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Gender and Food

Hi everyone,

I have been asked to give a quick 5-minute speech regarding food and masculinity for a conference on "What makes a man..."

Can anyone share any personal stories, thoughts, resources you have regarding why men eat the way they do, or whether or not you think social expectation and upbringing shapes the foods that men associate with being masculine and those they avoid because they don't want to seem feminine. Or anything you think might relate and might inspire me.

Thank you so much!

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  1. They don't eat quiche? Or so I have heard. I am a lady and I don't care for it, either.

    4 Replies
    1. re: soonerhound

      "Real men don't eat quiche" is very strange, seeing that quiche was a starter from the Lorraine region in Eastern France, near the German border, peopled with miners and metalworkers, and a lot of military due to the hostile border. Stereotypical "real men". Quiche was a starter before a very hearty main dish.

      1. re: lagatta

        I'm pretty sure that quote is in an Ernest movie.

        1. re: lagatta

          men will eat quiche if you dont tell them its quiche lol men seem to ne into meat and potatoes.. and they seem to like home cooked and simple. and once they like something they stick with it

          1. re: layla13

            This is a funny observation, because my last relationship was the exact opposite of some of the things you mention. One, I love quiche. I love meat and potatoes, but I think most hounds enjoy a great steak...I for one do not like stews, so if the meat and potatoes are mixed, I'm not having it. My ex, had no problem. I think everyone prefers home cooked, but I like to be wined and dined just as much as a lady would. as for finding something I like and sticking with it....I find that to be 100% a female attribute.

      2. I went out with my husband and I ordered pork chops, he ordered a caesar salad. The waiter automatically put the pork chops in front of my husband and the salad in front of me. My husband clearly orders what he wants to eat and doesn't care about "seeming feminine." So, stereotyping with examples might be humorous but doesn't conclude anything. A man secure in his masculinity doesn't order by stereotype. A man not, might.

        5 Replies
        1. re: chowser

          Similar happens with us all the time. She'll order the pate and a big rare steak and I'll have a salad followed by fish. Servers will often try to put down the lighter option in front of her.

          It also happens with drinks - I don't drink alcohol and she does. Server always puts the beer down next to me.

          We always think it's quite humourous the way servers treat us so stereotypically.

          1. re: Harters

            This is great! Actually your story made me realize that the same thing happens to my bf and I. I actually can eat much more than him, even though I weight half of what he does, so he often will beg me to finish his plate too so he doesn't look so... well, wimpy?

            1. re: hungryabbey

              My bf and I have had the same thing happen, particularly in a busy diner at breakfast or when a runner is bringing out our meal instead of the original waitstaff. I'm on a low carb diet, so I'll be getting a big steak while he orders a light seafood pasta. If it is weekend breakfast out I'm the one getting a selection of meat and eggs while he gets a light crepe or spinach omelet. We ate at a Village Inn that has a pick 4 menu option, and everything I picked was egg, then meat, meat, and another kind of meat. The server (a guy) stopped and asked if we were married, and if not, would I marry him. He liked a girl who didn't give a damn and went right for the meat. I don't usually like it when staff comments on my menu pick, but it was pretty funny and he was charming about it.

              1. re: hungryabbey

                Yep, this happens to me and my DH all the time. We go out for breakfast regularly, and when the server comes with the yogurt and mueslix and the "trucker's breakfast" with bacon, sausage, eggs, pancakes and hashbrowns, inevitably, the yogurt gets set down in front of me. DH is the first to jump in with, "um yeah, that's mine..."

                On our first date, we went to an Italian restaurant and he was so thrilled that I ordered an appetizer, a big plate of pasta AND dessert. He told me afterwards that he was tired of going out for a nice dinner and having the woman only order a salad.


          2. Speaking for myself I guess the differences are that I don't care if the things I eat are organic or not, free-range or not, grass-fed or not, and most of the time I eat fruit and produce without washing them first. I do rinse potatoes but that's about as far as I go.

            There are no foods that I avoid because I don't want to seem feminine ... I love quiche.

            The difference it seems to me is that like a dog, I will eat absolutely anything, and women seem to be more picky about what they eat. As a man I have been conditioned to be willing to take risks ... if you are a guy you are rewarded in your youth if you are a risk-taker ... so I will do things like buying food from street vendors in Mexico without giving it a second thought ... while women are not raised to be risk-takers, and say "I don't know if eating tamales you bought from a street vendor is such a good idea."

            A lot of it is probably social expectations. If as a guy and you are having dinner at a steak house there is no way you are going to order an 8 ounce steak and a salad, you are going to order the 14 ounce steak ... whether that is the healthiest thing to do doesn't really enter into the decision-making process because, once again, you are conditioned to take risks. If you are at a table with three other guys you aren't going to order the big salad.

            In the third "Bourne" movie starring Matt Damon there is a scene where the bad CIA guy and the good CIA woman meet in a restaurant and the guy orders an egg white omelet without the cheese or the peppers ... as she leaves the table the good CIA woman says to the bad CIA guy "Enjoy your egg white omelet" ... the message is that because he is scared to eat whole eggs, he is too prissy, thus establishing him as the "bad guy."

            Fussiness over what you eat is generally seen by society as a feminine characteristic, while the willingness to eat absolutely anything is seen as a masculine characteristic.

            42 Replies
            1. re: redfish62

              See and this is where I have problems with stereotypes. As a woman, I'm not picky about the food I eat, have eaten from vendors in third world countries without batting an eye. In the Fijis, we passed fish vendors w/ fish lying out and I bought the food they were eating, and ate it all with my dirty fingers. And, as I said above, my husband and I ate at a restaurant, he had a big salad, I had the pork chops. Sometimes I have the salad and he has the steak. No role playing.

              As the organic, free range, grass fed stuff goes, there's Michael Pollan--he has more opinions about it than most women I know.

              1. re: chowser

                Me, too. I am up to try anything once excepting species on the endangered list and things that would just plain go against my morals and ethics (i.e. dog). I have an adventurous spirit and an adventurous palate. Not at all squeamish. Admittedly my appetite is rather hardy! No role playing with my husband at restaurants, either. Just last week I had the bison tenderloin and he had the sole. He had the lemon souffle and sorbet; I had the bread pudding. Whatever our appetites dictate we eat.

                Having grown up on a farm all our livestock and poultry were free range so that is what I grew up with and I appreciate that very much. It is still very important to me AND my husband!

                1. re: chowser

                  it's my understanding that anything gender-typed would technically have to be true be cross-cultural as well; which wouldn't seem to be the case with many of our "Americanized" sterotypes. If i were you i would do some research around women being the original food and the "hunter-gatherer distinctions of our ancient ancestors.

                  1. re: betsydiver

                    That's one of the main ways they try to get to the bottom of socialization vs. nature - they go to the most remote place they can, try to find a tribe of people that have had as little contact w/ the outside world as possible, and observe from there.

                2. re: redfish62

                  Redfish-your third paragraph cracked me up. So true about risk taking. I was in Tijuana many years ago with friends and all the males got hot dogs from a vendor on the street. And I'm the one who said "not sure if that's such a great idea" Guess who was sick all the way back to LA?

                  1. re: redfish62

                    A counterpoint to the stereotype redfish62 is describing is the opposite, but equally (or even more) prevalent stereotype of the "meat and potatoes" man. That type of man will not eat everything - he wants a standard meal of meat, starch and vegetable (although quite possibly willing to skip the vegetable), simply prepared. He doesn't like unusual seasonings, and doesn't want to eat anything strange, especially foreign food. The "meat and potatoes man" would prefer to have a tooth pulled than go into a Thai restaurant. He doesn't like his food to be fussy, doesn't want sauces, and disdains creative "presentation". Needless to say, he has no use for most high-end restaurants, the exception being a steakhouse.

                    I've known guys like that, but of course it is a stereotype, and as with any stereotype it would be offensive to imply that it holds any particular truth with respect to the male palate. Men on Chowhound wouldn't see themselves in that stereotype, just the women on Chowhound don't see themselves in the stereotypes about how women eat.

                    1. re: MelMM

                      That's not necessarily true. I consider myself an M&P man yet I love ethnic foods; Thai, Mexican, etc.. I also disdain the presentation silliness, fusions, nouvelle/nouveau cuisines. I'm not into salads or desserts, just hearty main dishes.

                      1. re: mucho gordo

                        Of course it isn't necessarily true... it's a stereotype. I'm describing a stereotypical M&P man, which you obviously are not. Individuals never (or at least rarely) fit a stereotype exactly, which is why people who rely on them get into so much trouble. I do have some in-laws who fit that one pretty closely though. They are not the kind of folks who would be on this board. Nor are the women who subsist on salads.

