5@5 - Richard Martin
April 22nd, 2011
05:00 PM ET
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5@5 is a daily, food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.

Just because you're a dude doesn't mean your culinary ventures have to be modeled after Epic Meal Time. Sometimes, a man just wants to make a really, really good omelet - without it being bacon-wrapped or deep-fried.

For such times comes chef Marcus Samuelsson's FoodRepublic.com, a food and lifestyle website specifically geared toward food-obsessed men, and its editorial director Richard Martin.

Five Kitchen Tricks Every Man Should Know: Richard Martin

1. Chop an onion (without shedding a tear)
"Whether you're chopping something for a meal that you're making or just helping out your wife/girlfriend/partner by offering to play sous chef, knowing how to dice, mince and - if you want to get fancy - julienne, are essential skills -  especially if you're gonna tackle the onion.

The onion is one of the toughest things to master, but it's actually pretty easy. If you've got basic knife skills, just cut off the top part opposite the root, then slice or dice as much as you can in an orderly fashion before going back at it when the pieces are on your cutting board.

Then keep dicing as much as the recipe calls for: dice is least chopped, fine dice slightly more,and minced is basically tiny little pieces.

As for how to do this without being reduced to a blubbering mess, you can:  (A) chop the onion under cold running water; (B) try putting the onion in the freezer for 10 minutes before chopping; or (C) try keeping cold water in your mouth while you're cutting."

2. Flip an omelet
"One of the best ways to a girl's heart is through a delicious breakfast. And while scrambled eggs are good and all, a tasty cheese omelet with tomatoes or veggies will really impress.

It's not exactly easy, but it's totally doable. Just heat up a small or medium nonstick pan (or a regular pan, but you want it to be really hot), drop in a chunk of butter, and pour in a couple of slightly whisked eggs so that they cover a thin layer across the bottom of the pan.

Once they've set just a bit and there's still some runny bits across the top, use a spatula and tilt the pan from side to side so that you have one solid mass of egg in the pan.

Then, either use the spatula to gently flip it, or if you're feeling brave, toss the pan skyward and flip it in the air. Quickly add the toppings, fold the omelet in half and serve with toast."

3. Make a damn good burger
"This is actually harder than you think. You can't buy pre-made patties. They're just bad. So what you have to do is get a good lean ground beef mix, about 80 percent lean (you do want a bit of fat). Then you can get a bit creative, mixing all sorts of things into the ground beef, from simple things like salt and pepper to fancier things like a steak sauce or onion mix.

Food Republic's basic burger recipe calls for the addition of egg, Worcestershire sauce and breadcrumbs - and it makes a simple yet delicious burger that has a bit of a meatball flavoring to it. Top it with bleu cheese or some sharp cheddar, and you will win friends and influence people."

4. Quickly assemble a good mix on iTunes
"Nothing sets the mood in the kitchen better than the right music. Whether you're cooking, playing sous chef or just observing - actually, especially if you're just observing; try to make yourself useful! — it's essential to have the appropriate music playing while you or your partner/date is cooking.

The genius mode in iTunes and Pandora have made this a simple enough task, and they provide a decent shortcut, but if you're a real man, you should know if the mood calls for jazz, Jay-Z or jams. Make the mix yourself while waiting for the water to boil or the spaghetti to cook or whatever. Music not only sets the mood, it can make the food taste better."

5. Whip up a quick three-course meal
"Here's the scenario. Your wife/girlfriend/boyfriend has been texting all afternoon, complaining about work, their boss, their life. What do you do?

Do you: (A) tell them to "man up"; (B) console them with empty words like 'sorry to hear that'; or (C) hurry to the market, beat them home and put together a fantastic little quick and easy three-course meal?

If you said (C), you're right, and here's what you do: Get a head of green or red leaf lettuce; an onion; a box of linguine; a decent jar or container of store-made tomato sauce, or just some tomatoes and garlic; a loaf of Italian bread or baguette; a container of ice cream or sorbet; and a candle.

