AP/IB English Language/Composition
Naivety In The Kitchen
Daniel Duane, in preparation for a large, potluck style dinner party with his friends, loads five pounds of Oregon’s finest black truffles into his fridge. Later that day, in his wife Liz’s ob-gyn hospital room, the doctors announce that his wife will have to give birth that very day in order to avoid any type of complications from Liz’s potentially fatal preeclampsia. Within the hour, his second daughter, Aubrey was born. Dan realized that he couldn’t leave his wife and newborn child to be a part of the veritable feast of one of the world’s finest delicacies, but upon his wife’s insistence, he eagerly rushed off to his kitchen to prepare his latest masterpiece.
Daniel, like many new husbands and fathers before him, tries to explore new areas of home life to try to improve the family’s standard of living. While other men might venture into the worlds of carpentry, plumbing, or yet other various ways to improve the home, Daniel, in an attempt to appease his pregnant wife, decides to become the cook of the family. Food, for Daniel, has always been a large part of his experience through life. As a young adult, he ate two meals, a vegetarian burrito, and, as he puts it, “A stir fry with way too much soy sauce”. As a freelance novelist hoping to write the Great American Novel, most of his time was spent in the home, cooking.
Throughout the book, Daniel addresses the problems and challenges associated with being a male who cooks for the family, one simply being that since ancient times, women have traditionally been the cooks of the household. Having to face his manly-man dad, who is confused and thinks that his son is going soft, and an ever-present cookbook addiction are both hurdles he must jump through. Nevertheless, Daniel details hundreds of mouthwatering dishes, made with only the finest ingredients, which was enough to make me want a snack whenever I read.
The title and cover design offer some insight to how Daniel thinks of himself as a cook, as the design on the front cover is an ape, staring off with a determined look, wearing a chef’s hat. The design is simple, pleasant, and catches your eye. The full title is: How to Cook Like…