BOSTON | Single and looking? If you’re a guy who’s willing to do some cooking, Avi Shemtov has you covered.
Admittedly, Shemtov’s initial attempt to feed dudes on the prowl read a bit too much like the strange love child of Rachael Ray and a Craigslist Casual Encounters ad. Which is to say, “30-Minute Meals That Will Get You Laid” just didn’t fly beyond the world of working titles. Plus, Shemtov acknowledges there’s probably only 10 or so dishes in his book that will get the job done.
The rest? An enticing collection of so-very-guy-friendly comfort food designed for the solo fellow willing to put a little effort into what he eats.
Shemtov’s just-released “The Single Guy Cookbook” is a refreshing look at cooking for one. Previous entries in this category have tended to the “man-and-can” style of cooking that relies on a lot of dump-and-heat meals. That’s an approach I find not just a little offensive, but also entirely out of touch with the reality of so many men — young, old, married, single and otherwise — standing tall in the kitchen.
Shemtov, who helms Boston’s popular Chubby Chickpea food truck, doesn’t dumb it down. The recipes — which include everything from waffle-battered chicken tenders to potato gnocchi and kielbasa-based spaghetti carbonara — aren’t difficult, but they are real. And they are scaled for a guy. The open-faced shrimp po’boy, for example, calls for a generous 2 cups of shrimp to produce one serving.
Mind you, Shemtov hasn’t been single for a while. But even married with two kids, he remains the go-to guy among his single friends looking for culinary — and relationship — advice. His No. 1 tip? Guys need to learn to cook for themselves while they are single, and they need to continue cooking even when they aren’t.
“This is a lifestyle,” he said recently over beers and bourbon. “You need to commit to this. Don’t expect your girlfriend or wife to do the cooking if you won her over by doing the cooking.”
As for that original book title? It lives on, but as Chapter Four: Hassle-free Meals That Will Get You Laid.
“The Single Guy Cookbook” by Avi Shemtov (Page Street Publishing, 2015)
J.M. Hirsch is the food editor for The Associated Press. He blogs at https://www.LunchBoxBlues.com and tweets at https://twitter.com/JM_Hirsch . Email him at [email protected]