I have a confession to make, but don't hate me. Baby, I was born this way.
Apparently, I'm a gastrosexual.
Or so says celebrity chef Ted Reader, citing "official" research to back his claim about the rising number of men who are openly channeling their inner Julia Child in the kitchen.
A study by the Future Foundation has found that gender roles have seen a massive shift in the kitchen over the past 20 years, as men are more inclined than ever to cook not only to refuel, but also as a passion.
The study coined the term "gastrosexual" to describe these manly gourmands in a way that shows masculinity and cooking are no longer mutually exclusive.
"Gastrosexuals are the guys who love food and look at cooking as more of a hobby than a chore," says Reader. "It isn't just what they're going to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner; it's an expression of their passion for food."
So who are these dudes? The study characterizes them as males ages 25-44 who are upwardly mobile, aware and passionate about global cuisines, and cook to show their culinary skills.
That would be me, just barely sliding inside that age bracket, though!
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I can't believe this Saturday is World Whisky Day and I'm not the least bit prepared.
How can one celebrate when there are so many unanswered questions swirling around? Like what's the difference between whisky and whiskey?
And does bourbon count?
So I turned to my friends at Maker's Mark - who handcraft their liquid gold at the oldest operating bourbon distillery in the world at Star Hill Farm in Loretto, Ky. - for some spirited insight.
- Whisky or whiskey? Depends on where it's from. The difference in the spelling depends on the style or country of origin. The spelling "whisky" is generally used in Scotland, Wales, Canada and Japan, while "whiskey" is mostly used in Ireland and the United States. (While Maker's Mark is distilled in Kentucky, the Samuels family has Scottish roots - therefore no "e.")
- Whiskey or bourbon? Depends on where it's made. Put simply, all bourbons are whiskey, but not all whiskeys are bourbon. To be classified as a bourbon, by law, the whiskey must have been distilled in the United States. (And we're really talking about Kentucky, which accounts for a whopping 95 percent of the world's bourbon production.) So bourbon is truly 100 percent American made.
- Whisky comes from all over the world. Each type varies by region, distillation, aging and grain mash recipe. For instance, Irish whiskeys are normally distilled three times, while Scottish varieties are distilled twice.
- Whiskey sales are skyrocketing! In the United States, American whiskeys (including Kentucky bourbon and Tennessee whiskey) are at the forefront of this growth, combining for nearly 17 million cases sold in 2012. In fact, American whiskeys accounted for 70 percent of all U.S. spirits exported last year.
Now that all that's out of the way, let's raise a glass to this fun day with a few classic whiskey cocktails.
And speaking of bourbon, check out this week's recipes for Bourbon BBQ Ribs, Bourbon Apple Glazed Chicken Wings and Bourbon Onion Dip.
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A few weeks ago I wrote about the Charleston Convention & Visitors Bureau's efforts to honor local employees, restaurants, businesses and hotels in conjunction with National Tourism Week.
After weeks of the public nominating - and then voting on - their favorites, winners were announced during a reception at the Charleston Civic Center on Monday.
In the food-related categories, congrats are in order for . . .
- Favorite Restaurant - Pies & Pints
- Favorite Specialty Drink - Sangria, Lola's
- Favorite Food Dish - Black Bean Pie, Pies & Pints
- Best Restaurant Employee - Dana Mindrescu, Marriott
- Best Frontline Ambassador - Aaron Clark, Bridge Road Bistro
- 1 1/2 parts bourbon
- 1/2 part sweet vermouth
- 1 tsp. maraschino cherry juice
- 1 maraschino cherry
1. Shake all ingredients together for 30 seconds.
2. Strain into a chilled Manhattan glass and garnish with a maraschino cherry (served up, no ice).
Classic Old Fashioned
- 1 1/2 parts bourbon
- 1/2 part club soda
- 2 orange slices
- 2 maraschino cherries
- 1 tsp. sugar
1. Muddle 1 orange slice, 1 maraschino cherry and the sugar in an Old Fashioned glass. Fill glass 3/4 full of ice.