                        1. re: MelMM

                          I'm not sure I understand why you say I'm 'obviously' not an M&P man; because I like ethnic foods?

                          1. re: mucho gordo

                            I'm not saying you aren't an M&P man, I'm saying you are not a stereotypical one.

                      2. re: MelMM

                        I see this in some older men but not younger ones. I like to think it's changing.

                        1. re: MelMM

                          One good example of the portrayal of the M&P man is in Breakfast at Tiffany's -- Holly Golightly is engaged to a Brazilian and learning to cook. She invites her American ... man friend over for "chicken and saffron rice" which of course blows up in the kitchen. At which point he says "I'm not much for chicken with sauce" showing that he's (1) a real man, and (2) a real *American* man (as opposed to the Brazilian fiance). Of course it's ironic this Brazilians are now associated with all-you-can-eat grilled meat!

                          1. re: Ruth Lafler

                            The thing is, if you go by stereotypes from Breakfast at Tiffany's, you'd think asian men have big buck teeth and glasses and are fairly unintelligible.

                            1. re: chowser

                              Tonight, TCM, 8:00 eastern time

                              1. re: chowser

                                The point being that stereotypes are about *perception* and may or (usually) may not have anything to do with reality, but that people from that culture will recognize the symbolism -- consciously or unconsciously -- and that's how they're used by advertisers, movie makers, etc. In this case, Blake Edwards used the character's expressed attitude toward food to make a very clear distinction between the down to earth American man and the rich, foreign man.

                                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                  Stereotypes ARE perceptions. I guess I bristle against them because people see others, not as they are, but as they have pigeon-holed them. And, when someone does fit a stereotype, the perceiver can then say, "See, that's an example of someone who is...." That's the way the OP came off in the first post--give me examples of men and women fitting into stereotypes, and explain why you think they do.

                                  Of course, stereotypes exist in movies, they don't only exist in them, they're perpetuated by them and that is a big problem, imo.

                                  1. re: chowser

                                    Not all stereotypes are harmful. In fact, I think most of them are silly but relatively harmless. For example, does the "meat and potatoes" stereotype hurt anyone? Stereotypes exist, and I think the issue of why any particular stereotype exists, the extent to which it is based in reality and the effect that stereotype has on our perceptions and our culture -- which is what I thought the original poster was asking about -- is interesting.

                                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                      I think stereotypes say more about the person holding the stereotype than the people being stereotyped. As I said before, I think preconceived notions, whether harmful or not, can prevent someone from seeing a person as he/she is vs what she wants to see. Does Asians being good at math, or African Americans being great athletes hurt? It depends on who you ask. Who wants to be pigeonholed, whether it's good or not, based on race or sex or something they have no control over? That, to me, is the effect of a stereotype on our culture.

                                      1. re: chowser

                                        Hi... This is interesting to me. Being half-asian, when I observe certain behaviors such as other asians driving poorly, I am more prone to think "dude, you're making us look bad" as regards the individual(s) whose behavior reinforces the stereotype, rather than thinking "I wish non-asians didn't view 'us' as poor drivers". I tend to then over-compensate and make sure that my own driving is as exemplary as possible. Much in the same way that, due to having long hair, I tend to over-dress and wear blazers and ties, so as to not reinforce the "hippes-don't own-a comb" steretype. These are somewhat benign examples, but my point is, that for me, I don't generally look to society and bemoan 'their' impression of me as a vehicularly inept flower-child. I take note of the stereotype(s) to which I may be suseptible, and then choose to let my own example break those preconceptions in wont of breaking, when I can...

                                        1. re: chowser

                                          But we're not talking about applying stereotypes to individuals here -- we're talking about how the *phenomenon* of stereotypes influences our culture and becomes the basis for shared cultural references that exist independently of how the stereotype is applied to individuals, as in the example I noted above.

                                          1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                            Whether we're talking about applying it to individuals or not, people do and that's the harmful part of stereotypes. Look at silence9 who has said he(she?) allows stereotypes to change personal behavior--I think it's fairly common. Annoying or harmful or not, I'd say stereotypes aren't helpful. I think we've moved on from that stereotype of Asians as buck toothed, heavily accented ignoramuses of Breakfast at Tiffany's and American men as only plain meat heavy guys and I think it's a good thing.

                                          2. re: chowser

                                            If a stereotype is true (that is to say, there is a correlation between group X and effect Y that is greater than the rest of the population ... as opposed to saying "all X are Y"), and one realizes that it doesn't mean "all X are Y", is it still wrong for a person to hold said stereotype?

                                            If you say that one shouldn't even go this far, you're claiming that you treat every person as a fully blank slate, and that's just ridiculous. I've met people who say that's what they do, but it's an absurd statement. Like it or not, we're constantly binning everyone that we encounter. The difference is in how easily/quickly those people can move to other bins from their actions as opposed to staying firmly put due to preconceived notions based on stereotypes & the like.

                                            1. re: jgg13

                                              I'd try to keep an open mind but that doesn't mean it's always the case. But, I try. If I'm invited to dinner to someone who's Asian, I don't assume I'll be served rice and I rarely serve rice. I'm never surprised to see a woman heat up a grill nor a man order a salad. If you think that's being ridiculous, then many people are ridiculous.

                                              1. re: chowser

                                                None of those were really what I had in mind (and I want to be mindful of the mod's push back towards food topics so I won't get into it beyond that), but my main point was that (assuming these sorts of minor issues were what I was talking about) it isn't necessarily a bad thing if you did make those assumptions as long as you were perfectly willing to accept that you were wrong and not view it as a big deal once shown wrong.

                                                1. re: jgg13

                                                  As examples of stereotypes gone wrong in restaurants, there have been examples here where the server assumes guy is the one ordering meat or paying, the woman the one getting the dainty salad and that's where I started it off at the top. Make an assumption on your head if you must but don't play it out. In a business meal, especially, it can be offensive to assume the boss, or one in charge, is the white male, even if the person accepts he/she was wrong.

                                          3. re: Ruth Lafler

                                            to relate this to another ongoing thread - yes that stereotype does hurt - it's the very stereotype that keeps non-chinese from seeing everything in a chinatown restaurant.

                                            1. re: thew

                                              Still, in the greater scheme of things, more annoying than harmful.

                                              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                stereotyping is what brains do. we create generalities from specific instances. the problem is when the stereotype overshadows the reality.

                                                1. re: thew

                                                  Hey folks, just leaving a reminder that replies need to remain food focused - Thanks!

                                2. re: redfish62

                                  Okay responding to my own post here. I knew there would be negative reactions to my post but I was just being honest ... nobody knows who anybody is here so why not be honest?

                                  I want to respond to the "stereotype" thing. Yes, stereotypes can be terrible, for example Amos and Andy. That is a vapid, baseless, hurtful stereotype.

                                  But stereotypes can also be very accurate in a "more likely than not" sense. I'm not saying that every man in the world will choose the 14 ounce steak over the 8 ounce steak if dining with other people, I'm saying that more often than not the man will go for the bigger steak ... that is why steak houses even offer such big steaks ... it appeals to male vanity. They sure as hell aren't appealing to the women with the 48 ounce steak.

                                  Also not every guy will eat ridiculous crap that they should know better than to eat ... I sure as hell don't ... but when I was 25, I did. And I still eat fruits and vegetables without washing them, how stupid is that? But I do it anyway.

                                  Given the original question, I thought I would respond in a manner that is helpful towards answering the question ... of course not every male is going to respond in stereotypical male fashion with respect to food choices/practices, nor will every woman, but enough of us do that it is relevant to the question.

                                  1. re: redfish62

                                    Well, if it's a light-hearted speech your giving, then anecdotal 'evidence' should suffice, no?

                                    Female here, loves steak, thinks anything beyond 10 oz. is unnecessary, anything beyond 16 oz. ridiculous.

                                    1. re: linguafood

                                      When having steak, knowing I have left-overs is key to my dining experience. I want the appetizer, I want the bread, salad and sides. I want to take at least half of that steak home (you can keep dessert).
                                      You can't do that with assembled dishes that are best eaten freshly prepared, but as far as good meat goes, I will drag that experience out as long as possible.

                                      I have found it amusing that so many people on this thread are denying their belonging to the dining stereotype associated with their gender. One would scarcely think there was any basis for those stereotypes at all. I'm another woman who can out-eat most people and is not ashamed to do so and eats street food in 3rd world countries. I am beginning to wonder if these stereotypes have their roots in date behavior??

