photo by EfrankE

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Resolving the Real Men vs. Quiche Controversy

Back in the early 1980’s, Reader’s Digest published excerpts from a book entitled, Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche. The title / statement / opinion insinuated that no manly-type male would ever eat something soft and gummy, like quiche, when instead he could choose to rip into more rugged table fare, like steak or pork chops. Sadly, publication of the article unleashed far-reaching repercussions on the unsuspecting male public.

The book’s title quickly became a slogan of masculine reaffirmation, which, paradoxically, if not naturally, opened up a whole new set of opportunities for humiliation by one’s male peers.

The year the book came out I was playing on a Kona men’s league softball team. A fielding error often led to being called a “quiche-eater,” the implication being that only a squishy, overly-sensitive man like a Phil Donohue, or an Alan Alda, would have missed such an easy play, or perhaps that the fielder must have forgotten to bring his manhood along that day. The accusation usually developed like something along these lines:

“Aaaah! Quiche-eater!

“Who’re you calling a quiche-eater?”

“You, who else? Only a quiche-eater would miss an easy out like that!”

“Oh, yeah? What makes you the expert?

“I’m the captain, the titular head of the team!”

“You’re a titular head, all right!”

“YOU’RE the titular head.”

“No, YOU are!”

“That’s what I said!”

“Okay, then!”

Eventually, quiche-related criticism would wane and play would resume until the next unforgivable error.

I’m sure you can grasp how formative life lessons like this can leave a man apprehensive about ever being caught eating, let alone making, quiche. However, since my masculine self-identity is feeling quite invincible at the moment, I will unflinchingly confess to both.

Yeah, you heard right, I’m admitting it! I made a quiche as a gift for my wife for Mother’s Day. I was in need of some sort of gesture to show appreciation for the five pups kids she popped out. I knew she liked quiche. The rest of us have learned to eat it. Helpfully, she brought home all of the necessary ingredients from the grocery store so that I wouldn’t have to leave the family kennel compound on a special trip to town.

Flowers and a Hallmark card with supplementary, handwritten, emotive sentiments would have been the easy way out, of course. My gift was a much more creative, personal, and quite possibly more-economical, expression of love and appreciation.

I assume, my well-contemplated gift was blissfully received and will reap handsome dividends, relationship-wise, for the near term. I should probably ask though, just to make sure.

Here’s the recipe source. Incidently, don’t worry if all the bacon pieces fall to the bottom. I found out ex post facto that’s to be expected. Also, you may want to use the fancier French cheese (as far as I know, we’re still back on friendly terms with the French) instead of the thriftier Kraft-brand Swiss cheese that I used. I used heavy whipping cream in place of creme fraiche.

Men, you might want to take a shot at this. The recipe is pretty easy and women seem to savor the results. Importantly, almost nobody uses “quiche-eater” as a derogatory expression anymore. In fact, the term has almost passed from the collective male memory, possibly due to resigned acceptance of the U.S. Department of Defense's “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" policy, or maybe from pressure brought to bear on the media from quiche industry-aligned politicians and interest groups.

Whatever the reason, today it’s become possible for real men and quiche to co-exist peacefully to a degree unimaginable a mere three decades ago.


  1. You're a good and wise man;-)

    On mother's day I got woken up with, "Happy Mother's Day, I want pancakes." Then one of the kids thought I should make a turkey dinner for supper with all the fixin's. My husband didn't make me quiche and therefore won't reap the rewards;-)

  2. As most of us eventually come to understand, your children seemed to have learned early that the stamina required for celebrating major greeting card holidays is procured by starting early with a hearty breakfast, one best prepared by the most experienced cook.

    As an alternative to a turkey dinner, I'd suggest considering one of the many lovely Spam dishes for the main Mother's Day meal, both for its festive novelty and to help avoid holiday-turkey fatigue syndrome.

    Condolences to your husband. There's always next year.

  3. LOL...this post brought back memories of my teen years when my Dad and the other men-folk in our family would take on a look of horror if they were offered quiche. If they were given quiche on their plate, they would take on a look of obvious distaste, then poke at the quiche like they were trying to revive a dead animal and ask, "What's THIS?!!". Needless to say we rarely ate quiche back then but I could never understand why the men thought it was sissy to eat quiche.

  4. Well, Serena, not having been there I can only hazard a guess, but, speaking as a man-folk, myself, I suspect the dead animal probing behavior you describe was a sub-consciously driven instinct triggered by visual cues hinting of similarities between quiche's gelatinous constitution and the more commonly viewed bacteria-bloated road-kill men frequently encounter while driving along highways and byways.

    As for it's feeble food status on the man-o-meter - it's French sounding; men see it as something more appropriately eaten by delicate types who are surrounded by a staff of sycophants, like Louis XIV, than virile, take-charge loners, like John Wayne or Crocodile Dundee.

    Plus, it has to be made in a kitchen. Men's generally preferred foods are cooked outdoors on a grill