It started in 1982, a time when many men were becoming confused about their identities as women were shaking up gender stereotypes. A wag named Bruce Feirstein wrote a book called “Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche” that satirized traditional masculinity and sold 1.6 million copies. It inspired sequels like “Real Women Don’t Pump Gas,” “Real Dogs Don’t Eat Leftovers,” and “Real Kids Don’t Say Please.”
I was already making quiche by then. It seemed a simple way to make a tasty, non-meat main dish, much easier than the souffles I made in my twenties. The one challenging part of making a quiche is the crust, and last week I found a way to simplify that.
Making a crust with flour, butter and water is messy and hard to get right. So instead, I took two cups of cooked brown rice and mixed it with one egg and a quarter cup of grated cheddar cheese. I pressed this mixture into a large quiche pan and baked it for six minutes at 450 degrees. (If using a pie pan, reduce everything by about a third.)
The rest is a snap. I sauteed 2 cups of broccoli and four scallions, but you could use any vegetable. I put 1 cup of grated cheddar cheese over the cooled rice crust, then the broccoli and scallions. I mixed three eggs with a cup and a half of milk and poured it on. I baked it at 375 degrees for 50 minutes, until the middle was set. Quiches like to sit for a while before eating, and on hot days can be eaten cold.
But back to gender stereotypes. In 1982, Feirstein said, perhaps tongue in cheek, “We’ve become a nation of wimps. Pansies. Quiche eaters.” Real Men don’t eat tofu, pate or yogurt either, and don’t drink lite beer, he asserted. “Real Men do not relate to anything. They do not have meaningful dialogues,” he said.
I love cooking and gardening (and yogurt) but am inept with cars and computers. I like having “meaningful dialogues,” but I’m an un-handyman who married a woman who is good at fixing things around the house. I don’t feel less of a man when I have to ask my son an elementary question about computers; I just feel like a klutz.
Those stereotypes are persistent, though. Researchers at Northwestern University found in 2010 that in restaurants, men are more likely to order steak than quiche, while women are less inclined to conform to gender norms.
Still, a survey of 2,000 British women in 2013 found that they want their men to eat quiche and know how to make it — but also to know how to get rid of spiders.
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