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Man with a Pan

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3.46  ·  Rating Details  ·  296 Ratings  ·  56 Reviews
Look who’s making dinner! Twenty-one of our favorite writers and chefs expound upon the joys—and perils—of feeding their families.

Mario Batali’s kids gobble up monkfish liver and foie gras. Peter Kaminsky’s youngest daughter won’t eat anything at all. Mark Bittman reveals the four stages of learning to cook. Stephen King offers tips about what to cook when you don’t feel l
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Paperback, 327 pages
Published May 17th 2011 by Algonquin Books
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,008)
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Lyn
May 08, 2011 Lyn rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
This review is for the Advanced Reading Copy of Man with a Pan that I received in a giveaway on Goodreads. It is being timed for release at the end of May, two weeks before Father's Day.

This is a collection of essays from men who cook in their lives, both personal and professional. Many of the essayists are people who are perhaps better writers than cooks. All essays include at least one recipe and food books they've enjoyed. Many of the recipes are online as well. The writers are often husbands
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Stephen
Dec 26, 2011 Stephen rated it liked it
This book was a gift from my daughter Heather Anne who survived many years of my cooking and somehow grew up to become an excellent cook. John Donohue, who cooks for his family, collected essays from food professionals -- Mario Batili, Mark Bittman, Michael Ruhlman -- and average guys -- musicians, writers, teachers, a lawyer, an engineer, a carpenter, and a biochemists. The results are, predictably, of highly variable quality; novelist Stephen King produced a better essay than did the football ...more
Elizabeth
May 10, 2011 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing
Informative and entertaining. I took this book with me to jury service yesterday, and it was a blessing. The jury service duty was the typical cattle call, wait around all day to either be excused or selected to sit on a jury.

This book's short story format is a breeze for thumbing through and picking out chapters that capture your interest in the moment. I managed to flip through the entire book in the 6 hours of jury service waiting room time. Here's what I liked most about the book:


1. Each li
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Lisa
Apr 29, 2011 Lisa rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who wants to be motivated to cook
Shelves: cooking
I won this book through the Goodreads firstreads giveaway!

I really wanted to read this book because I have two small children, and it's hard to cook with them underfoot. The author speaks of that in the book as well. There isn't a lot of time too cook either.
I wanted to know what men were doing in order to cook for their families. My father didn't cook for me until my parents divorced. I made my own breakfast and lunch, but he made dinner. It was always grilled chicken or steak with a potato an
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Luann
Jul 01, 2011 Luann rated it really liked it
I quite enjoyed this. I took my time with it and often didn't read it for days at a time, but I never had a hard time opening it up again when I had a few minutes to read. As with most short story collections I've read, there were some essays I preferred over others. But overall, this is an interesting read that I particularly enjoyed around Father's Day.

Reading this felt a lot like watching the Food Network. If you enjoy reading about food, reading memoirs with a food slant, or contemplating t
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Andy
Jul 28, 2011 Andy rated it really liked it
This book gets the highest compliment I can give a book about cooking: it made me want to cook. A lot. Before I even finished, I ran off to the library to request a half-dozen cookbooks that the various authors refer to as their favorites.
Laura
Aug 10, 2011 Laura rated it did not like it
Shelves: cooking
I just ... what? Men are patting themselves on the back for being able to cook? Good for them? I read the Bittman article because I love him. Otherwise, no.
Colleen
Jun 09, 2011 Colleen rated it really liked it
In the interest of full disclosure, I received this book as a part of the goodreads giveaway. To the review!:

I have never described a book as being cute before, but this is a cute book. The longer essays by seasoned writers are interspersed with experiences from men "in the trenches", your average dad who work 9 to 5. Each is capped off by a foodie cartoon from the New Yorker, and many have divulged their best recipes along with their favorite food books. As a warning, if you are vegetarian or v
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Caroline
Jun 17, 2011 Caroline rated it liked it
I really enjoyed some of the essays in this collection. Sean Wilsey is honest and likable about the impact of his children on his "Kitchen ABCs" ("Always Be Cleaning"). He writes about how his first response to the 9/11 attacks was to put up water to boil pasta: "Fatherhood, at times, has also been a bewildering state of emergency. Cooking was, and remains, my response." Mario Batali is conversational and smart about involving kids in the kitchen in his essay, "If It's Tuesday, It Must Be Cardoo ...more
Jennifer
Jul 24, 2011 Jennifer rated it really liked it
I noticed that there were many less than stellar reviews about this one but I thought it was funny and touching and well-written, in addition to having some great recipes. Also just a good reminder that eating with your family, being with them, means more than all the trinkets you can buy them. Excellent.

