If there’s one thing a guy can’t stand, it’s a leafy salad made up of far too much lettuce and healthy greens.

You want your salad to be so robust and manly, you could eat it with a fork in one hand and a beer in the other. You want your salad to be football-worthy. You want to turn on your 57 inch plasma display television and sink into your leather Barcalounger with a salad that’ll go the distance. If you’ve been looking for a salad that is so meaty and juicy it would be worthy of being placed alongside one of Borgo’s famous steaks, look no further.

Ingredients

Preparation

First, let’s prepare the ingredients. Have a lot of little serving bowls handy. And keep a garbage can close by so you can get rid of a bunch of that stuff you’re going to discard. Keep it close and keep it open.

I’m a big believer in preparing and assembling all of your ingredients first, putting them in bowls, and then making the salad in a big flourish. Mise en place, as the French say, or possibly the Italians. I don’t know why exactly this is. Perhaps it is because of the mistaken belief that Julia Child would do this. More likely, it’s because this is the way I used to play war with my toy soldiers: I’d get them into their positions behind their strategic fortifications, which would take up 90% of the time, and then, WHAM BAM, the actual war would take only a fraction of the time. I make salads the same way. Preparation is key.

  1. Eggs Boil eggs for about twenty minutes so that they’re hard boiled. Shell them and set them aside.
  2. Cucumber Lop off the two ends with a sharp knife, and skin the cucumbers with a cucumber skinner. I don’t know what the exact cooking term is but you know what I mean. Then cut the cucumber in half. Then, for each half, quarter it the long way, and then cut pieces so that they’re about 1/3 inch thick. Put all your cuke pieces in a bowl
  3. Onion Chop that sucker so fine it makes you cry, then stick the pieces in another bowl.
  4. Celery Take the five or six sticks of celery and lop off the wide white ends into the garbage can. Wash the celery in cold water until you think it’s clean. Then chop the celery into small chunks - the leafy parts too! - and get them into a bowl too.
  5. Tomatoes The tomatoes should be bursting with red goodness. Wash them. You’re going to have to sharpen a knife so that you can slice through them with a minimum of squirting and splatter. Cut them into manageable pieces.

Get your salad dressing, Italian seasoning and bacon bits close by hand, and line them up like soldiers. Got the bowls ready to go, awaiting your order? Excellent. You may proceed when ready, General!

Battle Orders - How to Make the Beast

Pay attention. The order of ingredients is the secret to this salad. You’re going to make the salad in layers so that the ingredients can talk to each other. (I heard that phrase once, and I like it. It makes it sound like there’s a natural, harmonious ecology to the salad, which there is.)

  1. Lettuce Wash the whole head of lettuce under cold water.
  2. Core the lettuce head. Turn it upside down, and then take a sharp skinny knife, and cut the cone of that hard white middle stuff out. If there’s one thing guys can’t stand, it’s that white stuff. Throw the white stuff away. You want your head of lettuce to be as green as possible.
  3. Chop the lettuce in half. Put that other half away into a zip lock bag, put it into the refrigerator and use it in a few days when you’re making your next salad.
  4. Take the half-head of lettuce and Chop it with a sharp meat-cleaver type knife so that there are no big leafy pieces. Every piece should be fork-sized. Men hate those big newspaper-sized leaves of green.
  5. Italian seasoning Lightly garnish the lettuce with Italian seasoning
  6. Croutons Put two handsful of croutons on top of the lettuce
  7. Cukes Spread half the cuke pieces on top
  8. Bacon bits Spread bacon bits across the top to taste
  9. Tomatoes Spread half the tomato pieces on top
  10. Eggs Chop up the eggs and spread half on top
  11. Salad dressing Very lightly dribble a bit of salad dressing over everything you’ve got so far.
  12. Onions Spread half the onion pieces on top
  13. Celery Spread half the celery across the tops

How to Eat It

  1. Turn on the football game
  2. Get that damned cat out of your chair with a cattle prod. This is your time.
  3. Get the remote control and put it by the side of your chair.
  4. Get a few brewskis and your favorite bottle of salad dressing out of the fridge and line them up next to the remote control. Once you get in that chair, you will be a completely self contained entity who will not need to move until halftime, or possibly the entire game.
  5. You might wish to have a small French baguette for the carbo-boosting necessary to offset the healthiness of the salad.
  6. Bring over the salad. Don’t forget a fork and a napkin. (Napkin optional.)
  7. Sit yourself down.
  8. Smell that salad.
  9. Turn on the television.
  10. Apply salad dressing as necessary.
  11. Watch game
  12. Eat salad.
  13. Thank me later.