By now, you should know how to quickly turn this into a simple meal of a salad, pasta and dessert that will quickly restore your mate's faith in life. What happens next is up to you, but if you've gotten this far, I trust you'll know what to do after dessert is over (if you don't skip that last course entirely)."

Is there someone you'd like to see in the hot seat? Let us know in the comments below and if we agree, we'll do our best to chase 'em down.

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Filed under: 5@5 • Think


soundoff (247 Responses)
  1. RichardHead

    Why does this guy's picture look like a mugshot from a New York City Jail?

    April 23, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
  2. Frenchy

    Onion soup mix in your hamburg makes fartburgers. Great for bachelors or having the guys over, but not so great for serving your girlfriend or wife.

    April 23, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
  3. Soleada

    I cook, my fiancee cooks (both of us equally well, but he specializes in real Mexican food... being as he's from said country)... no i'm not fat. lol.. neither is he.

    April 23, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
  4. Popeye

    The Epic Meal Time link is a HOOT! Thanks for that.

    April 23, 2011 at 11:32 am |
  5. Whimpey

    Who in their right mind puts an egg and bread crumbs in a burger? I mean come on! It's a burger, not a meatloaf! And what is the deal with onion mix in a burger? Add onion mix? As in, the old package of lipton instant soup mix? Bleh, Why the complete omission on the toppings by the way?

    April 23, 2011 at 11:24 am |
  6. I. Mold

    Get ingredients, make a meal out of them. This tells me what? The hamburger tip is a little better than boring, but overall, the article sounds like a guy that doesn't take food preparation seriously. I think this fellow's direction is more lifestyle than food, and it's just a fluff article that's annoying to a guy that does take food seriously and got taken in by a headline that doesn't deliver.

    April 23, 2011 at 10:09 am |
  7. Bobby

    The criticism of this article goes a little too far. The tips may be simple, but not dead wrong like everyone seems to be saying.

    Cutting an onion underwater or close to running water actually works. The water absorbes and denatures the gas.

    As for cooking eggs, the pan should be hot when the eggs go in. Some people make the mistake of starting the stove at the same time that they put in the eggs – what happens is you end up leaving the eggs in there for too long and they burn and stick.

    April 23, 2011 at 3:34 am |
    • ben

      nah buddy, the tips are dead wrong. you are as well. you dont cut onions in the sink. just deal with the sulfur and move on. or just "cut off the top part opposite the root, then slice or dice as much as you can in an orderly fashion before going back at it when the pieces are on your cutting board."

      you can't defend this. why would you try?

      April 23, 2011 at 7:00 am |
    • Whimpey

      Onion tears are a sign of a freshman with a dull knife. Cut the onion with a sharp knife instead of smashing it with a dull one, onion tears tears will not be. First lesson in Jedi cooking – use a sharp knife.

      April 23, 2011 at 11:29 am |
  8. lportz

    Are you serious? This is advice? Who hired this guy?

    April 23, 2011 at 3:29 am |
  9. Brainy Yak

    Had this been written by a woman, it would have included (or likely only stated) "Clean up after yourself."

    April 23, 2011 at 2:34 am |
  10. omegarising

    Women should be kept, barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen. It's the best thing for them.

    April 23, 2011 at 2:22 am |
    • Adelina

      And quiet and educated. Bing barefooted and pregnant is not necessary.

      April 23, 2011 at 3:23 am |
  11. 3133t

    FAIL.

    April 23, 2011 at 2:17 am |
  12. ExpatGaijun

    Richard – you may be a great editor, I don't know. One thing for certain, as evidenced by every tip in this article, is that you do NOT know how to cook. Since you work for a great chef, Marcus Samuelsson, maybe you can convince him to give you some basic lesson. This will help you avoid complete embarassment the next time you try to:

    – chop an onion
    – make an omelet
    – make a burger
    – try to impress a friend with a quick, simple & romantic meal
    – write an article professing culinary expertise.

