There are certain traits a man must dominate in order to feel like, well, a man. A particular set of skills that you must own. Simple, rudimentary – any monkey could perform – tasks, that will transcend you from mere mortal, into a divine example of masculinity. In the eyes of your mate, your current conquest, the mastering of such arcane knowledge will signal you as the proverbial hunter of cavemen years. Oysters are natural aphrodisiacs; chocolates could melt the heart of any ice queen, and love ballads are known to serenade all leggy specimens into the boudoir. But if your aim is higher, if your ambitions are loftier, if you seek nothing less than Spanish fly, then: “Know thyself across a chopping board.”
When you enter a kitchen and see the racks of knives; the burning stove; the fiery maw of the oven; the refrigerator humming like some dormant evil demon; the stacks of potent witchcraft like spices; the gleaming row of mechanical apparatus that seem perfectly at home in a medieval torture chamber, your first reaction ought not be to break out in a cold sweat and make a dash for the exit. You should roll up your sleeves, loosen your tie, put on your best Rambo face and get your cooking apron. Sincerely, you have two choices, invite her over and order in a pizza, or tell her you’ll cook tonight. Have her leaning against a wall, glass of burgundy in her hand, mouth gapped open, marveling at the Jason Bourne-like dexterity you’re displaying with the chef’s knife. As she’s catching flies, juices will be flowing; fires will be stoked; chemical reactions will be reached; things will start a bubbling and frothing… Oh, yeah and also, she’ll be hot as hell.
So, Gordon Ramsay lets’s get you ready for your first class; for your toddler step; for the apotheosis of your sex-appeal.
Since the idea is to hit the sweet-spot, and I’ll stop with the sexual innuendos after this, our first recipe hits three boxes on our checklist: it’s simple, flashy and a dessert.
Tip 1: have all the ingredients ready and sliced. Don’t go running around the kitchen like a Tasmanian Devil, scrounging them up mid-play, tumbling over the labyrinth that is your kitchen… down that isle disaster lies.
– Bananas normally one per person. Cut them up in half an inch slices.
– Half a cup of good rum (any alcohol will do, but the idea is to impress, so, for the love of God, if it comes in a box leave it on the supermarket shelf). I normally use Bacardi or Havanna Club.
– Brown sugar: I’ll allow singing the Rolling Stones song while you’re getting it.
– Ice-cream: your favorite flavor… I take that back, if it’s tutti-frutti, then get chocolate or vanilla.
– Powdered cinnamon.
Tip 2: Only fools use measuring tools. Cooking is about the heart, the spirit; it’s an art. Raw, primal, instinctual. This is a show, a performance piece, the last thing you want to do is dally about with a spoon, looking all perplexed and nervous.
1. Turn the stove on, medium heat. Get your frying pan and lay that puppy on top.
2. Toss the butter in, let it melt. Butter melts fast so be careful it doesn’t burn.
3. Get the bananas and let them join the fiery orgy. Mix them all.
4. Chuck in the brown sugar and this is essential, do it midway through: “Brown sugar how come you taste so good? Brown sugar just like a young girl should,” otherwise all is for naught. Wait a few seconds for the sugar to caramelize.
5. Take the frying pan out of the blaze.
6. Turn the stove on to maximum force; red line it.
7. While holding the frying pan away from the heat, douse the bananas with the rum.
8. Hold your arm straight, get your face out of the frying pan… in other words keep way back and bring the skillet right back onto the stove. Mix and jangle that sucker until the rum catches fire. Boom, look at the flames.
9. Turn around, flash your best “I’m a winner smile… And yes, I know the secrets of the Kama Sutra” – P.S., when you manage to pin down this expression, please send me a picture, cause it’s a toughie to reproduce. Let the fires give you a halo of God-like endowment, the equivalent of the action hero being carried away from the explosion in the climax of the movie. This, my friend, is culinary foreplay.
10. Wait till the flames burn out.
11. Serve on a plate, lob in as much ice-cream as you like. Pinch the cinnamon onto the party.
12. Get a chilled bottle of coffee liquor or some creamy concoction.
13. “Where do you want to take it?” And yes, that last one had a double meaning.
There you have it. Next time, we’ll try something a bit harder, but just as sparkly.