Muscle Chow: Lessons in Gay Food Porn

A few weeks ago, I was watching To Be or Not To Be at a friend’s house where, after the film, I wandered into the kitchen to help myself to a glass of water. As I was drinking, I spied an oddly-titled book on the kitchen table– Muscle Chow. I picked it up and began to thumb through…

I barely had the chance to scan the recipe for Muscle Meatloaf before my friend walked in, shouted something about his not wanting me to see the book, and tried to rip it from my hands. I had a fairly firm grasp on the thing, but it was clear he was determined. Though the idea of a playful round of kitchen wrestling was appealing, I let go– I could see the red fires of shame burning his eye sockets.

My pleas for a longer look at the thing were met with a firm “No.”

Muscle Meatloaf? God, I thought, no wonder he was embarrassed. But why mortifyingly so? The level of alarm he displayed would have been appropriate if I had, say, found a bottle of poppers, a traffic cone, and can of Crisco accidentally left lying about in the dining room. But, no, this was just a little cookbook left among the stack of papers and news weeklies on his kitchen table. What was the big deal?

It felt as though I had stumbled upon his secret stash of porn. In a sense, I did, but it was food porn. Gay food porn. Perhaps it was the embarrassing admission that he, too, had fallen victim to the gay curse of body dysmorphia. I should have known something was up when he wanted to stop on the way to dinner and buy a bottle of flax seed oil.

I just had to get a hold of a copy for myself, so I did. In fact, I have two, thanks to my not understanding the Click-and-Buy feature at Amazon.com. And next time, I will make certain my purchases aren’t sent to my rather perplexed ex-boyfriend.

Ready, Set, Cook.

Before I start complaining about the writing of this cookbook, I must state that it’s actually a good resource for those looking to eat well, build muscle, and burn fat. Really. And it’s hard not to like any diet-related book that warns against not eating enough. That said…

If ever a cookbook could grunt, it would be Muscle Chow, published by Men’s Health. Filled with enough manly posturing to make a professional wrestler uncomfortable, the recipes are straight forward and fairly sound. I suppose the creative team had no choice to pump up the He-Man tone of the book– how else are you going to get He-men to eat things like Strawberry Salad or Cucumber-Lime Gelatin? You hide them between recipes entitled “Fix ‘N’ Eat Sardine Sandy” and “Ultimate Muscle Stacks”, a muscle-boy riff on pancakes– that’s how.

It’s really the names of the recipes that leave me simultaneously amused and disgusted. Ripped Chicken? I picture a violent death. Muscle-Bound Chili? I should think the kindney beans would be more likely to un-bind. Cherry Custard Protein Pie? That just make me feel so dirty I want to take a shower.

Muscle Chow is a fun read, if just for those recipes alone. And the number of “‘N'” recipes– Tofu ‘N’ Whey Surprise, Oat Peaches ‘N’ Cream, and On-The-Go Cottage Cheese ‘N’ Bananas (which is listed next to On-The-Go Cottage Cheese And Preserves) suggest just that– that a muscle man is too on-the-go to have time to write out the letters a-n-d. It also suggests a certain self-consciousness about spending too much time in the kitchen, which is disappointing.

In fairness to my friend, I think this book was purchased with a desire for greater health and well-being in mind. I don’t think he’s planning on turning himself into the next Colt Men cover boy. (Please, say it isn’t so.) So I wish him luck in his muscle chow and I shall salute his efforts by raising my spoon and digging into a hearty baby food-infused helping of Vein-Poppn’ “Tapioca” Pudding.

Cheers.

Peanut Butter Muscle Bombs

I chose to make this recipe because of the name, naturally. That and the fact that I was glad I could use up another 1/4 cup of the molasses that’s been sitting in my cupboard, neglected. I was shocked by how absolutely addictive they are. Really.

Ingredients:

2 cups all-natural unsalted crunchy peanut butter, drained of separated oil

2 scoops vanilla whey protein powder (a measuring scoop is included in every can)

1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon molasses

2 tablespoons whole flax seeds.