*I sometimes think, on those rare occasions when I'm full, about how rich I would be if I wasn't spending so much money on food. I don't like to ponder how much I might have accomplished in lif
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Patty Hopkins
Oct 21, 2012 Patty Hopkins rated it really liked it
Man with a Pan is a wonderful collection of culinary essays, humorous anecdotes and yes, recipes.
John Donohue is a writer, cartoonist, and an editor at the New Yorker. He also has his own food blog – Stay at Stove Dad: A Site for Fathers Who Cook for Their Families. Makes sense then, that he would pull everything together in a book, and this one does just that.

The contributor’s range from well-known figures and familiar names such as Mark Bittman, Mario Batali, Peter Kaminsky and even Stephen Ki
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Jessica
May 16, 2011 Jessica rated it liked it
A very mixed bag of food essays. The book is more or less structured to alternate between longer (~6 page) essays by established food writers or chefs and shorter (~2 page) "In The Trenches" essays from Regular People. Each writer provides at least one recipe, and the writers of the longer essays also get a page or so to list a few of their favorite cookbooks.

The notable exception to the rule that the longer essays are by people working in the food industry is the inclusion of a piece from Step
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Amy
Jun 11, 2011 Amy rated it really liked it
This book contains stories about eating and cooking written by men who cook for their families. The basic structure is a story by someone relatively famous or in the restaurant or food industry - chef, author, etc. That story is followed by a list of books that man uses in the kitchen or for inspiration (if any) and a recipe or two. Next comes a section called "In the Trenches". The "In the Trenches" sections are also stories about eating and cooking. These are written by regular people - a fire ...more
Christi
May 24, 2011 Christi rated it it was ok
I won a copy of this book through GoodReads First Reads.

I haven't read a collection of short stories before. This book is just OK. It's random men only three I had heard of before (Mario Batali, Mark Bittman, Stephen King) sharing thoughts on cooking, family, recipes and life. There's a lot of rambling. Many of the essays are from underemployed writers who start cooking simply because their wives work and their children need to be fed. I grew up in a family where the men do cook so I guess this
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Heather
Jul 08, 2011 Heather rated it it was ok
Shelves: home-library
I bought this for my Papa for Father's Day, having only just heard about it through (gulp) Gwyneth Paltrow's website, Goop. He and I both like memoirish food essays, particularly ones integrated with recipes, and since he was the cook in our family when I was a kid, I thought it'd be appropriate.

Well, three points for trying, Heather! The thing about this collection is that as delightful as I found the introduction (written by editor John Donohue), I desperately wished that he did some more damn
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Jessica
Sep 07, 2011 Jessica rated it liked it
Shelves: cooking-food
This book is a collection of short essays by men who cook - they could be either professional chefs or food writers, or just "ordinary" men who enjoy cooking. There are also lots of recipes after every essay. As one of the writers mentioned, the fact that this book exists shows that men in the kitchen is still seen as rare, although with the number of writers in this book that is obviously changing. I know from my experience that it's usually people older than me who are surprised that my husban ...more
Margaret Humphries
May 09, 2011 Margaret Humphries rated it it was amazing
Such a delight! I'm so thankful that I won it as a first time reader.
It is full of stories, recipes, cooking tips, and humor. It even has the chef's cookbook recommendations which I will use when I purchase my next cookbook. This is the first cookbook that I've actually had fun reading. The recipes go from the very simple to the very complicated, and I'm looking forward trying them. I put stars by the stories I liked best and those will be the recipes I will try first. This is a great book for m
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The Bookloft
Bookseller: Kat

The perfect gift for the male in your life who cooks!

Fathers, brothers, sons, and uncles will find something to like in this collection of essays by well-known writers and foodies.