                                      1. re: weewah

                                        When I was single, though I mightily enjoyed a nice spinach salad and warm bacon dressing, I'd too often found that wilted spinach would adhere to my front teeth and my female dining companion usually said nothing, leaving me to discover my green grin belatedly at home. Same with creamed spinach... Being married means having someone to unabashedly tell you your teeth are green, and someone to mercifully scratch that itchy siberia between the shoulder blades just beyond reach :-)

                                        1. re: weewah

                                          I obviously can't speak for others here, but I'm not particularly fond of leftovers; particularly reheating a previously perfectly cooked steak.

                                          So I'd rather just have a "normal" size rib-eye and eat it in one sitting at the restaurant without feeling like crap afterwards (which anything beyond 10, ok, perhaps 12 oz. inevitably would do).

                                          As for date behavior, all I can say is that when my man, who I had been dating for a little over a month, cooked for me for the first time (spaghetti with meat sauce, excellent, btw), I went for seconds, and a smaller third helping.

                                          1. re: linguafood

                                            I'm trying to think of any meats/proteins that taste good on reheating. Possibly meatloaf at best. I don't care for room temperature meats like fried chicken, normally.

                                            1. re: chowser

                                              Chowser: so many Indian dishes taste better the next day, after the flavours have had a chance to blend better, especially the "wet" or gravied/saucy dishes.
                                              Protein dishes included - daals, meats, etc.
                                              So, these dishes stand up to reheating extremely well.

                                              1. re: chowser

                                                Almost all stews or simmered soups taste better the next day.

                                                1. re: chowser

                                                  True Rasam and huiray. I should have been more clear and said one that stands alone like a steak or piece of fish.

                                        2. re: redfish62

                                          Maybe 'fussiness" is why a woman's life expectancy is longer than a man's.

                                          1. re: redfish62

                                            I thought that egg white omelet bit in the Bourne movie was irony.

                                          2. It might help if you mention if this speech is meant in jest or actually a serious topic of discussion?

                                            18 Replies
                                            1. re: yfunk3

                                              I wondered the same thing. Frankly, I can't imagine any serious, scholarly presentation could be so fundamentally grounded upon stereotypes and generalizations. The notion that there is a "male" way to eat and a "female" way to eat certainly seems to belong to a distant time. Maybe you should turn the topic on its head??

                                              1. re: MGZ

                                                Not to mention what culture is the OP talking about? If it's serious, OP might want to start with a search on JSTOR or WorldCat to try to locate some serious scholarly articles or books about this topic.

                                                1. re: MGZ

                                                  You really think that stereotypes dictating how men and women should eat are a thing of the past?

                                                  I don't. They seem alive and well. Maybe as much so now as ever. And many people feel compelled to live up to those stereotypes. Some seem to be posting in this thread.

                                                  As to whether men and women actually have any innate differences to their preference of foods - I have no idea. I suspect that most of the stereotypical differences between men and women with respect to food are just that - people living up to what they think is expected of them, attractive in them. But that doesn't mean there's no innate trends or difference at all.

                                                  1. re: cowboyardee

                                                    I don't deny that cliches happen - I mean, you still occasionally see the really fat guy getting a double desert after dinner. Nevertheless, I cannot remember, in my adult life, being subjected to social expectations about what I should eat. Perhaps, like other stereotypes, some people ignorantly cling to such ideas, but I certainly believe the heyday of such silliness has passed.

                                                    1. re: MGZ

                                                      Take a look at food advertisements and/or articles in a women's magazine. And then those in a men's mag. The social expectations and norms I mention are rarely explicit. But beyond a doubt, they exist.

                                                      1. re: cowboyardee

                                                        Don't confuse the marketing with the product being hawked. Sticking a bottle between breasts may be the way to get a guy to buy the beer, but he's still buying a LIGHT beer. The acceptance of that foul product alone is quite a change to the stereotypes.

                                                        As to articles, even Playboy will do spots on healthy eating, etc.

                                                        1. re: MGZ

                                                          Of course marketing and trends have changed - change is constant. It's definitely gotten more accepted that a man would be interested in 'lite' or diet food and drink. But just as that's happened, there are dozens of new products marketed exclusively towards men or women. Seems to me, just as many as I can remember there ever being.

                                                          I don't think I'm confusing anything. Different foods are marketed towards men and women. That is both the cause of and the result of lingering (and sometimes evolving or emerging) gender stereotypes with respect to food. If you don't see that, I guess we can agree to disagree. But one of us is empirically wrong. Find me an ad for Activia in a men's mag.

                                                          1. re: cowboyardee

                                                            Cool. Now I've got something besides porn to check out at the newsstand.

                                                            1. re: MGZ

                                                              Sorry for not clarifying, everyone.
                                                              This isnt an academic talk.. its more anecdotal, and a critical look at how SOCIETY sets up expectations for men to eat a certain way.
                                                              Advertisement is a great exampel of this. Special K and yogurt is always targeted to women... "Hungry man 1 LB microwave meals" are always targeted to men.

                                                              1. re: hungryabbey

                                                                Have you heard of the book by Carol Adams "The Sexual Politics of Meat", which is a feminist take on how patriarchy is related to 1) meat production and consumption (e.g. manly men eat meat, if they don't society thinks they are not manly, etc.), and 2) inequality of women.

                                                                You can find an abstract and reviews on Amazon, and then try your local library.....

                                                                1. re: hungryabbey

                                                                  I understand and I think some people are missing the point. The point isn't that men and women actually eat a certain way, it's that there is a perceived difference (i.e. stereotypes and cliches) between the way men eat and the way women eat that is rooted in more generalized stereotypes of men and women.

                                                                  Not only is advertising based on these stereotypes, but it can also reflect them in reverse: a good example is the beef commercial that shows two guys sitting in a restaurant noting with surprise at all the other customers are women (including a pregnant woman) eating beef. This was part of a larger campaign aimed at trying to get women and especially girls to eat more beef, probably because the biggest growing demographic of vegetarians is teenage girls.

                                                                  Take a look at the treatment of gender in these two ads. Both ads are aimed at women, but in the first ad from 1992, the approach is very traditional, appealing to the woman not as the beef consumer herself, but in her role as a homemaker cooking for her family (notice that she doesn't speak and only appears briefly, in profile, putting beef on the table for her husband and family (including three boys) and not for herself).


                                                                  Or this ad -- again, women are portrayed as preparing and serving beef (including the really hateful stereotype of the woman who is saved from the humiliation of failing as a homemaker by using the advertised product) while men are shown as being the consumers of beef:


                                                                  This ad, however, from 2000, is using highly gendered symbols (wedding, mother/daughter, bridesmaids in pink) but showing young women choosing beef for themselves: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2JMfZW...

                                                        2. re: MGZ

                                                          Well, just the other day there was a bit about a study done on how chimps treat sticks - the premise being that the female chimps were more likely to use them as dolls and the male chimps were more likely to use them to beat each other up. The point? To see if that sort of thing is socialization (as we've been taught for quite some time) or instinctual. (FWIW, there are some serious issues w/ that study, but you get the point).

                                                          It's possible that this is the same thing - if indeed there are masculine & feminine eating patterns, it is possible that it is *not* simply a matter of socialization (although I tend to think that it is)

                                                          1. re: jgg13

                                                            Its absolutely possible, and always hard to separate nature and nurture. But I think its best to just speak to the social aspects for my purposes.

                                                            1. re: hungryabbey

                                                              That was my point. As much as we're taught that XYZ is socialization, it's a matter that is becoming increasingly muddier as we move towards the $1 genome, next gen sequencing, etc.

                                                      2. I wonder - perhaps asking chowhounders about this may provide "interesting" responses? It seems to me that there are a lot of adventurous women here on Chowhound who like food very much...I wonder if the same applies to the "general population". :-) :-) :-)

                                                        [Redfish 62 appears to be the only clearly male responder above to the OP's question so far...] :-)

                                                        1. Anyone who has ever been to a serious steakhouse (Peter Luger) knows that it's spewing with testosterone. There is something about a big juicy steak that screams "MAN!" I've been there with the boys and been there with the girls and you are immediately treated differently. I am not one of those guys who orders for their dates, but when I'm in a steakhouse I always take charge of the situation (of course I ask my company first what they want). I find that if you sit back and let a woman peruse the menu at certain places your service immediately goes downhill. If you let the waiter know you're not an amateur, the service gets kicked up a notch.

                                                          As far as particular foods, of course there is the quiche joke from the book written in the 80's. I also find it ironic that there is that old saying "a woman's place is in the kitchen," yet most chefs are male. I'm 40 and most of my male friends are the cooks in their homes, so the stereotype is flawed. Plus, I know quite a few women who think a man that can make them a meal is damn sexy!

                                                          25 Replies
                                                          1. re: jhopp217

                                                            "I find that if you sit back and let a woman peruse the menu at certain places your service immediately goes downhill"


                                                            1. re: Harters

                                                              I'm talking about steakhouses, not restaurants in general. and that is not my feeling about women, it's my experience in high end steakhouses

                                                              1. re: jhopp217

                                                                I've spent plenty of time in high-end steakhouses in the NY area and others with women and men and I have never observed this.

