Muscle Chow: Lessons in Gay Food Porn

| June 6, 2008 | 8 Comments
  • 8 Comments

Muscle Chow book coverA 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 kidney 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-Poppin’ “Tapioca” Pudding.

Cheers.

Peanut Butter Muscle Bombs

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.

Preparation:

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 it’s 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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Category: Bay Area Bites Food + Drink, books, magazines, newspapers, cookbooks, recipes

About the Author ()

I am terribly fond of martinis, Edward Gorey, and sleeping with many pillows. You are more than welcome to follow me on Twitter: @procopster
  • KiltBear

    OMG, you are too funny. I was terrified at what the Colt Men link might actually end up pointing to… but are the recipes REALLY good for you?

  • http://toddmundt.com Todd Mundt

    This is officially the best BAB post ever!

  • Eric

    I recently found you guys on http://www.chef-blogs.com, and I have to say that I love your blog! This post hits home with me, as I have the last Men’s Health cookbook, “The Abs Diet”. I’ll definitely have to find “Muscle Chow” and compare the two.

  • http://www.canisitwithyou.org Shannon

    Your god daughter overheard us discussing this post and cannot wait to make Peanut Butter Muscle Bombs with you.

    And you owe me one computer monitor cleaning and nasal lavage, even though I should know better than to drink tea while reading your column. Traffic cone, indeed. Naughty!

  • Deborah

    First of all, having just come from your examiner.com post, I have to say I’m enjoying the continuing saga of your flaxseed oil enriched smoothie imbibing friend. Second of all, upon seeing those peanut butter muscle bombs, I’m sure it’s no coincidence that I am reminded of Alec Baldwin’s “Schwetty Balls” and Chef’s Chocolate Salty Balls.

  • http://michaelprocopio.wordpress.com/ Michael Procopio

    Hey everyone, thanks for the great comments!

    KiltBear– The Colt link was actually the first one I could find without anything x-rated on it, so there you go. And, yes, the recipes are, by and large, good for you. I think. I haven’t tested many of them, but they read healthy.

    Todd Mundt– Thanks! The pressure to produce is now on…

    Eric– Wait? There’s actually an ab-targeted diet? We are all doomed.

    Shannon– Oh dear… and just what exactly did the child overhear? I hope it wasn’t the part about the traffic cone.
    I will make the bombs with her, but I think we’ll roll them in crushed peanuts rather than flax. Agreed?

    Deborah– Well, I certainly hope my flaxssed oil-enriched smoothie-imbibing friend is speaking to me after these posts. As of yesterday, he had yet to read this one.

    And, yes, I’m sure where your mind led you is no coincidence.

    Now, if you will excuse me, I am off to meet with my personal trainer to discuss the benefits of my new ab diet, thank you.

  • Aruni

    Michael –

    I am truly speechless…teary-eyed from laughing so hard, but words really escape me.

    If I ever hazard this recipie, will leg warmers, matching terry-cloth head and wrist bands, and a Olivia Newton-John soundtrack be requisite prep items for a culinary foray into Muscle Chow?

  • Bryan

    you might want to consider grinding the flax seeds in a spice mill then rolling your balls in them.
    because whole seeds are too hard to digest, you dont reap full nutritional benefit unless they’re ground.