Jurph points out: "1) When boiling eggs, transfer the eggs from boiling water to ice water to facilitate peeling. 2) When coring lettuce, it is simplest to whack the lettuce, stem-first, against a counter, so the cross-section of the stem hits the table like a hammer. Now the substandard lettuce has been sheared by impact; grab the core, give a vigorous twist like killing a weasel, and the core will come loose with all of the sub-standard lettuce. The lettuce trick is from my (AHEM) salad days in foodservice, and is a great way to (a) prepare 50 heads of lettuce in five minutes, and (b) practice for playing Splinter Cell."
Lovely Chiisuta chimes in with: "DAMN RIGHT. This is like one of my salads. But without all the salmon and salmon skin I usually put in as well. YUMMERS! Also, Italian is for sissies. Real men - like me - eat ranch."
The equally lovely paraclete gives us this critique: Don't boil the egg for twenty minutes; it results in that nasty crappy black yolk thing that I hate. Ten minute's will be just fine, thank-you. Of course, you're not making the salad for me, and it's not as if I even *like* salad, so you can have crappy black egg yolks if that's what makes a salad a MAN'S salad.
The equally equally lovely mad girls love song asks if romaine lettuce would be an acceptable substitute. As equally equally lovely as she is, I had to be quite forceful about quashing this tendency to substitute ingredients. Fortunately, this did not extinguish her spirit, as her reply was strewn with invectives. unperson ponders the particulars of egg boiling too: Nice node. Though in my experience, it takes no more than 8 minutes to hard boil a "large" egg, not twenty. Have you been preparing this thing at high altitude or something? Also, it would be more manly if fire was involved somehow.
borgo: what the hell is a salad? The only ingredients I recognized were the bacon bits.
borgo makes a mean salad entirely out of meat
Goodyear, JohnnyGoodyear: A cheeseburger is a man's salad and that's the end of it.
allseeingeye: dude, if it's green, it's gone bad.
A fussy but probably quite elegant noder named belgand writes: There is no such thing as a "cucumber peeler" there is, however, the common household "vegetable peeler" a device also commonly used to peel carrots, potatoes, and every sort of vegetable with a skin on it. Napkins are never optional.
Tomatoes and football, however, are always to be omitted. Frankly the most manly salad I've ever seen was a 10 oz. strip steak medium rare, sliced, and served atop a modest bit of lettuce in a bowl.
golFUR Personally, I know there is nothing more fulfilling than eating a meat dish, off of a meat dish, with meat utensils.
AllSeeingEye again: I contend that a real man would not mix foods. Steak is good enough ALONE

I’m sorry to say but any true “man” is probably choking to death on the concoction that the esteemed IWhoSawtheFace has recommended above. Like I mentioned to him in a private message, the only ingredient I recognized was something called bacon bits and even that was stretching it. What’s the matter, don’t got yourself a frying pan girlie boy?

What follows is my tried and true sure to land you in the hospital recipe for a REAL MAN’S salad. It consists entirely of meat and meat by products and a couple of potatoes. I’d also like to mention that REAL MEN don’t qualify chicken or turkey as meat since they only have two legs.

First of all, get yourself a huge slab of beef and cut into strips. (If IWho was writing this, he’d probably say “julienne” it or some shit but us REAL MEN don’t go for them there fancy words). Marinate it in some bourbon for an hour or two. It doesn’t have to be the fancy schmancy kind, the cheapest you can get your hands on will do. After that’s done, pour the juices into a shot glass and knock them back. No sense in letting anything go to waste. Now, get yourself some butter, yeah, that’s right, the real kind and melt it in a frying pan. Get it good and hot but not smoking, drop in the beef and watch as it sizzles away and curls up like it was getting ready to go to bed. Depending on your tastes, you might want to let it go for a few minutes or so but me, being the REAL MAN that I am, usually wait until it just browns and then I quickly remove it before all the carnivorous goodness is reduced to leather. Remove the beef from the pan and set it aside in the largest bowl you can find. Keep the juices that form in the pan.