                                                            2. re: jhopp217

                                                              Sounds like you're dating the wrong kind of women. Go for the adventurous, devil may care type who drink red wine and you won't have that problem. Or, if you tend to go for dainty women who can't decide in a steak house, find a more appropriate venue.

                                                              I've never had that problem in high end steak houses and waiters have always been as attentive to me as to my husband.

                                                              1. re: chowser

                                                                I think my comments were taken the wrong way. It is not a reflection on any particular type of woman. Peter Luger, Smith & Wollensky's, Bobby Van's, etc seem to be places where men go after work for steaks and drinks. They are not date places. Thus, women are somewhat treated differently. Places like Morton's are different where everyone kisses butt regardless.

                                                                1. re: jhopp217

                                                                  I agree with the notion that there are places still catering to the stereotypes, catering to the past - it's part of the schtick. Like your other examples, and as I noted above, it all dates to a different time.

                                                                  1. re: MGZ

                                                                    You are definitely right. A lot of NYC steakhouses like to give that "old-time" vibe

                                                                    1. re: jhopp217

                                                                      I've never been treated that way, nor has any party I've been in, maybe because I have a bigger pair than most of the men in there.

                                                                        1. re: Harters

                                                                          +1 or maybe that should be +10! Thank you. I needed that!

                                                                  2. re: jhopp217

                                                                    Well, women still make less than men. Women have fewer management level jobs than men. Many of these steathouses are heavy on the expense account circuit. It would be odd if they weren't more populated by men.

                                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                                      I know where I'm not going to use my corporate card anymore. Or maybe its because I use my corporate card, I don't ever have this problem.

                                                                      1. re: funniduck

                                                                        I never have such problems either. The "good ole boy" haunts will change as the society does.

                                                                      2. re: c oliver

                                                                        I'm not sure that's true any more, c. My wife is one of about 5 female VP's, in one of the largest home health companies, and the COO is a woman. There is only 1 male VP. My wife makes more than 3 times what I ever made which is why she's reluctant to retire.

                                                                        1. re: mucho gordo

                                                                          Sadly yes the glass ceiling for women still exists. Google it and you'll find hundreds of articles on it. The home health care industry is a predominantly a female based industry and it would piss me off if women weren't in charge! You (and her) should be proud of her accomplishments!

                                                                          1. re: mucho gordo

                                                                            As of April of this year, it was still true. Of course, there are exceptions.


                                                                    2. re: jhopp217

                                                                      I'm not sure what's worse: you offering to take charge at a high-end steakhouse, or your company agreeing to it. It might be the latter.

                                                                      1. re: jhopp217

                                                                        Unless the woman is an Argentine. A female friend of mine from that country is the most carnivorous person I know (even more than men I know from the Southern Cone countries).

                                                                        1. re: jhopp217

                                                                          Dear lord, I don't think I've ever been to a "high-end" restaurant, and I'm aware of archaic custom of males relaying females' orders to servers, but I had no idea we weren't even supposed to look at the menu.
                                                                          But (I digress, I know) I often wonder why businesses and advertisers seem to not want female money.

                                                                          1. re: jhopp217

                                                                            What do you mean by taking "charge of the situation?"

                                                                            I am well aware that there are places where boys and girls are treated differently, but
                                                                            I'm not even sure if your perception of service going down at PL isn't related to your concern about whether the waiter thinks you look some particular way. And that you sound like the server's opinion of your behavior is significantly more important to you than your date's opinion.

                                                                            If we went out to a "serious steakhouse" and you didn't give me a chance to read (peruse? really?) the menu, even if you asked me what I want, it would probably be our last date.

                                                                            1. re: chicgail

                                                                              Hah, no kidding. And if the staff didn't want me to read the menu either, it would be my last appearance at the restaurant. What's next - concerts where I'm not supposed to hear the songs? :)

                                                                              1. re: occula

                                                                                Please don't blame it on the restaurants! If a DATE had EVER attempted such a thing with me (and remember my age) the last he'd have seen of me was my backside walking out the door. Sheesh.

                                                                              2. re: chicgail

                                                                                What's wrong with the word 'peruse'?

                                                                                Don't you peruse a menu yourself? Or do you merely glance at them?

                                                                            2. Driving a Porsche while munching on olive loaf would qualify.

                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                              1. re: beevod

                                                                                What about a Ford F-150 while jawing on some beef jerky? In my family, everyone who doesn't drive a stick gets picked on, boys and girls alike. When we bought our automatic Camry, I started getting shifty eyes from my brother.

                                                                                1. re: Cachetes

                                                                                  Yes. When I drove a semi cross country, I lived pretty much on various jerkies (fondly do I recall an especially savory pork jerky available only in the Oklahoma area) Diet Pepsi and cigars. I absolutely radiated healh.

                                                                              2. three points that may or may not be y-chromosome dependent:

                                                                                1) I don't understand the appeal of artichoke hearts at all. My wife loves them. I have no idea why. It's like a dog-whistle note I can't hear.

                                                                                2) My wife is suspicious of food in the fridge that's more than 5 days old. If it passes a sniff test, it's still fair game to me.

                                                                                3) Lasagna, enchiladas, beef lo mein--or any other dinner-ish food is fine for my breakfast--and it's probably terrific cold, too.

                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: funniduck

                                                                                    +1. Just ask jfood about three day old food in the fridge.

                                                                                    1. re: hungryabbey

                                                                                      Yeah, but ha, I feel the same way he does and I'm a she!

                                                                                    2. re: Dave Westerberg

                                                                                      Lol, 5 days is WAY too old for me in most cases.

                                                                                    3. It might be a stereotype (is the the subject a little stereotypical?) but BBQ is a masculine cooking/eating activity. I'm talking about ribs, brisket, whole-hog, etc.

                                                                                      8 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: John E.

                                                                                          You beat me to it! Also the whole backyard grilling (and BBQ-ing) shebang. :-)

                                                                                          1. re: huiray

                                                                                            I recognize this.. but why? is it because it brings men back to their evolutionary instinct to create fire and burn.. things...?

                                                                                          2. re: John E.

                                                                                            In the South, I would say that's correct as to the cooking, especially as regards restaurants, but not when it comes to eating. Everyone here eats barbecue; barbecue places are family restaurants.

                                                                                            Last year I made fifteen pounds or so of barbecue for an office potluck at an office that is easily ninety percent women. It was all eaten.

                                                                                            1. re: John E.

                                                                                              I taught my husband everything he knows about grilling.

                                                                                                1. re: mtngirlnv

                                                                                                  So which of you two taught him first? :-)

                                                                                                  1. re: mcf

                                                                                                    I started teaching Bob in 1986. Since then it's been a cool journey of each of us suggesting other tweaks. We're pretty darn good at it.

                                                                                            2. My guy eats a lot of salads, on his own. He is also a sweets snacker, where I am not. He doesn't fit the social stereotypes of eating big burly meals. he eats very little all day and then has a normal portioned dinner at night, always with a salad, and then after a little something sweet. he may rinse and repeat again (sister calls that dinner part 2), but he doesn't go for big steaks and baked potatoes. he'll eat anything as long as it tastes good to him. I think that is exactly what makes a man - he does not feel pressured to do anything that does not please him just because it's what others think he should.

                                                                                              1. Hello... How about food temperature preferences? I tend to dig into a frozen piece of leftover pie immediately out of the freezer (whether or not the fork will easily penetrate it's exterior, as my teeth/choppers are infinitely more motivated to cleave the foodstuff tundra based on my hungry-hungry proclivities), whereas my wife will either allow that leftover slice of pie to thaw of its own accord or place it in the microwave or oven to her preferred consistency and temp. As well, if I reheat a bowl of stew or chili from the fridge for myself and it is not piping hot the first time around, I'll tend to just tuck in to the bowl of chow anyway - whereas my wife will not enjoy a reheated bowl of said stew/soup/chili unless it reaches a molton state of perfection. And lastly, I'll just ignite a lovely puffy marshmallow on a fork over the gas burner and happily let it immolate itself to char, whilst my wife has definite notions of how much of a suntan her marshmallow should receive before it is ready for the 'smores-spa treatment. I don't think its particularly a matter of patience versus impatience either, as I tend to be the one who can wait things out in traffic, in store lines, etc.. I might guess that women may be more prone to definite ideas about ideal food temperatures than men, based on my own experiences; I said I _might_ guess, but as I don't want a public whompin' on ye ol' Chowhound (today at least), I won't offer up that guesstimate...

