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News of the Food

Getting Real

By R. V. Scheide

I'll be honest. Father's Day depresses me. Yet another manufactured holiday designed to guilt-trip me into laying half a sawbuck on Hallmark. This year, it's actually worse than that. Pops and I have been fighting lately--we just can't seem to agree on the need for or lack thereof of nuclear power--so he ain't getting nothing. And my daughter? Well, she's not returning my calls for who knows what reason, so I guess I ain't getting nothing either. Just a hump of trouble and a sack of woe, that's what's in it for me. I'm whining, and I detest whiners. Why can't I be a real man, like K. Kofi Moyo?

Moyo is the entrepreneurial genius behind Real Men Cook for Charity, the largest national Father's Day event in the United States. The event was founded in Chicago on Father's Day 16 years ago by Moyo and his wife, Yvette. The idea was to celebrate the unsung heroes of Chicago's African American community--the "real men" who actually keep their families together, hold down responsible jobs and, when they're not too busy changing their own oil or scraping and painting the house, are whipping up some cultural delicacy in the kitchen.

I use the word delicacy with some delicacy, as most of the recipes in Moyo's recently released Real Men Cook: Rites, Rituals, and Recipes for Living (Fireside; $22.95) can hardly be called delicate. "Soulful" would be a more apt description of these submissions from the various real men Moyo has met over the years. They're the kind of heavy-handed guys who measure meat by the pound, not the ounce, which probably explains the Real Men Cook prostate cancer awareness video available at www.realmencook.com.

The first thing that caught my eye was Arthur E. Teele's recipe for Miami conch fritters, which calls for, as a primary ingredient, "four pounds fresh conch, diced." A conch, of course, is one of those shells you see native islanders blowing on in movies, but we're talking about the meat inside. Where in the hell are you supposed to get four pounds of fresh conch meat? Simple, friend. Simply log on to the Gamby's Lobster and Stone Crab Shack website (www.freshfloridastonecrab.com), where you'll find five pounds of conch selling for $115, shipping included.

Herein lies the beauty of the Real Men Cook concept, for food is definitely the one common denominator that unites all men, even fathers and sons. You see, my dad just happens to be a stone crab freak, and maybe if I send him some fresh crustacean via Gamby's website, I can straighten him out on this nuclear-power thing.

Now, if my daughter will just call, it'll be one happy freakin' Father's Day.

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From the June 1-7, 2005 issue of the North Bay Bohemian.

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