    April 23, 2011 at 2:05 am |
  13. Carolinaviking

    Five minutes of my life I will never get back. Thanks for a completely useless article. And what is with the picture? It takes up the entire page when the link comes up and I have to scroll down to get to the first line of text. Is he trying to be sexy and cultured with the bedroom eyes and the glasses hanging from his shirt? He strikes me as the kind of guy who would would attract the kind of women impressed by a spaghetti-in-a-box dinner.

    April 23, 2011 at 2:04 am |
  14. ChefXian

    As a chef instructor and an expert on culinary science the onion thing really bothers me. It is wives tales like this masqueraded as fact that keep people from being better cooks. Oh and another thing, if you are supposed to impress a girl chopping an onion, how impressed would she be if you had something in your mouth while doing it?

    April 23, 2011 at 1:56 am |
  15. Martin

    Another ridiculous piece that presupposes that men don't know about any of the domestic arts. What BS. Men may manage domestic tasks and priorities differently but in the mechanics they're at least as good as the women. I cook. My son-in-law cooks. (My son.....not so good.....) Gender roles are much less proscribed in a modern household, we all get to do what we're good at and what we have time for.

    April 23, 2011 at 1:47 am |
  16. DBSM

    #4 What does itunes have to do with kitchen tricks?
    #5 The idiot forgot the WINE!

    April 23, 2011 at 1:16 am |
  17. lance corporal

    oh and if the woman is impressed because you made pasta......... she's easily amused

    April 23, 2011 at 12:57 am |
    • Popeye

      She isn't cooking – that's gotta be worth a few points out of the gate.

      April 23, 2011 at 11:37 am |
  18. lance corporal

    I grew up in a family that appreciated good cooking, my wife didn't, I taught HER how to cook and I'm still MUCH better than her at it and do most of the cooking because of that, how about an article explaining the basics of having a business conversation like your talking to a child for the "girls" .............. oh that's right it's not 1852

    April 23, 2011 at 12:55 am |
  19. lance corporal

    a) what a lot of words for such a tiny bit of info
    b) men aren't the neanderthals the media makes them out to be and most of us cook very well thank you
    c) it was like it was written for an 8 year old, don't know if it's condescension or what but it is bad writing
    d) CNN there have been a lot of real craaaap articles lately, I like a good read and don't mind gen interest stuff but please get some better contributors

    April 23, 2011 at 12:51 am |
  20. Melissa

    Wow, I'm shocked at these responses. Who knew there were so many awesome guys out there? This is the very first time I've read so many responses (on a gender-based article) with which I wholeheartedly agree. There are some lucky wives/girlfriends in the world tonight.

    April 23, 2011 at 12:47 am |
  21. Calvin

    How does this crap make it on the frontpage of CNN.com?
    First the supposed debunking of conspiracy theories, and now this.

    If you guys aren't going to try anymore, the least you could do is put some porn up instead.

    April 23, 2011 at 12:46 am |
  22. Mark

    "The onion is one of the toughest things to master, but it's actually pretty easy."
    Richard Martin can't chop an onion or write well. What an idiot.

    April 23, 2011 at 12:31 am |
  23. M

    THIS IS THE MOST USELESS ARTICLE EVER! Seriously! Who approved this $hit?

    April 23, 2011 at 12:20 am |
  24. Terry Brookman

    The truth, manup and learn to cook men are the greatest chef's in the world and most woman can't boil water.

    April 23, 2011 at 12:11 am |
  25. Rocky

    I cook 60% of our meals. She still complains. I'm also a fully trained chef.
    I think the article is a bit insulting to men. What eon do people think we live in anyway?
    If your any kind of modern person you have some cooking skills; man or woman.
    If you really are a man who can't cook, WTF in this day and age?! How do you eat? Go take a course.

    April 23, 2011 at 12:00 am |
    • Not so Yum!

