When the Sh*t Hits the Fan… Real Dads Cook!

The Coronavirus has placed every family into uncharted waters. Dads need to step up, get out of their comfort zone, and play an active role… the kitchen represents the best place to start.

State Governors are opting to put their citizens under lockdown to quell the spread of the Coronavirus. Nonessential businesses are closing their doors. Rationing has begun—starting in the bathroom as I learned firsthand today when I was limited to four rolls of toilet paper.

Today’s generation of parents has never faced this kind of circumstance. Yes, the Greatest Generation had to go out into the world to kick Nazi and Japanese ass overseas and before that, their parents managed polio, immigration, and poverty by and large. But none of them, including the boomers who came later and enjoyed the cushiest timeframe in American history, had to deal with a global pandemic.

Dads, who usually travel to and from their workplace, will be working from home and if nothing else will learn firsthand how challenging, mind-numbing, and (patience) testing parenting can be when it’s a fulltime job.

We, as dads, have to keep our sh*t together and help however we can and espouse optimism, resilience, and we need to make a positive contribution… above and beyond what we are already doing.

It starts with cooking. There’s no better escape after slugging it on conference calls and computers for nine straight hours. Home-cooked meals provide perspective in challenging times.

We all need to maintain a six-foot radius around us at all times, thanks to that sh*thole food market in Wuhan, but there’s no reason not to huddle together with your family around a fine-cooked meal.

You can do this. Give your wife a break from the kitchen and take over, and in a few weeks, you’ll be on your way to mastering a new skillset.

First, disregard every cookbook or printed recipe in your house. That method is so 20th century! The 21st-century method of cooking is following video instructions from a chef.

If you are not familiar with Chef John’s website, FoodWishes.com, that’s all you need. The dishes he prepares, using video and instructional tips, are rich, laden with cream, but they are fantastic. He is a great chef that has made hundreds of video recipes and they are easy to follow. Seeing a meal cooked, from start to finish, is a lot easier than whipping out your grandma’s Julia Child cookbook and slogging through with guesswork and assumptions.

Some suggested recipes, if you’re not grilling, which is an excellent option in times of quarantine. Here are a few that will require a trip to the supermarket, so bring hand sanitizer with you and grab what you need:

Sherry-Braised Short Ribs

While other dads pack their shopping carts with frozen pizzas, pick up some short ribs and wow your family with a dish that will melt their souls. Comfort food, cooked for hours on end, tastes extraordinary when it fills one’s home with scrumptious aromas. This one takes the cake and Chef John’s video makes it easy. And, you’re cooking with red meat, which will help you grow more chest hair.

Hungarian Goulash

There’s nothing more manly than a slab of beef chuck. It’s ugly, requires fat trimming (as do most of our waistlines but my Peloton is on backorder so sue me), and it needs to be tamed like a wild beast.

But… when you carve it up and show that slab of meat who’s the boss, and combine it with spices, it will bring a smile to your child’s face. That’s a must during quarantine as kids need to bond with other kids so providing the pleasure of a fine-cooked meal can offer some respite.

Chicken Stir-Fry

This is the easiest meal to f*ck up. Somewhere, in the country, there’s a schmuck cooking EVERYTHING together at once. That’s not how the pro’s do it, and it took me two years to perfect this cooking technique. In short, do it in batches—like-minded veggies that cook at an equal pace. This process will save you a lot of aggravation and serve it in tandem with sushi rice, which is so choice!


A great dish to cook in large quantities, which can be packaged and frozen for future consumption. This represents my mother’s best dish, and it was one of the only dishes she cooked to perfection because it is so easy to make. A number of spices are required, but it includes cooking with red wine, which never sucks.

Stay tuned for recipes every day from The Father Apprentice! We’ll get through this together, and to make your wife, kids, and even your dog more comfortable during the Coronavirus epidemic, be the man AND COOK!

If you liked these recipes, check these other ones out or go to our special ‘Chef’ section on the website:

Comfort Food Perfect for Snowy Days: Turkey Biscuits

Bodacious Bolognese Sauce

The Secret to Great Pancakes

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