Next, get your hands on some bacon, about a pound of it. Real bacon, the kind from a goddamn pig and not from a goddamn turkey or from a goddamn package of chemicals. Honest to goodness pure pork bacon. Using the same frying pan cook it up until it just starts turning crispy and remove it from the pan. While it’s still hotter than fucking hell itself, begin crumbling it into bite sized pieces. Why you ask? Because that’s what REAL MEN do for God’s sake! Combine it with the beef. Oh yeah, hold onto the juices and the bacon grease. Don’t ask, you’ll see later.

Now, get yourself one of those pork tenderloins and cut it into chunks (not strips!, too many strips make you look all gay and shit! Wouldn’t want that!). Marinate the chunks in dark beer for a couple of hours and then suck down the juices. Don’t believe that myth about uncooked pork either! The beer should kill any of the little critters that might make their way into your stomach anyway. Remove the pork and plop it into the frying pan. Just to be on the safe side, I usually let this cook for about five or so minutes. Remove it and add it to the beef and the bacon.

Some of you might be wondering if this is just a little too much cholesterol for one person to take but don’t worry, we got potatoes to the rescue! Boil yourself up a batch and leave the skins on for crying out loud. When they get fork tender, cube ‘em up and ‘add em to the mix.

This might be the most important part. Remember the bacon grease and beef drippings I told you to set aside? Well now it’s time to make your dressing. Get yourself a bottle of ketchup (never catsup!) and mix all that shit together. Whatever you do, don’t use a fuckin’ whisk. REAL MEN work with spoons. Pour it over the meat and potato mixture and swirl it around for awhile. If it's too thick, spoon in some generic mayo. You can then either refrigerate for an hour or so or if you like it warm, dig right in. I usually substitute chunks of broken up hamburger buns instead of croutons (what the hell are those anyway?) to soak up the juice. If I don't have any hamburger buns lying around, saltine crackers will do or if I'm really in a pinch, some crumbled up stale potato chips can come to the rescue.

If I’m alone, I usually like to eat this in my underwear while I’m sitting on the couch watching old re-runs of Married With Children with an ice cold Stroh's or ten to wash it down and to keep me company. If I have people over, I like to break out the good stuff like Budweiser.

In closing, I can honestly say that this recipe has served me well over the years despite my three heart attacks, three angioplasties and one quadruple bypass. I blame those on not getting enough exercise or genetics or some other shit.

Bon appetit or whatever the hell it is the French say.

In these trying times where political correctness has pervaded a large portion of the western world, not only must we choose our words with care, but the human male is no longer sure of his position in the food chain nor of how far he dare isolate himself from the constraints of society.

As a collective conformist body of metaphorical-penis-laden homo sapiens, the questions which now keep us all awake at night is no longer how shall I eat, why do I eat or even where shall we go for dinner, but what should I put in my salad? Indeed, if such a salad should really be a Man's salad, well, how do we identify it as such, how do we avoid offending the easily offended and, most importantly, how do we make it? Never fear! For your convenience and at the cost of many sleepness nights, I have studied the conundrum and come up with the answer.

The stereotypical almost non-offensive multi-faith Man's Salad
(Now also for lesbian monkeys and God-like beings)

I shall not go into long elaborations on what Man is (in the current scientific and social context) or how the salad attributed to him is determined within the bounds of this definition. Just trust me. I've thought long and hard on this.

The common error of people seeking instant gratification through the form of recipes is to think that they actually need to be followed. In fact, an even more common error is to want a recipe in the first place. Man does not use recipes. What Man does is inform himself (or herself for your progressive type of Man) and then becomes a zen master. Here is a collection of all necessary information for you to become a Zen master salad-making Man.

Ingredients

Let's set things straight. Man does not walk around the supermarket with a list of ingredients in his hand. In fact, he never buys food with the intention of making some specific meal with it. What he does is keep a full stock of good ingredients: a few essentials and an unlimited number of optionals. That is the secret for good food. When realising that he is hungry, he then chooses the type of meal he wishes to enjoy; he has many types at his disposal, including pie, sandwich, meat and two veg, stew and salad. Man's task is then to combine his choice ingredients in a way that is pleasing to the eye and to the palate. This choice is naturally dependant on the current state of his stock.