      LOL Rocky, My hubby can't cook – he's tried, but it's seriously not in his skill set. Whenever he attempts cooking, disaster occurs. He's set pots of water (plain water!) on fire, and blown up oven safe pyrex bakeware in the oven. I've always kept a fire extinguisher in the kitchen, but it wasn't until I met my husband that I've ever actually had to USE it.

      It works out for us though, I love cooking, but I absolutely hate cleaning up afterward. He doesn't mind doing the dishes.

      As for how he ate before we met... well lets just say there were lots of hot pockets, and cup o noodles in his diet.

      April 23, 2011 at 12:08 am |
      • Physics

        It's amazing that he's able to burn water. I've been trying to master that for years.

        April 27, 2011 at 8:52 am |
  26. Not so Yum!

    I've been married for 15 years, and my husband can't cook. He's been known to literally set pots of water ON FIRE. But even I take offense to this blog. Men are not 7 year olds who can barely wield a knife or figure out the hot end of a pan, so why talk down to them like they are?

    April 22, 2011 at 11:58 pm |
  27. Adam

    Worst article I have ever read. Seriously CNN, you are turning into FOX......

    April 22, 2011 at 11:58 pm |
  28. Matt

    That's 3 minutes of my life I'll never get back – Not only was it insulting, it was stupid. Is the author 12 years old? There was nothing useful there. CNN is becoming USA Today – Just complete crap.

    April 22, 2011 at 11:48 pm |
  29. Steve Catcher

    There is a right way to chop and onion, and it works perfectly no matter how fine or coarse a dice you want. This guy might as well hit it with a club.

    April 22, 2011 at 11:37 pm |
  30. BlahblahHaha

    Five Kitchen Tricks Every Man Should Know:

    1) That counter space where you prepare the food can also be used for other things. Throw your significant other up there, break some dishes, rekindle that spark. Just avoid throwing her on a burner.

    2) Chocolate syrup and whip cream are fun toppings. Try some on your significant other.

    3) Never stick any part of your body into a garbage disposal. Even if someone double-dog-dares you.

    4) Frozen vegetables in a bag work just as well as an icepack. No need to buy those silly blue gel filled sacks for $10 when you can get the same effect from some frozen peas for $1 – not to mention a meal afterwards.

    5) If you think your significant other has poisoned you, dump copious amounts of salt into a glass of water. Around 1/2 a cup of salt for every cup of water. Iron-man it down to induce vomiting.

    April 22, 2011 at 11:37 pm |
    • mobley

      6) Make dinner romantic – turn the lights out, light (just) a few candles. Then she can't see the take-out cartons
      7) Nothing in the fridge should be moving on it's own power
      8) Ignore the ads, frozen pizza does NOT taste like the real stuff. Ever
      9) The 5 second rule is not a good thing to call into play until at least the 3rd date
      10) Twinkes really aren't a food group

      April 22, 2011 at 11:58 pm |
  31. Bear

    These tips are really ridicules and useless. The person giving these tips is – well stupid. Get a clue buddy. Want some good tips ... look else where.

    April 22, 2011 at 11:37 pm |
  32. JohnDorian

    Richard Martin's article needs to be removed to save CNN's reputation. I may never read a 5@5 article again, as I'll know it's a complete waste of my time. My anger for this waste of time is illustrated by spending time to write these complaints.

    First of all, I'd like a demonstration of how to cut an onion under running water. Secondly, I'd like to see a demonstration of cooking eggs with a hot pan (eggs need to be cooked at just north of 220-225 degrees, or they will turn brown and burn too quickly for them to cook evenly), then adding the ingedients to the already cooked side (you want the ingredients to be incorporated into the egg mixture). I'm a guy, and hate omlettes (bad experiences as a youngster on cheap airline flights), so please correct me if I'm wrong.

    Obviously, Richard Martin has never done these things, and wherever he was getting these tips from, he grossly misinterpreted what they were saying. Why would anyone allow him to write an authoratative article on something he knows absolutely nothing about?

