He's no egghead

HOW many minutes does it take to boil an egg? No, it's not a strange common sense test for the day, but it is a question which would baffle the majority of Suffolk men.

By Debbie Watson

HOW many minutes does it take to boil an egg? No, it's not a strange common sense test for the day, but it is a question which would baffle the majority of Suffolk men.

Debbie Watson reports.

MODERN man is a bizarre and mysterious species.

He claims to be in touch with his feminine side, he weeps at the football and – even if he can't admit it, he still loves his mum.

He's at home in the beauty section of department stores and in the bathroom he'll spend hours lathering on the lotions and potions in an exaggerated attempt to preen himself.

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But pass him the saucepan and a few raw ingredients ….then modern man reserves the right to shy away!

According to a new survey out this week, it appears as many as one in 10 men don't even know how to boil an egg.

In fact, such is the male discomfort with being in the kitchen at all, that they would much rather change a nappy than have to stand and cook a meal.

It's a curious picture of menfolk, given that Jamie Oliver had seemingly done so much to encourage cookery 'for blokes'.

He and numerous other male chefs have spent the last few years cashing in on cookery through various television programmes – and still it's not persuading the average male to pick up a cookbook.

Apparently they would far rather rely on the convenience of tinned food…or better still, the takeaway!

Ipswich café owner and qualified chef, Avi Kniznik, says he believes there are still plenty of men out there with a passion for cooking – but some would just prefer to take the lazy option.

"Some men are just lazy. Nowadays it's far easier to pull something out of the freezer or order in.

"For that reason both men AND women are doing far less home cooking."

Now the annoy of café Carrot Cake on Ipswish's High Street, Avi trained as a chef in Canada where the majority of his class consisted of male students. He is convinced that the profession proves men do have a talent and an interest in cooking.

"I would say that 90 per cent of chefs are male and most of the celebrity chefs you see on television are men. That shows there are plenty of men who like cooking and want to go into it as a career."

He added: "I'll admit that once upon a time I probably felt quite embarrassed about the fact that I'd gone into cooking and baking as a job because that was the job my mum always did in the kitchen. It was women's work.

"Nowadays I'm really proud of it, and yes, personally I do think more men should cook."

The survey, which questioned 1,000 people, also showed some comical preferences with regards to the things men would rather be doing than cooking.

It found that the average male is 15 times more likely to cleanse, tone and moisurise in the bathroom than follow a basic culinary recipe.

A third of those interviewed would also rather speak to their mother-in-law than have to cook a meal.

Experts claim this completely blows away the myth of Britain's 21st century 'New Man'.

The research, for McCain, also showed that when it comes to cooking the dinner only one in 50 men would follow a recipe, compared with one in 10 women.

Commenting on the research – which was carried out for McCain – lifestyle psychotherapist Christine Webber said: "Don't be fooled by the myth of the New Man.

"He may be getting in touch with his feminine side in the bathroom but when it comes to the kitchen he stills sees his role as the hunter gatherer not the chef."

Weblink:

www.deliaonline.com

According to Suffolk celebrity chef Delia Smith, here are the most important factors in producing a perfect hard-boiled egg:

1. Don't ever boil an egg when it has come straight from the fridge.

2. Always use a timer.

3. If the eggs are less than four days old allow an extra 30 seconds.

4. Always use a small saucepan.

5. Water must only be gently simmering.

Method:

Have a small pan filled with enough simmering water to cover the eggs by about half an inch. Quickly but gently lower the eggs into the water. Switch a timer on and give the eggs exactly one minute's simmering time. Remove the pan from the heat. Put a lid on it and set the simmer to:

-six minutes for a soft fairly liquid yolk

-seven minutes for a firmer more creamy yolk.

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