I Feel That This Is A Valuable Life Lesson

Your funny comments about how some of you also have husbands who see soup as more of an appetizer than a meal made me think of a conversation that D and I had one afternoon when I was planning a big shindig for church.

And I don’t want to oversell it, but I really do believe that if you are a newlywed, the information I’m about to reveal to you could quite possibly change your marriage forever.

Oh yeah. It’s that good.

So about three years ago I was cooking for something at our church, and I was in menu-planning mode. I had four or five cookbooks scattered on top of the dining room table, and I was trying to find a main course that would be simple to fix for a large crowd. I was primarily looking at casserole recipes because those are easy to make ahead of time, and at some point D wandered into the dining room and asked what I was doing.

I filled him in on the details, and I showed him three or four of the dishes I was considering.

He got very quiet, and after about thirty seconds, he said, “You know, I don’t think these recipes are your answer.”

I quickly started to rattle off an alphabetized and itemized list of all the reasons why my selections would WORK JUST FINE, THANK YOU, but D just grinned and said, “There’s something you’re not thinking about.”




I figured I might as well humor him, so I said, “What’s that? What am I forgetting? Because as you know, I’VE NEVER COOKED BEFORE EVER.”

“Well,” he answered, “it’s simple. Men like identifiable meat.”


“Men like identifiable meat. We like to know what we’re eating. If the chicken or the beef or whatever is buried in a big ole casserole and we have to ask someone what we’re putting on our plates, we don’t like that. We like to see a hunk of meat on our plate.”

I thought this was quite possibly the most profound statement I’d ever heard.


It’s brilliant, really.

And since that day, I have never planned a meal at church without making sure that we have an identifiable meat. I have made this pork tenderloin recipe more times than I can count, and let me just tell you: serve it with some warm Parker House or potato rolls, and men will swoon.

They will swoon verily, I say unto you.

And a lot of times I don’t even have to cook the main course myself. I’ll just pick up a bunch of chicken from Popeye’s or some big trays of pulled pork from a barbecue place. There’s a local restaurant that does great fajitas to-go, and I can buy trays of chicken and beef already cooked for less than I could go buy all the ingredients myself.

And the meal, it is delicious.

And the men, they are happy.


The end.

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  1. I love this! I just read it aloud to a roomful of four guys and one of them shouted “Amen!” I think you’re on to something.

    And my Hubby said “That’s good writing.” So, good advice, well said.

  2. My husband can’t stand casseroles. But I have learned if I just call them something other than casseroles like maybe “Mexican deluxe” or “Spectacular chicken”…..he will eat them.
    And I don’t even attempt soup.

  3. Yep. My brother-inl-aw will pull the meat out of the casserole to make sure there is enough before proceeding to eat. This probably helps him identify it as well. Too funny.

  4. Maybe next time I’ll ask for it with the horns still on.

  5. Such a succinct yet profound truth! Love it! Words to live by…

  6. My dad has said this for years. My husband definitely believes it too. Actually, just bring some fried chicken and my husband is happy! It is identifiable after all! :)

  7. Too true. Most of the church food never passes the lips of my finicky husband. Aside from the unidentifiable meat issue, there is the fact that 87% of the offerings are salads of some sort. Another favorite of men around the globe. Ha ha.

  8. May I just say for the record that, I have the best wife husband any woman could want? Not only does he BBQ like a dream, he can throw together am mean pantry casserole on lean days when I’m too lazy to shop.

    And enjoy it.

    Oh- and he loves long baths. And walks on the beach.

    For rental information, just email me.

  9. Your D is that rare man: not only can he identify a problem, he can express it in words.

    Now Lamar, when asked, “Why? WHY don’t you like this?”, either gives me the caveman grunt or the ever helpful, “I don’t know why, I just don’t like it!”

    Gah!! And all this time all I had to do was leave a beak or hoof on that piece of meat and he’d have loved that meal.

    Who knew? Ya learn somethin’ new every day!

  10. I have to agree that this is completley true! My husband loves identifiable meat. He can make a meal on meat and meat alone.

  11. Love that pork tenderloin recipe…I have made it several times, and my kids like it too! Now if only I could get it to go on sale…

  12. My go-to for ze big monthly potluck at church is a giganto pan of smoked sausage that I throw on the grill ahead of time. WITH GRILL MARKS.

    Just a quick zap in the microwave before serving and it’s good to go.