The two main parts of the salad are the body and the dressing. Man makes his own dressing to suit his taste and adapts it to the composition of the salad. It should be noted that some foodstuffs are essentials but not specifically to salad making, which is why they are not marked as such. Here are a few of the very large number of ingredients Man might consider using:

  • lettuce (essential, preferably iceberg as the purpose of the lettuce is to provide crisp wateryness - depending on other ingredients, other types of lettuce may be preferable)
  • eggs (for dressing or boiled or poached)
  • cheese (for those of you who don't live in Switzerland, Italy or France, you might want to scrap this - gruyère is best, goat's cheese is nice too)
  • chicken
  • apples (all fruit which is crispy and not too sweet will do)
  • nuts (almonds, wallnuts, sunflower seeds, etc.)
  • sardines
  • oil (for dressing as are all subsequent ingredients - good quality oil - essential)
  • vinegar (most kinds - essential, unless mustard is very acid)
  • plain yoghurt
  • herbs (ask Simon and Garfunkel about these - oh and please prounounce the h like Man does!)
  • mustard
  • salt and pepper essential
  • Anything else which is good and part of your Manly stock of goodness. This list could be 5 times as long and still not complete.

Some people, at this point will go on to explain about how less is more and how you don't need all the above. They'd be right. On the other hand, if you feel like eating an ingredient and have it in stock, by all means, put it in. Don't think of healthyness; don't think of saladness; just think good food and Manliness. Concerned that two foods might clash? Well hell, you'll never know until you've tried. Just remember that you're setting out to become a zen master of salad here, not some weasily timid recipe follower.

Preparation

This is the point where Man lets his creative juices rip. He does not conform to any norm. Some days he makes cubes so that all the bits look the same but taste different; other days, he attacks the pile of ingredients with a carving knife. In fact, each day is a new adventure. It's as exhilarating as sitting down to the piano and just improvising - except that it's easier to do.

When seeking to impress, this phase is magical. You can make a multi-layered ecology. You can make a cholesterol bomb. In fact, Man is totally in his element here and will never fail to impress upon Woman (or any other form of lesser-guest-type-being) that he is the bees knees with regard to salad-making.

Dressing

The primitive twentieth century Man had trouble with this concept. I like my salad like my women! he would say. Of course, the New Man of which I speak says exactly the same thing. He knows that the simpleness of the attire is all important in revealing and promoting the goodness below. This is why you must always have plenty of salad dressing making ingredients to hand. When before, you were improvising on the piano, now, you are a fashion designer. A Real Man.

The skill of making salad dressing is one that Man takes many years to acquire. Depending on the ingredients it might want to be runny or creamy, tangy or bland, acid or sour. The Man in training is best advised to follow these steps:

  1. Take one a empty and washed jam jar
  2. Put in some vinegar
  3. Add twice as much oil
  4. Add some yoghurt
  5. Small amount of mustard
  6. Maybe some salt
  7. Screw lid on tight and shake
  8. Remove lid and taste
  9. Add any of above or other ingredients to improve taste
  10. Return to step seven and repeat until satisfied

The Aftermath

Man is concerned with combining the necessity and the pleasure of eating. He then enjoys his salad, possibly in concert with enjoying good company and good music. Therefore, he eats his salad in the way that appeals to him at that moment as a reward for a well-done job of salad-making.

If you seek to emulate Man, remember that you concern yourself with good ingredients, a lack of recipes and other forms of conformity along with the ability to impress your peers (in a modern non-passive-agressive way of course). Now go forth and make a Man's salad!

Since borgo beat me to the punch by a matter of minutes, I had to rethink my response to IWho's tragically incomplete (though yummy!) writeup. Therefore, I give you:

A Man Salad

I may possess two X chromosomes, but I'm married to someone who's very definitely XY. This individual has rather strong feelings about what makes good man food, and it's an ongoing battle for me to get something green into him and thus stave off his tragic death. However, to keep him happy and decrease his tendency to sneak off and eat stuff that's terrible for him, once in a while I throw up my hands in defeat and descend into the darkling world of Man Food.