                                                                                                13 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: silence9

                                                                                                  Totally true. My boyfriend just opens the fridge and eats cold soup/curry/rice/pasta/whatever all the time, and, while I am an extremely un-feminine eater, I simply cannot imagine putting something so cold and slimy down my throat. Makes me shiver, and not from the cold!

                                                                                                  1. re: HJSoulma

                                                                                                    But I, a woman, do that and Bob, my husband, doesn't.

                                                                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                      Same here. I'll pull out leftovers in the morning and eat cold curry and rice, no problem. If my husband can summon the courage to even eat leftovers, it must be fully re-heated. And even then, he won't eat anything much over a day old.

                                                                                                      *Next weird generalization please*

                                                                                                      1. re: LaPomme

                                                                                                        I love that, too, especially using my fingers, directly out of the container.;-)

                                                                                                        1. re: LaPomme

                                                                                                          As it had not been previously addressed in the thread, I didn't think the issue of food temperature preferences was that weird. It's not like I suggested one gender was more prone to cannibalism than another. But...

                                                                                                    2. re: silence9

                                                                                                      "frozen piece of leftover pie immediately out of the freezer"

                                                                                                      huh? you lost me. that doesn't make any sense at all. . .

                                                                                                      1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                        Wherein is the confusion, Soupkitten? When we have pie leftovers, we store the remaining slices in the freezer where they, well, freeze solid. I like pie, even when it is frozen solid, and instead of waiting for it to thaw or reheating a frozen slice, I will simply gnaw on it like a frozen pie treat, not dissimilar to an ice cream cake, I suppose. Or like a popsicle, if you will, except instead of being made of frozen fruit juice, the 'pie-sickle' is made of frozen crust and frozen pie filling. The heat of my teeth and lips is warmer than a plain ol' fork, and eventually my gnawing pays off and a hunk of pie will chip away from the slice and I will crush it with my back molars and swallow it. I eat frozen pie, simple as that; my wife does not. Clearer?

                                                                                                        1. re: silence9

                                                                                                          nope, more opaque. ime the only pies that are frozen are supermarket from-frozen pielike constructions. there really isn't such a thing as "leftover pie"-- at least for very long. you make a pie and you eat it in the next few days, see the long thread on pie for breakfast ;-P

                                                                                                          1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                            Finding good blueberry pie year-round can be a challenge; same goes with butterscotch pie. I pop a couple of pieces into the freezer and forget about them for a couple of months. Then when God tells me so, I take 'em out and celebrate the prison of corporeal physical existence with a nice hunk of frozen pie. It's a Gnostic thing. Pax tecum...

                                                                                                            1. re: silence9

                                                                                                              A lot of baked goods are better frozen. I could see frozen pie.

                                                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                I froze cookies to reduce temptation only to find they taste better frozen.

                                                                                                                1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                  Been there, done that. First experience of that was with those OJO coconut cookies from Taiwan. They seem to disappear in your mouth when inhaled (I mean eaten) frozen.

                                                                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                    Oh...another new cookie to try frozen. Thanks (I think...).

                                                                                                    3. I think the only stereotypical male v. female thing I've come across is men guarding their plates. You know who I'm talking about — the ones laying their arms all around the plate, hunched over, often shoveling. I used to regard this as a male peculiarity (other females in my life not engaging in this practice) but then I met my husband's extended family. I think the men learned it from the women :0 They're all good western PA/Ohio/Germanic stock ... I really should start tabulating data.

                                                                                                      As for food, my husband is more likely to order a fruity drink or fussy dessert. He also orders steak, mans the grill for me (mainly because its downstairs/outside), does all of the laundry, vacuums, and asks me to fix the leaky toilet or cut a board. He will eat anything I put in front of him, even if it contains ingredients he doesn't care for (sometimes unavoidable with a CSA share).

                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                          He would fall over laughing if I applied that description to him!

                                                                                                      1. How about the stereotype of men eating meat as a holdover of some kind of proof that a man was a good hunter and could provide for his family? And perhaps a lack of hormones driving men to eat chocolate, as supposedly happens with women?

                                                                                                        Also, I have the prejudice in my head that men will want to eat whatever their mother prepared for the rest of their lives, while women are more adventurous in their food choices. Though women, as traditional caretakers, will be more careful about whether a food is "safe" or not; e.g. sniff test mentioned above.

                                                                                                        All stereotypes and generalities, I know.

                                                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: guilty

                                                                                                          This is a good point. I hadnt thought about the idea of men eating what their mothers raised them on. But I think its true.. really, the woman is the culinary gatekeeper (stereotypically) and thus, has a longer time period over which to experiment with food... men are just fed, they dont have (or want) the opportunity to explore.
                                                                                                          Again- stereotypes!

                                                                                                          1. re: hungryabbey

                                                                                                            I think this might be a more generational thing. Now with food networks, college cafeteria's wide diversity of cuisines and more exposure to healthy foods and ethnic cuisine in most places, it's not the case for baby boomers or a little younger.

                                                                                                            1. re: spinachandchocolate

                                                                                                              I agree, I think it's more of a generational thing than a gender thing.

                                                                                                              Most of the guys I know enjoy cooking, and the majority of them are single active duty, or vets who were born in the 70's and 80's, and there's no shortage of testosterone.

                                                                                                              I've seen my boys nearly come to blows over the best way to cook a chicken (clay pot, dutch oven, or foil tent, ad nauseum).

                                                                                                              1. re: deet13

                                                                                                                Chickens aren't worth fightin' over. Javalinas are: for sausage, and smoking the hams and shoulders.

                                                                                                          2. re: guilty

                                                                                                            I'm a woman, but I inherited my grandfather's "just cut the mold off" sensibility about food. If I drop stuff on the floor I just wash it off and eat it anyway, if the fruit is too old to eat I puree it and make sorbet, if it's "expired" but looks fine I'll eat it anyway (like the two-months-expired yogurt I ate not too long ago), and every guy I know (other than my grandfather) is just like WHAT ARE YOU DOING OH GOD IT'S OLD/DIRTY/GROSS NO STOP. It's partially a gender thing, but I think it's also generational-- we live in a world of (frustratingly) "expendable" food, so lots of people who didn't grow up in leaner times are freaked out by eating "bad" (which is almost always fine) food.

                                                                                                            1. re: HJSoulma

                                                                                                              You HAVE read Sam Fujisaka's "magic house" thread, haven't you? You're a worthy disciple.

                                                                                                          3. Many men I know like the idea of an all-you-can-eat place because, by definition it HAS to be good because of the sheer volume of food they can eat.
                                                                                                            I know NO women who share this view.

                                                                                                            1. I dated a guy once who ate and drank (stereotypically) like a girl. He would order salads at restaurants, get fish with veggies and no starch (he was not on a diet or Atkins) and got girly/fruity cocktails. To be honest, this was a turn-off for some reason. I'm a very healthy eater--and actually eat like this--but I don't want my man to be so concerned about what he puts in his mouth. It's a societal standard that still comes into play.

                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                              1. re: spinachandchocolate

                                                                                                                "Beware of dudes who are weird about food."--SL (A woman I went to college with)

                                                                                                              2. As far as stereotypes go, I have a particular pet peeve. I have pretty macho tastes in alcoholic drinks in general - I like hoppy beers, I know my way around Belgian beers, when it comes to wine I prefer dryer red wine, I love good single malt scotch, and I can drink kaoliang jiu without coughing it back up in shock (just not very much of it at once). I'm definitely not a girly cocktail, fruity drink, wine cooler, white Zinfandel sort of woman. I'm not a heavy drinker, but my husband is definitely a cheaper drunk than I am.

                                                                                                                About once a year or so, however, I get an urge to order something fruity with a cocktail umbrella in it. And every time I do, someone in the group makes a snide remark about girly drinks. Usually the guy drinking Heineken.

                                                                                                                I'm more familiar with the cultural stereotypes regarding women's eating. I think one of the lingering ones is the pressure to not eat too much, to heartily, or too visibly unhealthy. Think of women ordering 'just a salad' because she's on a diet, and then eating half her date's fries as just a taste. Traditionally, women were supposed to be seen as delicate, refined, and definitely not too fond of eating (you don't want your girlfriend/wife to get fat, after all).

                                                                                                                An interesting variant I've seen on this is some guys who want a woman who can tuck into a messy hamburger, fries and milkshake with the guys - no girly eating habits please, but who also pursue the skinny young girls. I'm just happy I've got a husband who likes a wife who likes food, and enjoys the physique that goes with it.

                                                                                                                Then there's are the guys who wouldn't be caught dead in a kitchen doing women's work, but go all gung ho for barbequing (as long as the prep work and cleaning is done by someone else).