    April 22, 2011 at 11:35 pm |
    • lance corporal

      your right about the article sucking your wrong about cooking eggs

      April 23, 2011 at 12:59 am |
      • JohnDorian

        @Lance,

        Where did I go wrong with the omelette? He's adding eggs to a hot pan (and doesn't say anything about lowering the heat). He's also adding ingredients to an already cooked side (after he flips the eggs, meaning both sides are now cooked). Logically, this can't be right, and reading how to make omelettes, no one says to do it this way.

        April 23, 2011 at 6:03 pm |
    • Popeye

      You are so right about 5@5. It's my belief that these articles are written just to TROLL for reader responses.
      Judging by what CNN publishes outside of mainline news, the more reader responses = good journalism and better job security.

      April 23, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
  33. David White

    "The onion is one of the toughest things to master, but it's actually pretty easy."

    Wow. This is one of the worst pieces of writing I've come across in a very long time. CNN should not be paying this dolt for writing this kind of drivel.

    April 22, 2011 at 11:28 pm |
  34. Parkerman

    Yeah, I am pretty insulted that we as men need to learn how to do everything for our woman while they are being taught at every turn not to do anything for their man. Relationships are a balance, but don't forget that men are better at some things and women at others, those items should always be kept seperate. i.e. If I have to fix a broken door hinge then she can fix a button on my shirt. Give and take as long as its balanced.

    April 22, 2011 at 11:21 pm |
    • Melissa

      The problem is, sweetie, that you apparently have a strictly defined set of skills you believe men are better at, and women are better at. The truth is, people are more attractive who aren't afraid to learn things they think the other gender should do. I can change my own tire and do plenty of things considered traditionally "male." I can also sew and cook. My boyfriend is secure enough in his masculinity to cook and sew, and I don't expect him to change my tire or fix my door hinge, etc. His ability to do all kinds of stuff and not be afraid to learn/look feminine makes him hot as hell to me.

      April 23, 2011 at 12:53 am |
  35. JJ

    Why no patronizing CNN articles titled "5 Roadmap Reading Skills Every Woman Should Know" or "5 Landscaping and Yardwork Skills Every Woman Should Know?"

    April 22, 2011 at 11:11 pm |
  36. jeff

    correct me if im wrong, but I believe the majority of the best chefs in the world happen to be men. Dont get me wrong, I dont count myself among them, but the article seems to be assuming that a women automaticallly knows her way around the kitchen.

    April 22, 2011 at 11:09 pm |
    • likeIcare

      and that may very well be true, but don't discount the women who have not taken this professional path and are great cooks in their homes. Chef work is hard, very hard. I don't buy much meat at all, mostly produce & some dairy. I make my own sauces & condiments (for a fraction of the cost) and have a nice supply of spices. This has to aimed at very young people with no cooking experience, cuz it d a m n sure doesn't apply to those with any cooking ability.

      April 22, 2011 at 11:21 pm |
  37. Phil, Ohio

    Look in frozen foods. The sell chopped onion with a bit of extra stuff thrown in for about $1.00. I only mention it cause they are handy and cut out the pealing and chopping steps and unlike fresh onions, they don't go bad.

    April 22, 2011 at 10:58 pm |
    • lance corporal

      no they don't GO bad they start that way, chopping an onion is easy and they store very well when stored correctly (google it)

      April 23, 2011 at 1:13 am |
  38. Vindicated

    I scrolled down, worried what 'men' would need this advice. Thanks all for voicing my same thoughts. Oh and as to a perfect burger, make a well in the middle so that when its grilled and swells it becomes uniform and NEVER squish that delicious beef/pork/veal mixture...or wild game if you are informed enough to know how to procure that (hunt). As for grilling, get rid of that fork, learn to wet your hands or use a spatula.

