I was talking with my literary coach, John, about differences between men and women during communication.  And through our conversation he enlightened me. He said, “men are task oriented… we like a beginning and an end, so we know we are getting things done. It helps us relax and feel successful.”

And he was right.  When men get home, they don’t want to talk on and on like us or hear us prattle on about our day.  They just want to sit down by themselves, open the laptop or turn the TV on and shut out the world while they unwind for a bit.  They need to shut down in order to recharge so they can rebuild their mind for us.  Of course, this is foreign to us (women).

When we get home, all we want to do is talk and share.  We have been waiting for him to come home so we can unload our mind by telling him about our day and let him know how we feel about all the things we went through.  This helps us de-stress and recharge. We want to sit with him all the while crowding his space.  This is a predictable clashing of the minds as if two cars forgot to brake at a four-way stop.

Prep time in the kitchen is the great leveler.  IMG_4389

By using the kitchen as a way to soothe the minds of the men, invite your guy into your kitchen and put him at ease.  Ask him to chop carrots, or chop onions, or help with other specific tasks.  Have the clean cutting board and chef’s knife ready. He will like a beginning and an end to the task organized with everything in its place.  He will feel successful after completing each of these tasks for you and he will like knowing he will be in the room with you helping.

Men want to help you and be there for you.  Many times they just don’t know how.  There’s nothing worse than to say, “will you come in here and help me?” They don’t even hear that.  They hear noise instead and they may not even know what you’re talking about.  So this is your chance to help him help you by being specific.  Always state exactly what you want them to do.  They will feel secure.

By his chopping your veggies, he is helping you cut down your cooking prep time.  He’s sharing in the meal prep and the eventual meal success, and you’re both spending quality time together.  He can slowly relax and allow you both to warm up to conversation as you complete tasks together.  Your conversation will evolve in its time.  And look below at what you can create when you have help slicing and chopping zucchini!

These grilled zucchini are amazing on a flat top grill. So simple, healthy, and fun to prepare together. Men love to grill, so put him in charge of the flat top grill if you have one.  If not, then sauté in your large sauté pan and figure out how to share the task. Again, he will feel successful handling the grill.  You can share the project of dinner making together.

Just slice the zucchini lengthwise in thin slices, sprinkle with salt and pepper on both sides, place on a flat top grill that is oiled or lay in a large sauté plan that has hot grape seed oil.  I like to have the surface oil hot, and almost smoking.  Lay each piece flat, using a long pair of tongs.  Sprinkle with sea salt and ground pepper. Allow to get light golden brown before turning.  As an alternative, add shallots after turning over on the second side.  (Shallots and garlic burn easily if cook too long.  So only add these diced pieces into the pan to cook along side so the zucchini absorbs the flavor)  Adding garlic and shallot along with salt and pepper is incredibly delicious with zucchini.  If sautéing in a pan, you can also cover for a minute or so on each side to trap steam in to increase brownness and make more tender. They soak up the shallot and garlic flavor, too.  These are great with fish, chicken, or anything light, especially in the spring or summer or early fall.

I fold them in a serpentine shape in the plate for presentation because I learned than in France.  It looks amazing.  But at home, you can cut these in half and serve them.  I also serve them in pasta tossed in vinaigrette. I like to also grill red and yellow peppers, quartered, and add them to the pasta and vinaigrette mixture.   While grilling vegetables, you might go ahead and make a larger batch and keep them on hand to add in other dishes during the week for convenience.  You just can’t have too many veggies!

So tomorrow, ask him to chop some veggies for you.  See how quickly you can get him relaxed and in the mood for some good cooking. Bon Appetit! IMG_4362   IMG_4364 IMG_4796 IMG_4795 IMG_4794