                                                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                                                                                                                  Notably, I've seen a turn in which people delight (at least in television and film) at the women who demonstrate a robust appetite. However, said women must be rail thin or the appetite is portrayed as ugly and unappealing...

                                                                                                                  Meanwhile, it sounds like my boozing habits are similar to yours, tastesgood...

                                                                                                                  Hungryabbey, could you say more about this event and what prompted it? It seems that there is not much to be said on the topic that is not anecdotal and inevitably ethnocentric, but that might be all that is sought.

                                                                                                                  1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                                                                                                                    I am a messy, heartily-eating woman, and my boyfriend (thankfully) thinks it's adorable because, and I quote "he likes seeing me happy." I do wonder sometimes, though, if he secretly wants me squishier, because he's always encouraging me to have extra servings of things. Then again, he's also always telling me I should remember to do things like eat lunch (which I always forget to do because I get busy and then suddenly it's too close to dinnertime for lunch), so he might just be worried that I don't eat enough.

                                                                                                                    But yeah, double standards are stupid. I eat like I enjoy food because I enjoy food, and that's the way it is.

                                                                                                                    1. re: HJSoulma

                                                                                                                      Love what you wrote. I'm 63 and hate all that gender crap. So glad to see younger ones throwing out the baby and the bath water.

                                                                                                                    2. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                                                                                                                      I definitely agree on the ladies-with-"macho"-alcohol-tastes front-- I love single malts, including Laphroig, and porters, and my boyfriend doesn't drink at all. This is routinely confusing to servers and strangers; I don't like having to prove that I really do love drinks that bite back just to get a decent mixed drink, for example.

                                                                                                                      Though thankfully, my guy loves that I love food, and loves boxing with me afterwards to ward off the worst of the Christmas cookie fury! I love salads, but I love cheese too...

                                                                                                                      On another note, I still get amused every time they hand my credit card back to my male companion. Seriously, we're young twenty-somethings in the year 2010; surely it's no shock that sometimes, the lady pays the tab!

                                                                                                                    3. I've found most men I've dated don't like veggies. It's sad really. My ex who is dear friend will eat anything with hot sauce on it. But disdains weirder food combos (bacon and chocolae) He loves asian food and loves to cook, but I can't get him to eat eggplant for love or money. I dated a guy who only ate meat, dairy, and starches and sweets. Didn't cook really well. It didn't last. I want a guy who loves to eat everything because when i want to cook for someone it's because I care deeply about them.

                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                      1. re: YAYME

                                                                                                                        Find a guy with a food allergy-- they'll eat anything that isn't the food they're allergic to.

                                                                                                                        (I'm partially kidding, but I went to a college with a lot of guys with food allergies, and I discovered that they tend to be very good eaters-- my boyfriend, who is allergic to dairy, eggs, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts (and maybe arrowroot but it really isn't in anything), who you would expect to be very difficult to find food for, is the easiest person to cook for I have ever met. He will eat ANYTHING that he can eat because there are so many things he can't eat. It's really good for my ego, too, because he even thinks my disasters taste good. XD

                                                                                                                      2. My husband is nowhere near the stereotypical manly eater--he's vegetarian, loves veggies, has a wicked sweet tooth, hates alcohol--and it's one of the reasons I love him. He also dresses well, takes care of himself, and refuses to subscribe to gender stereotypes, either for himself or me. Thank goodness, or I don't think I would have married him.

                                                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: tazia

                                                                                                                          hey, are you married to my husband? :) same descriptions go for him. He challenged gender and ethnic stereotypes by launching our family to become vegetarian :)

                                                                                                                          1. re: tazia

                                                                                                                            My boyfriend, who actually does love meat, does a lot of the same stuff. Whenever I actually manage to convince him to let me know what he wants for dinner (mostly that doesn't happen because he "feels guilty telling me what to do" and I end up cooking whatever I feel like) he picks vegetarian food. He's so cute. n__n He also loves sweets but can't eat a ton of them 'cause he's a very skinny dude, and he isn't afraid of things like... vegan food... and smoothies... and pastries.

                                                                                                                            However, he can't cook at all, so that's, I suppose, "manly." It isn't a refusal to cook, but a bizarre fear of breaking food and a feeling that cooking is strongly akin to being a powerful wizard. I'm okay with that, though, because it means I get copious thanks and praise every single night for cooking. XD

                                                                                                                            1. re: HJSoulma

                                                                                                                              Haha I had to laugh out loud at this one, that 2nd paragraph is my boyfriend to a t. He thinks cooking is a mystical thing. Someday he'll learn otherwise.

                                                                                                                              1. re: HJSoulma

                                                                                                                                It also means you're a powerful wizard, also nothing to sneeze at

                                                                                                                            2. For my first pig roast ( the first of many ) in Westwood, MA, 1974, I shot the pig in the forehead, gutted it, wrapped it in wet burlap and hung it in the basement for 3 days, and burned off most of my body hair roasting it for 9 hours over a contraption I fabricated and welded. It wasn't a gender thing, I simply wanted a good party and had it. But I am guessing that most women would have chosen a different party theme.

                                                                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                You kidding me, my wife would have gone bug-nuts over that. She literally squealed with joy last time we went hunting up in Alabama, and I brought down a wild pig.

                                                                                                                                She loves the idea of the set up, and the cooking, and the gathering for a pig roast. Just as long as I do the field dressing, she loves putting my buddies and I to work doing the rest.

                                                                                                                                Are there gender specific foods, nah. There are just cultural expectations which are gender specific...

                                                                                                                                1. re: deet13

                                                                                                                                  A few lifetimes ago, my 'boyfriend' (that shows you HOW long ago) and I went frog gigging. He gigged 'em and I cut their legs off. Then I wimped out. I'dd heard they'd jump around in the frying pan. So I froze them overnight (figured that would stop the leaping) and we had them the following night.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                    Yeah if they're fresh, and you haven't cut the tendon, they tend to kick around in the pan while they're frying.

                                                                                                                                    We salted and peppered them, dipped them in cornmeal batter, pan-fried em in bacon grease, and tossed a good helping of my grandfathers homemade scotch-bonnet vinegar and pepper sauce on them. Then we added corn to the remains of the batter, and made corn fritters... Ahh the memories, I can almost smell it cooking.

                                                                                                                                    Frog gigging was the first real hunting I did back when I was a kid. My dad, grandfather, and uncles would take my cousins and me night fishing down on Lake Okeechobee.

                                                                                                                                    Once we started to get restless, they'd drop us off on the nearest shoreline with spears, flashlights, and a 5 gallon bucket, and tell us not to come back until we filled the bucket with bullfrogs.

                                                                                                                                    Some nights there were so many frogs, that it looked like a carpet of bullfrogs hopping away from you, as you walked down the shoreline.

                                                                                                                                  2. re: deet13

                                                                                                                                    Oh, me too! I love that kind of thing. I used to go camping with my husband while he hunted elk, moose, deer, wild boar, etc.

                                                                                                                                  3. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                    You're my hero. That's awesome.

                                                                                                                                  4. Oh lord, this just makes me think of the time one of my best friends (who is a gay man, but whom most people assume is straight because he's also a serious geek) and I went to dinner before seeing a friend in a musical-- we were seated at a secluded table with a nice view and candles, and suddenly realized they thought we were on a date-- that is, until the food came and I heartily dug in, generally getting rice all over the place and talking with my mouth full and licking curry off my fingers, and he slowly and methodically ate his food appropriate spoonful by appropriate spoonful. We started getting "crap, we shouldn't have given them the good table" looks after that.

                                                                                                                                    So, okay-- apparently "real men" don't eat carefully, and "real women" eat like dainty flowers.

                                                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: HJSoulma

                                                                                                                                      Talking with your mouth full? Not sure which gender that is appropriate for. I find it totally gross.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                                        Yeah, I'd say all three behaviors listed should be avoided by both genders as much as possible. I'm trying to imagine someone licking their fingers at a secluded candle lit table. Ick.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Raids

                                                                                                                                          The 1960s english film Tom Jones (the roguish figure from the novel, not the modern singer) goes far beyond merely licking one's fingers. Bawdy and gluttonous and wonderful...

                                                                                                                                          1. re: silence9

                                                                                                                                            I was kind of thinking, discreetly done...

                                                                                                                                    2. My husband does like meat dishes probably more than I do, but I doubt it has anything to do with his upbringing or a masculine image - he's Indian, and didn't eat much meat at home growing up. He is the griller person of the household, though, and cooks more of the meat dishes than I do. (I'm not a big meat-eater). But, unlike me, he won't eat offal, whereas I pretty much like it all. He doesn't like quiche, but I think that's because he doesn't really like any egg dishes.

