Sexes can taste the difference

Treat your dad to homemade spicy nuts
Treat your dad to homemade spicy nuts

There is a story that food writer Simon Cave likes to recount which starts with him enjoying a nightcap in a restaurant.

“One of the chefs said, ‘Do you know, I served meat to eight out of 10 of the men, and fish or goats’ cheese salad to eight out of 10 of the women that came here today?’ recalls Cave.

This “silly throwaway” comment stayed with Cave. He talked about it with friends - the idea that men and women make different food choices - and decided the chef had hit on something.

And this is the inspiration behind his new book, ‘Manly Food’.

Researching what to include in the book involved quizzing people on what they’d expect to see in it, and Cave wasn’t surprised to discover that the same responses cropped up time and time again.

“They all said the same: Meaty things. Spicy things. Things that are hearty. Sour or bitter drinks,” he explains.

If you like the cut of Cave’s jib, here’s a simple ‘Manly Food’ recipe that the kids can help with while dad relaxes on the sofa this Father’s Day.


(Serves 6)

500g unsalted mixed nuts (such as almonds, pecans, cashews, hazelnuts, walnuts, brazil nuts, peanuts)

1tbsp butter

3tbsp fresh rosemar leaves, chopped

1tsp cayenne pepper

½tsp chilli powder

1tbsp salt

1tbsp brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas mark 6. Place the nuts on a baking tray and toast in the oven for 5-10 minutes, or until golden. Turn them once or twice.

Melt the butter in a small pan. Remove from the heat and stir in the rosemary, cayenne, chilli, salt and sugar. Toss the nuts in this mixture to coat them well, and serve warm or cool.