Procedure:

1. In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients. This takes some muscle (their words, not mine).

2. Form the mixture into walnut-sized balls. Place in a container lined with waxed paper or parchment, separating each layer with another sheet of waxed paper or parchment.

3. Chill in the freezer or fridge for at least two hours before serving.

Makes 25 bombs.

Notes:

I was uncertain as to just what “walnut-sized” meant. Shelled or unshelled? Given the problem of steroid use within the bodybuilding community and its resultant testicular shrinkage, it isn’t surprising they managed to squeeze 25 of these out of the recipe. I only got 20 out of it.

Also, I decided to place the flax seeds on the outside of the balls, since the whey powder lends a very unpleasant-looking greenish tinge to the brown of the molasses and peanut-butter, which made the resulting balls roughly the color of a dog’s fecal matter after he’s eaten too much grass. Rolling the bombs in the seeds not only disguises this, but makes their handling much easier, too. Talking about the bombs with my friend Jay, he warned me that eating too much flax would aid not only in the pumping up of one’s muscles, but the pumping out of one’s bowels.

“Like a duck down a slide,” he said.

Enjoy.

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About Michael Procopio

I write about food and am very fond of Edward Gorey. And gin.
This entry was posted in Books I Love and Loathe., Rants and Stories, Sweets and the Like and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Muscle Chow: Lessons in Gay Food Porn

  1. anita says:

    I was laughing so loud Cameron asked what I was reading. “Oh, just Michael P being his delightfully crude self again,” pointing to the Crisco paragraph.

    But when I got to the part where you accidentally sent not one but two copies to someone else by mistake… oh boy, I laughed so hard I saw stars.

    Thank you for the hearty belly laugh. :D

  2. michaelprocopio says:

    “Delightfully crude.” I think I like that term.

    You are most welcome for the belly laugh– I’m just glad to know it amuses…

  3. Dani says:

    would the flax seed oil work in place of crisco?
    may be less embarrassing.

  4. missginsu says:

    Hi-larious. I must share this with the bulky men in my life…

    Though I really don’t understand why you’d drain away excess peanut oil from the peanut butter before using it, as opposed to just mixing it in. It’s part of the tastiness. It’s *supposed* to be in there.

  5. michaelprocopio says:

    Dani– Flax seed oil as a personal lubricant? Hmmm… Well, it’s supposed to be great for one’s hair and nails, so I don’t imagine it would do any harm to try. Please let me know how your experiment turns out.

    Miss Ginsu– Thank you ever so much. By the way, how many bulky men do you have in your life?

  6. Cameron S says:

    Hilarious. I just ordered the book as I am now very curious as well. :)

  7. Kyle says:

    I cook from this book almost every day. I’ve got a sweet tooth, but I’ve managed to lose 40 pounds so far.

  8. Bizarro says:

    This book is about eating healthy, whether you want to lose weight or gain muscle or both.

    I think that saying that your friend’s obsession with this book is body dysmorphia is not only wrong, but also rude.

    Not eating healthy is not a “minor defect” it’s a major defect.

  9. michaelprocopio says:

    Bizarro– If you knew the person in question, you’d know there were some serious self-image issues going on, which is all rather pot v. kettle where I am concerned.

    It is, however doubtful that you do. I don’t think I was being rude at all, just pointing out a problem while having a spot of fun with the book at the same time.

    By the way, if your reading comprehension suddenly vanished after seeing the term “body dysmorphia”, you would note that I did, in fact, applaud this book as a good resource. However, I think that if you name something “Muscle Chow”, you are opening yourself up just a weeeeee bit to ribbing.

    Cheers!

  10. miketvs says:

    I enjoyed reading this. Nice voice in the piece. Plus gay food porn is something that haunts us all, I think…

    • michaelprocopio says:

      Ooops! I somehow missed this comment.

      So 3.5 months later…Thanks very, very much! Yes, haunting gay food porn. I think that’s called carbs.

  11. Becky D says:

    This cracked me up!

  12. michaelprocopio says:

    Nice to see you’re catching up on my posts! This is the most-visited post because it contains the words “gay” and “porn”.

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