                                                                                                                                      At restaurants (I'm female), I tend to be a hearty eater, though I'm a small person. I'm a runner, and can afford the calories. I have noticed over the last several years that I'm a bigger eater than many women I know - I'll finish my meal, and often they won't. Actually, I usually finish more of my meal than the men I'm eating with, too.

                                                                                                                                      1. I've yet to see a steak house strip joint geared towards women, No Hooters equivalent either, no men in g-strings serving me buffalo wings.

                                                                                                                                        1. There are loads of replies here that extol how women (usually the poster herself) eats heartily, un-fussily and in a way that does not correspond with a female stereotype, whereas their male counterparts or males they know do eat daintily, fussily and otherwise not according to a male stereotype. No doubt they are all reporting their own true experiences, even though some posters seem a little militant and repetitive about the issue. Some describe their "unstereotypical" behavior or preferences while mentioning that other/most women may not do what they do.

                                                                                                                                          I would like to suggest that most things, if not everything, are never 100% true - and in the context of this thread at the very least. There are always exceptions. Just because YOU are the exception to a generalized expectation does not mean that there is nothing to that expectation. In theory, all that is needed is for something to be true 51% of the time for one to be able to say that it is mainly true. I don't know if it is really true that "men eat meat and potatoes and shun vegetables", for example, nor if more than 50% of them really do prefer such a diet irregardless of societal expectations - but I suspect that there is something behind such a notion to give rise to it and similar notions in the first place. "Where there is smoke there is fire". Almost all stereotypes have a kernel of truth behind it, however distorted it may be.

                                                                                                                                          Let the flaming begin.

                                                                                                                                          (BTW I'm male and I like my meat and potatoes but LOVE my veggies, preferably fresh/crunchy/barely cooked. Not that keen on standard salads but like fresh lettuce types etc with good balsamic vinegar & French olive oil - e.g. Alziari or Maussane)

                                                                                                                                          8 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                            What's there to flame about?

                                                                                                                                            I don't think I've ever used balsamic vinegar (and I have a very nice one) in salad. Maybe that's a guy preference :)

                                                                                                                                            1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                              Well, it's difficult to get a decent Balsamic that's not too sweet to be used for dressings, or aged too much that it would be a waste to use it in dressings.

                                                                                                                                              That said, I rarely use Balsamic. Too many other interesting vinegars out there.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                Agreed. CH turned me on to sherry vinegar a couple of years ago and I LOVE it. Then I bought a Meyer lemon olive oil and when I use it I don't use vinegar at all. From that company (small family owned in NoCal), I then ordered a red wine and a champagne vinegar. A Chow-buddy of mine has about 40 vinegars so I feel safe that I haven't overdone it yet :)

                                                                                                                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                  Davero? They have fabulous olive oil and vinegar.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Mattkn

                                                                                                                                                    That's it. Using the Meyer lemon oo on arugula with some shave Parm tonight. Love it.

                                                                                                                                                2. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                  I was reading another thread about balsamic vinegar and I remembered this topic here. What I use for my salads would be good, aged balsamic, Modena or Modena-style for example. 8-10 yrs old at least. So-called "balsamic" from supermarket shelves and the like are usually utter dreck, not to be let near my salad. The quality of the oil used should be very good, no "Colavita" stuff etc.

                                                                                                                                                  I'm not excited by vinegars like chardonnay/other grape/wine-based, sherry, lemon-based, etc vinegars for my salads when used alone with oil - for vinaigrettes they are interesting, but for my taste undistinguished when used alone with salads. Yes, I've actually tried them.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                    I guess I'm confused. I thought a mixture of oil and vinegar is "vinaigrette." I can't remember using just vinegar on a salad but, depending on the salad and the vinegar, doesn't sound all bad. BTW, I buy good oil(s) and vinegar(s). Can't imagine limiting myself to just one.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                      I'm thinking of a separately made emulsified mixture of oil and vinegar and often some mustard when I think of vinaigrette. When I toss my salad with the balsamic, oil, pepper and salt, they don't get that emulsified character of a vinaigrette. The condiments just 'mix in', just enough to coat the greens.

                                                                                                                                                      BTW I don't limit my vinegars to "just one". I am merely saying that i use good balsamic for my salads when I want a simple green salad with vinegar and oil. For any really mixed salads with tons of components in it I would use something else, like a mustard vinaigrette :-) or something else.

                                                                                                                                                      Oh, I'm sure you get really good oils and vinegars, I never doubted that!

                                                                                                                                            2. I can't really tell what the tone of your talk is like, so maybe this is off-base, but I like the idea of covering a few gender-based stereotypes, like Meat and Potatoes Man (who, I agree with the initial poster, does not happily eat curry, sushi, or possibly even artichokes, unless they're in the ubiquitous spinach and artichoke dip) or Grill Guy, who claims to not be able to cook anything while grilling marinated vegetables and a whole chicken. There is also the Anthony Bourdain-like Dude Who Will Eat Absolutely Anything, who is fearless in both his choice of "restaurant," i.e. the street tamale vendor in Mexico, and wants to eat the weirdest thing he can find, e.g. grasshopper, alligator, brains, etc.

                                                                                                                                              I really think the juxtaposition of Meat and Potatoes Man and Dude Who Will Eat Absolutely Anything is interesting, because they are seemingly opposite, and yet reinforce masculine stereotypes. Apparently, guys are allowed to eat foods beyond meat and potatoes as long as they are arguably disgusting and thereby serve to show what a tough guy he is.

                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                              1. re: Raids

                                                                                                                                                LOL. Good analysis! I think I know all of those guys (except you forgot my father: Truly Does Not Cook (Not Even Grill), Only Scrounges Leftovers and Opens Cans Man).

                                                                                                                                              2. there was a time the gender (and ethnic) stereotypes applied more. Perhaps that was before the advent of the 4000 calorie salad, or the 12 calorie slider. yes, i exaggerate (slightly.) Men aren't the only ones going out and chasing meat, and women aren't the only ones staying home tending the chickens and vegetable plot. In fact few do either. we work side by side, we eat side by side. we no longer live in a strongly gender separated world. about a year ago one of the LOL's at church (little old ladies) posted a society clipping she had saved. Mrs. Albert V hosts Mrs. George H and Mrs. William B at her husbands home last thursday after church. one of the kids in the congregation wanted to know why all those ladies had boy's names. And why didn't Mrs. V live with her husband? Why didn't she have the lunch at her own house?

                                                                                                                                                Our food culture has changed along with social customs.

                                                                                                                                                1. I mean, I'm a straight guy, and I get seriously offended when people equate cooking/good food solely with women and homosexual men. Everyone's gotta eat, and it might as well taste good, no? When do things taste the best? When you make them yourself.

                                                                                                                                                  7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: AndrewPF

                                                                                                                                                    I don't think anyone has suggested that Only Scrounges Leftovers and Opens Cans and Meat and Potatoes Man are *positive* stereotypes. Pretty much the opposite, no? That's interesting, actually, that so many of the stereotypes about men and food are really pretty negative and make them out to be picky, gluttonous carnivores. And it is true, I think, that these stereotypes have less of a ring of the familiar about them today than they did 20 years ago. For my part, my Dad cooked all our meals, but he's a food scientist. And isn't the whole molecular gastronomy thing kind of male, by the way? Sure, we can cook, but we have to use an immersion circulator. I have no idea what could possibly be masculine about foam....But, you know, my husband is still that guy who has to be talked out of just ordering the steak at every inventive restaurant I drag him to.

                                                                                                                                                    (Also, although it's off-topic, congrats on your cooking skills because things definitely do not taste best when I make them myself! I mean, I can do better than Applebees, but these professional chefs have me beat, hands down.)

                                                                                                                                                    Lastly, who said anything about homosexual men? Did you just equate homosexual men with women? ;-)

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Raids

                                                                                                                                                      I didn't, but when I mention to many people that I cook, I sometimes get called a "fag" for it.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: AndrewPF

                                                                                                                                                        You need to hang around different people! No one I know would (a) think that, or (b) say that, even if they thought it!

                                                                                                                                                        BTW, I don't think of those stereotypes as being particularly negative, unless coupled with Demanding Sexist Man -- the guy who won't cook for himself but expects the woman in his life to put a hot meal in front of him two or three times a day.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                          I had a female work colleague who was incredulous when I told her I cooked. She actually laughed. It seems that in her circle not a single one of the menfolk cooked. Only the wives cooked. Her own husband both did not and would not cook - in fact, refused to cook. I'm serious, I am not making this up.

                                                                                                                                                          Her sons also had no idea how to cook, it seems, and she was anxious about not being able to cook for them when they went to college. I myself was flabbergasted at her sons' situation, asking if they couldn't even learn how to scramble some eggs. In the event she got them full meal tickets for every meal they would need and anticipated that they would go out for cheap food whenever they got hungry at other times.