    April 22, 2011 at 10:51 pm |
  39. Ranier

    Five tricks a CNN author should know:

    (1) don't patronize
    (2) don't insult
    (3) don't assume you know more than your readers
    (4) research before you open your proverbial mouth
    (5) consider the cultural context of your statements

    April 22, 2011 at 10:49 pm |
  40. keltari

    wow... even I know those "onion tricks" dont work. The onion is releasing gas when cut that mixes in your eyes to create sulfuric acid. There is NOTHING that can be done to stop it.

    April 22, 2011 at 10:37 pm |
    • Sinister Sister

      That's not true. You can minimize the effect immensely by cutting (dicing) the onion while it's still cold from the fridge.

      April 25, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
  41. Chris

    You know the kind of women that a man's ability to cook impresses?

    FAT women.

    April 22, 2011 at 9:56 pm |
    • lance corporal

      you are very wrong

      April 23, 2011 at 1:16 am |
  42. coolman

    Is the next CNN article "Five Driving Tricks Every Woman Should Know"?

    April 22, 2011 at 9:54 pm |
    • Popeye

      ROFLMAO

      April 23, 2011 at 11:39 am |
  43. RonJeremy

    Richard, keep the after dinner job to me, I know how to close.

    April 22, 2011 at 9:48 pm |
  44. Friend

    Frankly, I am less than impressed by the article. Nonetheless, I wonder if all the spiteful comments are really necessary. There are respectful ways to express criticism. I guess, on the faceless Internet, it is okay to behave (and express yourself) like an a**hole.

    April 22, 2011 at 9:42 pm |
    • Chris

      You're an a**hole!

      April 22, 2011 at 9:57 pm |
    • lance corporal

      and calling people A##holes is how it's done?? look up irony

      April 23, 2011 at 1:19 am |
      • Friend

        Well, if you behave like one, then yes, you are an a**hole. If you make fun of someones article, not by expressing constructive criticism, but calling the author names and even making fun of his looks, then yes, you are an a**hole. That doesn't have anything to do with irony, but the fact that the "discussion" in this comment section is nothing but a disgrace.

        April 23, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
  45. DT

    Complete nonsense.....

    BUT I do appreciate the use of "Your wife/girlfriend/*boyfriend*" in the article. Thanks for including those of us with partners.

    April 22, 2011 at 9:41 pm |
  46. MEGGIE

    What an insulting headline, gearing this article towards men. Just as many women have no clue how to cook, either. Why the man slam?

    April 22, 2011 at 9:40 pm |
    • Popeye

      This little corner of CNN has pretty much been a girly harbor. Finally here is a chance to show that this critique is not gender biased.

      April 23, 2011 at 11:41 am |
  47. iCanCookCanU

    The article implies that women can cook, but I'm sure having a problem finding any that can cook beyond green bean casserole, that can make a sauce from scratch, that can debone a chicken or more. I enjoy cooking as much as I enjoy working on my jeep, but it would be nice to not be the sole person who can do something fancy for meals . . .

    April 22, 2011 at 9:16 pm |
    • likeIcare

      I don't debone chicken, but I can make sauce & condiments from scratch and, although no chef, I'm a pretty decent cook. That being said, this wasn't the case when I was 18, or even 25. I find it interesting that people still eat green bean casserole.

      April 22, 2011 at 10:08 pm |
      • likeIcare

        LOL, maybe this does have merit, albeit very little. My long ago & far away ex's idea of heating up hot dogs was putting them in a glass under running hot water.

        April 22, 2011 at 10:32 pm |
    • lance corporal

      I married a non cooker and taught her

      April 23, 2011 at 1:21 am |
  48. cosmicsnoop

    But I like crying over my onion. Since I'm a real man, that's the only time I do.

    April 22, 2011 at 9:09 pm |
  49. Yon

    And Richard Martin should use his fancy glasses to read a book.

    April 22, 2011 at 9:02 pm |
  50. Yon

    A real man knows how and can cook better than a woman, but "lets" her do the cooking anyways.

    April 22, 2011 at 9:01 pm |
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