Some are very funny, some are somewhat sad, some come with bonus recipes and cooking tips, but all are worth a look!
Cathy
Aug 16, 2011 Cathy rated it it was ok
I admit that I didn’t read all of these essays. It was an uneven group, so I skipped around. They ranged from personal histories, technical treatises on gender bias, chatty discussions of kitchen techniques and even a screenplay! Some were interesting, others were almost unreadable. The longer essays concluded with each author’s cookbook picks. This was a great feature. I will pick up a couple of their recommendations.

I still do most of the cooking at home, although my husband is very capable in
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Midge
Dec 18, 2015 Midge rated it liked it
I won this book on Goodreads. It was very entertaing with the stories and had some good recipes. I later gave the book to my son-in-law.
Pam
Dec 08, 2014 Pam rated it really liked it
Shelves: food-cooking
This delightful book is fun and will bring a smile to your face. It is not a serious cooking book nor a literary master piece, but if you are looking for a feel good book about cooking, I highly recommend it. "Man with a Pan" is basically a compendium of short stories by a variety of men about cooking for their families. Some of the authors are well known and others are not therefore writing styles and quality varies. Many of the authors include a few of their favorite recipes and cookbooks. The ...more
Christy
Dec 13, 2011 Christy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, 2011, food
Some of the essays were good, but overall they felt disjointed and did not flow well. Sweeping statements not followed up on, one story smashed up against the next. In one case, a story about recreating a grandmother's recipe was interrupted for a long-winded discussion of gender roles.

The stories I enjoyed: I am glad I made it to the end for the sake of the story that took place in South Africa. Also, Jesse Green's essay was exactly what I wanted this book to be: an entertaining, well-written i
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Les Reynolds
Jan 09, 2016 Les Reynolds rated it really liked it
Entertaining and interesting, a wide variety of perspectives. Really enjoyed it.
Diane
Jun 02, 2011 Diane rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
This is an advance reading copy that I won on this site, but I can't read it! I did not expect, nor did I want to find this type of book to be so full of offensive words. I am not entertained by or impressed with filthy language; I can only assume that the writer's vocabulary is severely limited. Maybe I'll try to finish reading it sometime when I have nothing else to read - but I doubt it. I really hate to throw a new book away, but the trash is really where it belongs.
Cathy
Aug 04, 2011 Cathy rated it did not like it
I won this book on a Goodreads Firstreads Giveaway. Once again I have been verbally assaulted! Do you really have to include essays from men whose vocabulary is so limited. The "f"word 8 times by page 85. Seriously!? Found the author's chapter very entertaining - but it went downhill from there. When asking your friends to contribute to your book you can ask them to not include offensive language. The recipes were nice. The essays - not so much.
Ann
Mar 28, 2012 Ann rated it liked it
Enjoyable enough, though it felt like a bunch of students following a writing prompt. The same essay over and over with slight variations. A couple more original attacks, much appreciated: Sean Wilsey's "Kitchen ABCs: Always Be Cleaning" and Michael Ruhlman's "How Many Parents Does It Take to Roast a Chicken?" Otherwise, very few actually tackled the topic of cooking for families. Most just wrote a short memoir of their own cooking evolution.
Derek Coatney
Jul 11, 2011 Derek Coatney rated it liked it
A collection of essays about men cooking. I received this book as a gift and was able to get through it while flying back and forth to SF. There definitely were some really bad essays in here, but I also found a few motivating, clever, and entertaining. There were a handful of recipes I'm eager to try too. In general, if you are a guy that wants to learn more about cooking or get motivated to learn more, this isn't a bad book to start with.
Joe
Mar 17, 2012 Joe rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this collection. Not everything in it was brilliant, but much of it was wonderful. All the portions (essays from "famous" guys, vignettes from "regular" dudes, recipes) are very brief...which worked well. The good pieces were just the right length, the bad were short enough to tolerate. I look forward to being a father who cooks at some point, but in the meantime I'll definitely try out a few of these recipes.
Lea
Sep 28, 2011 Lea rated it it was ok
Shelves: cookbooks, memoirs
I was a little disappointed in this book. There was a wide range of styles from different contributors, but the first half of the book appeared to be weighted with the experiences of the men of similar ages and background presenting similar views. I might have preferred the book organized into a different order or with a couple of the essays closest to each other in tone and message omitted. A couple of the recipes looked great.
Lindsey
Oct 27, 2014 Lindsey rated it really liked it
3.5 stars. Some fairly interesting stories, but most were only loosely connected to families.
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