucking phenomenal if done well. 

    • http://twitter.com/ward_hegedus Ward Hegedus

      carrot cake is fucking phenomenal if done well. 

    • http://twitter.com/ward_hegedus Ward Hegedus

      carrot cake is fucking phenomenal if done well. 

      • Anonymous

        but carrot cake is the shit. Haters gon hate

    • http://twitter.com/ward_hegedus Ward Hegedus

      carrot cake is fucking phenomenal if done well. 

    • http://twitter.com/ward_hegedus Ward Hegedus

      carrot cake is fucking phenomenal if done well. 

    • http://twitter.com/ward_hegedus Ward Hegedus

      carrot cake is fucking phenomenal if done well. 

    • http://twitter.com/ward_hegedus Ward Hegedus

      carrot cake is fucking phenomenal if done well. 

  • Karina

    Yes! The best! And so true: There is an seriously disproportionate amount of credit given to men who bake. Who cares? Free brownies!

  • Anonymous

    I can attest that this man is an STELLAR baker. So. many. pies.

  • zoe

    “A batch of brownies or a pie gives you a several treats to look forward to when you get home from work (or before you leave for work if you’re a grownup who LIVES LIFE TO THE FULLEST). ”
    I definitely laughed out loud. 
    You have a great voice. Bring me a chocolate cake, let’s talk.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tsdyke Thomas Dyke

    Ha I think I’ll try my hand at a good ol’ fashioned apple pie sometime. Great piece. 

    • Josh Gondelman

      Apple pie requires the very difficult “overcrust.” Good luck and godspeed!

    • Aimy

      You’ll have to invent the universe first. hehe.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tsdyke Thomas Dyke

    Ha I think I’ll try my hand at a good ol’ fashioned apple pie sometime. Great piece. 

  • http://www.nosexcity.com NoSexCity

    This is so, so, SO true. But you might be killing your leg-up on everyone else by cluing in the masses…

  • http://www.nosexcity.com NoSexCity

    This is so, so, SO true. But you might be killing your leg-up on everyone else by cluing in the masses…

  • http://twitter.com/hereticaneue Heretica Neue

    I’m a certified pastry chef, and every single one of my instructors was a man. ;)

  • http://twitter.com/hereticaneue Heretica Neue

    I’m a certified pastry chef, and every single one of my instructors was a man. ;)

  • http://twitter.com/hereticaneue Heretica Neue

    I’m a certified pastry chef, and every single one of my instructors was a man. ;)

  • http://dirtyyoungmen.wordpress.com Maxwell Chance

    Are you one of my friends secretly writing under a pseudonym?

    • Josh Gondelman

      I don’t think so. Josh Gondelman would be the worst fake name. 

  • Anonymous

    Fuck  yeah, I am SO turned on right now. I want a bf who can bake brownies for me.

  • Anonymous

    Fuck  yeah, I am SO turned on right now. I want a bf who can bake brownies for me.

  • Sophia

    The idea of receiving homemade cookies from my boyfriend has got me smiling and a little turned on. This article is spot-on accurate.

  • http://twitter.com/tannnyaya Tanya Salyers

    Cookies are forever?  I love you.

  • LowerHaighter

    While cooking for a lady has always been a fantastic way to score points, I’ve never seen a woman more happy than the time I save the day by changing a flat tire while we were in a remote. 
    Be the whole package!

    • LowerHaighter

      remote area that is

    • LowerHaighter

      remote area that is

    • LowerHaighter

      remote area that is

    • LowerHaighter

      remote area that is

  • Guest

    ” In fact, my pride at baking brownies is often so intense, I feel no need to ever father a child.”
    hahahahahaha you tha man.

  • http://twitter.com/niceflying Emma

    Aww babe, baking and cooking is all just reading comprehension. It’s super nice to of you to try, though!

  • amigo

    “Fastballs fade. Cookies are forever.” i love your wisdom and i’d love to read more articles from you on tc

  • amigo

    “Fastballs fade. Cookies are forever.” i love your wisdom and i’d love to read more articles from you on tc

  • http://goldenday.tumblr.com Kia Etienne

    laughing so hard. 
    thank you for this!

  • http://goldenday.tumblr.com Kia Etienne

    laughing so hard. 
    thank you for this!

  • Guy

    This article was fantastic, hilarious, and as a guy who recently learned to bale (but cannot throw a football for shit), absolutely true.

  • thegrandprix

    This article is a great piece, but there is much to be said about being a man who is both at home with the whisk and the wrench.  My dad raised me to be just as comfortable adjusting the float level on a quad barrel Holley carb as I am at adjusting the flour to water ratio in pizza dough.  A man should be capable of any work that gets grease on his hands, whether it be of the 0-20 weight or bacon variety.  Overall, a real man should be competent and confident at most tasks life throws in front of him, or at least able to assemble anything that comes in a box (be it bookshelf or brownie mix). 

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