While this recipe is guaranteed to make any cardiologist cross themselves and shudder, I daresay it's still far healthier than the typical fast food takeout. So, kind readers, please consider this recipe in the light of an informed interpretation, rather than one which sprang directly from the allegorical XY hindbrain.

Any good Man Salad should be all about meat, but among the glaring omissions in the other versions already given, you must never forget the bread and the cheese, so in a sense this is a bread salad, too. Normally I'd probably add in things such as onions and roasted red bell peppers, but there are no vegetables (aside from a touch of garlic) in this dish.

Ingredients and method

1. Set on some good music and fix yourself your favorite cocktail.

2. Before you get started, set aside a good book, a rare cigar, and some Bailey's (or perhaps a vintage port), for later. You might as well open up the bottle now to allow it to breathe, as long as you're standing there mixing up that cocktail.

3. Collect and prepare ingredients:

  • Cut some prime filet of beef into large chunks, about 2 inches (5cm) on a side. Marinate overnight in Worcestershire sauce. Drain well, pat dry, and sear (or broil) over extremely high heat until beautifully browned. Remove from heat onto a place, cover with foil and keep warm...it's important to let the meat rest. Save all drippings.
  • Fry up some thick-sliced rashers of bacon, then crumble into large chunks. Save all drippings.
  • Fry or grill some sausages - bratwurst, kielbasa, chorizo; it's all good. Again, save all drippings. Cut the sausages into large chunks.
  • Cut fresh sourdough bread into similarly large chunks, but keep them no more than about 1/2 inch (1.3 cm) thick. Toast them very lightly in a low oven until there's just the faintest color on them, then pull them out. Rub them lightly with a cut clove of garlic, then spread them on a large cookie sheet. Top these with your favorite melting cheese. Mozzarella does just fine, of course, but you might want to try fontina, Jarlsberg, Kerry Gold, or (for the brave) a Maytag blue cheese or a bold horseradish cheddar. Whatever you decide, just put some cheese on, as a Man Salad should never be without cheese! Put it all under your broiler until the cheese has just started to melt and bubble. Remove and let cool. (If you don't want to go to such trouble, you could always just cube up the cheese and use it that way, then use untoasted, thinly sliced bread as an eating utensil. Up to you.)

4. Put everything into a very large bowl. Be sure to include the drippings from the cooked meats, as they will be taken up by the toasted cheese crisps and add plenty of flavor to the party.

5. At this point, you can add some sauce if you like, though many feel that those lovely meat juices are all that is necessary. If you wish to gild the lily, though, you might add one of the following: vinaigrette, marinara sauce, or your favorite barbecue sauce. The carryover heat from the meat should serve to warm up the sauce.

6. Sprinkle your salad liberally with toppings (listed below).

7. Time to eat! Underwear is optional, of course. Dive in and enjoy! I heartily endorse borgo's suggestion of watching Married with Children if you are not otherwise occupied, but Full Metal Jacket may also suffice. And don't forget the port!

Toppings

Select from the list below to suit your palate. Please don't forget to peel your choices gently, wash them, and pat dry, before topping your salad.

Sean Connery
Patrick Stuart
Harrison Ford
George Clooney
Robert Downey, Jr.
Jan Michael Vincent, from the early days of Airwolf
Ben Browder, playing Crichton on Farscape
Jared Leto
Brian Molko, lead singer for Placebo
David Bowie
Lou Diamond Phillips
Val Kilmer
Johnny Depp
Kevin Sorbo
Kevin Bacon
Stone Phillips
Jake Gyllenhaal
Clive Owen
Paul Bettany
Keanu Reeves
Captain Tight Pants from Firefly
Scott Bakula
Richard Burgi
Geraint Wyn Davies
Matthew McConaughey
Michael York
Edward Norton
Cillian Murphy
Seth Green
Maynard Keenan
Fabio
Chris Cornell
Jude Law
Dean Cain
Greg Grunberg
Guy Pearce
Sean Pollock, the South African cricketer
Jesse L. Martin
Vincent D'onofrio
Dana Andrews
Cary Grant
Colin Firth, as Mr. Darcy


This writeup could not have been produced without numerous contributions from those on E2 who appreciate men. Thanks!

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