                                                                                                                                                        2. re: AndrewPF

                                                                                                                                                          Funny, since the professional chef field is male-dominated!

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: AndrewPF

                                                                                                                                                            I've never heard any straight person use that word out loud in any context, much less in response to learning that the person you're speaking to could cook you some delicious food if they were so inclined.

                                                                                                                                                            So I guess that's yet another lamentable stereotype, albeit one I was unfamiliar with: Guys Who Think Cooking Is, Like, Totally Gay.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Raids

                                                                                                                                                              My guess is that because cooking is not 'rasslin, it's feminine, so some "strong" but actually very weak and insecure men would take issue, just to hide their own insecurities.

                                                                                                                                                          1. Men can stuff their cheeks like squirrels women can drink their wine with their pinky out. Women can order pasta primavera without raising eyebrows, men can order triple cheeseburgers without guilt.

                                                                                                                                                            These are hard truths, not stereotypes.

                                                                                                                                                            My brother calls quiche "Kwitch" K rations for witches. Now THAT is beastly.

                                                                                                                                                            11 Replies
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                                                                                                                                              Quiche has always had a rep as "girl food" Make it with more bacon and less vege and it becomes "Ok" for men to consume - whatever, more quiche for me!

                                                                                                                                                              The stereotypes that surround what is "man food"/woman food are just silly and antiquated. Although I have to say, the guys can keep the "Hungry Man" frozen dinners ;)

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: maplesugar

                                                                                                                                                                I think it was a 70's thing, no? My husband is unaware that he is not supposed to eat quiche - which he loves and stuffs his mouth so full of it that his cheeks puff out like a squirrel's.

                                                                                                                                                                With ya on the Hungryman. I still cannot figure salsbury steak's draw.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                                                                                                                                                  My late MIL who lived to be almost 90 ate alot of Claim Jumper "TV dinners" in her final years. Then would lecture us about the health benefits of blueberries and the like :)

                                                                                                                                                                2. re: maplesugar

                                                                                                                                                                  It's funny to me quiche is considered "dainty" ad girly" considering what's in it: tons of fat/calories, cream, cheese and often bacon/ham/meat.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: spinachandchocolate

                                                                                                                                                                    Most likely it's the French name, which - for *some* people - indicates something effeminate. Silly, of course.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                      I think it is because it is made of eggs.. and eggs is an inherently female food

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: hungryabbey

                                                                                                                                                                          Do you mean because some women HAVE eggs in them? I think that's pretty weak.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                            No. Not exactly.. but in my research, I have read in random food anthropology books/articles that foods are gendered, whether conciously or not, for various reasons. Eggs, are female, MAYBE because of their relation to reproduction, but probably more related to hunter/gatherer arguements (men caught the wild animals, women gathered eggs and veg/fruit). Its just one possible "explanation".

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: hungryabbey

                                                                                                                                                                              But eggs are made of, well, eggs. And who's sitting at the next table eating three of them? Men and women, yes. I don't get that 'research.'

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: hungryabbey


                                                                                                                                                                                A few couples had a similar conversation on the hunter-farmer; male -female concept as it relates to directions a few weeks ago. It was a hoot of a discussion

                                                                                                                                                                                I would love to see the research output you mentioned, if on line, to support a side-bar to the directions theory we laughed about. Any URLs are appreciated.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. A couple years ago I was visiting my brother's family for Christmas, they live near Cincinnati. We took off for Jungle Jim's (fabulously fun food store) with a long shopping list that my SiL had prepared. (They cook together, but she plans the menus.) Right as we got to the store she called his cell phone, and told him "I forgot to put down man meat." He got the list out and wrote it down.

                                                                                                                                                                    I asked "What's man meat?" Turns out she just meant sausage and bacon. I don't know if it's a mid-west expression or something they came up with between themselves, but it made me laugh.


                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: pasuga

                                                                                                                                                                      Great! Perfect expression - if it's midwestern I've never heard it in Iowa.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. My 63 brother-in-law is a retired colonel who used to command a platoon of tanks, then went on to become a financial advisor. He is what I would classify as the "stereotypical guy's guy" when it comes to cooking and eating. He spent the 30+ years of his marriage having the military or his wife cook all his meals for him. When his lovely (and dearly missed) wife passed away from cancer a few years ago, he was very much at a loss in the kitchen. He essentially subsisted on cereal, toast, canned soup and frozen dinners. He asked me to teach him how to make beef stew and chili and other comfort foods that he missed.

                                                                                                                                                                      He regularly refers to "man food" or "real food". When he visits, we make steaks and stews for him, and we would never take him to a "fine dining" restaurant. He's happiest in pubs and bistros where he can order something with a large portion of meat. He laughs at the thought of large plates with tiny portions of food on them.

                                                                                                                                                                      What fascinates me is that his wife was a strong woman who never let him get away with any BS. But they had that relationship where she cooked and he didn't, and he went into the military at 17 and I can only guess that that was an environment that didn't exactly encourage exploration into different types of cuisines. It amazes me that he and my husband are related.

                                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: TorontoJo

                                                                                                                                                                        I'm his age and Bob is 66. We love all sorts of food. Nothing gender based. I do believe that his/one's environment has created the situation. It's not age. I promise :)

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                          it's not age, nor is it what sort of genitals one is sporting, either

                                                                                                                                                                      2. Recently I went to a Vietnamese restaurant with DH and we both ordered pho. He ordered #5 -- tendon, omosa, eye of round, and I ordered #3 -- everything #3 had + brisket. The #3 bowl was slightly larger than #5. When the waiter brought out the bowls, he just placed them in front of us without letting us know what is what. I asked which pho was what. He replied (pointing to the smaller bowl), "That's yours. For a woman. The other bowl is larger. For a man. Yours is #5. His is #3." While I've been the recipient of stereotypes of gender and food in the past (checks being given to the man, the fish dish being given to me while the guy receives the meat, me receiving the menu without prices), this was the first time somebody said it right out in the open.

                                                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                                                                          I have Japanese rice bowls on the same principle.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                                                                            Arghhhhhhh. I know it's important to honor others' cultures but, whew, that would be pushing it for me.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. Great thread! I've had some of the experiences other hounds have described. My bf back in the day loved cottage cheese so once at a Howard Johnson's he ordered the diet plate while my mom and I got burgers and fries. When my bf possessively said that's mine when the server tried to give me the diet plate, my mom said the server's eyes practically fell out of her head. My bf was a big brawny guy.
                                                                                                                                                                            Lately I've noticed gender and food more in the work place. For example I adore my post office, the people who work there are saints, truly. I can't resist giving them cookies every Christmas. The clerks were all male at first and relished my gifts. But one year there happened to be an all female crew. They seemed very surprised when I gave them their tins of cookies, as if I would only want to go to that trouble for the guy clerks. But now they love the cookies too and one of the female clerks even made a rawrrrr kind of sound like she can't wait to dig in when I handed out the treats this year.
                                                                                                                                                                            I was also thinking of an office I worked at where many of the female employees would often bring in baked treats. The guys loved this and dug in. Only one or two would ever think to return the favor. I brought in homemade goodies a lot but would sometimes get the stink eye when I was extra hungry and took say two cookies that someone had placed for all to help themselves to. It was a weird double standard where the thoughtless guys were allowed to eat five or six cookies with aplomb.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. Okay everyone. Thank you so much for your help. Here is the gap I need to fill.. and any thoughts on this would be great.
                                                                                                                                                                              So, I know that perhaps we have experiences where we defy the stereotype.. but WHY do you think there is that stereotype?
                                                                                                                                                                              Why do men feel the pressure, whether in a date situation or "with the guys" to order one of the high calorie items on the menu (wings, fries, burgers, steaks) and ignore the option to swap their fries for a salad? Why is MORE better? (ie. hungryman, baconator etc products that are targetted to men).

                                                                                                                                                                              Again, I KNOW many of you will shoot back at me and say "well Im a man.. and I like salad" etc but thats not the point. The point is, theres an expectation, perhaps a pressure for men to "not diet" or not even think about their healthy or nutrition when theyre in social situations.
                                                                                                                                                                              Any thoughts?

                                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: hungryabbey

                                                                                                                                                                                I think that men's traditional roles as hunters, protectors, and breadwinners suggests that they need the calories for their very active lifestyles. Plus conquering a big plate of heavy food is (I suppose) just as "manly" as conquering anything else.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: guilty

                                                                                                                                                                                  This is a valid point. Thank you.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. "The way to a man's heart is through his stomach."

                                                                                                                                                                                  This holds true for me, but the gender bias does not. It is possibile that I am a better cook than you, but I still like being pampered with my favorites.