    Enjoy with a giganto bottle of Sweet Baby Ray’s Honey BBQ Sauce. Mmmmm…

  13. The soup can be considered a meal if you crumble any crackers in it.

    One exception to the ID rule- chili. Men will eat chile just to see if it makes them sweat. It also helps spur on some “I double dog dare you’s”

  14. It’s like the old saying goes, “Vegetables are what food eats.”

  15. To piggyback onto Big Mama’s comment, one of my favorite t-shirts at a BBQ place here in Texas asserts, “I didn’t claw my way to the top of the food chain to be a vegetarian!” To which my husband generally reples, “Preach it!”

  16. my husband loves casseroles… as a matter of fact, one of my kitchen mottos is, “when all else fails, a casserole”. but he does enjoy the identifiable meat thing as well. i think the casseroles can come later in a marriage or relationship ie when one is used to your style of cooking and or familiar with your recipes. :o) but i did read this to him and he said, “yep, that’s true”.

  17. Identifiable meat. I LOVE THIS! So cute. And yes, my husband would “verily” agree. ;-)

  18. THAT… is brilliant.

  19. Have had this very same conversation… “Kel, what is on my plate?”.
    I now have a great answer… identifiable meat!

  20. I’ve been married 13 years and this is just profound! As I look back at all the times I fixed unidentifiable meat I can see where it scared him. NO MORE!! Thank you for sharing this with us. Even after all these years.

  21. So true.

    That’s the secret behind the McDonald’s chicken nugget. We all know that ain’t chicken in there, but since they stamp it into shapes (i.e. circle, boot) it becomes a legitimate food for us.

    D is a wise, wise man.

  22. Bailey's Leaf says:

    Okay, that explains my husband’s meat thing/need for meat. However, I’m in the dark about “Parker House.” I’m assuming that they are rolls, but being from the north, we don’t have congealed salads or “Parker House.” Do tell!

    BTW, we have tree lawns, we drink pop (which involves any flavor of fizzy soda drink), and we have sprinkles — not jimmies– on our ice cream! I’m sure we have other goofy stuff, but I can’t think of anything regionally specific right now!

  23. OHMYGOSH that is the answer. I didn’t know it! i mean, i KNEW he didn’t like my delicious casseroles, though they are delightful, easy and yummy. I knew he they were an issue- but your husband has enlightened me- after 8 years of marriage. wow. this has changed my life.

    identifiable meat.

    i shall never again be the same.

  24. Misslisslee says:

    And your husband may be honored at the city gate … or tailgate, as it may be, for a wife who Understands the Law of Meat.

  25. How true! I knew this, but had never heard it or thought of it this way! Now my husband does like casseroles. Honestly, I don’t know if he really “likes” them or not, but he’s always just thankful to get something to eat and will eat most anything put in front of him.

    It is so funny though…your story about D and the soup. My husband thinks the same thing. After the soup, he has this look like…”Ok, where is the rest of it?” I think that is just with certain soups…like soups with NO MEAT! :-)

  26. OH MY GOODNESS, that is so true… I am laughing hysterically, because that is SOOOO TRUUUUUUUUUUUUUE. I have finally gotten my husband to enjoy a few casseroles, as long as he knows ahead of time what’s in it. But he likes a hunk of meat, a pile of starch, and a little smidgeon of vegetables, possibly a salad… I think you just may have saved a new marriage or two if they heed your warning!

  27. This is genius, pure genius! And that pork tenderloin recipe looks fantastic – I bet it would do nicely in the crock pot as well. Thanks!

  28. I’m surprised Paul didn’t include your marriage changing advice in Ephesians 5 with the OTHER marriage stuff; it is THAT good. ;)

  29. boomama,

    i think you have a future in the beef/pork/chicken council.

    their slogan is a little sad and old right now. beef. it’s what’s for dinner. psh.

    i think YOUR idea of “meat. if it’s identifiable, your man will SWOON,” works a LOT better.

  30. Heck, I’m not even a man and I like to know what I’m eating. Don’t you think I won’t be making this for dinner tomorrow night! (Thanks, Sophie!)

    PS Fortunately I married a man who likes to eat food, identifiable or not. He eats way weirder stuff than I do. Fortunately, our kids inherited their taste buds from his side of the family.

  31. THAT is profound! I’ve never thought it, but you’re so right. That’s something to keep in mind next time you’re cooking for a potluck or what have you.

  32. Ah. This makes me sad.

    When I was newly married and working my husband through college, necessitating him to do the cooking, I distinctly remember saying: “can we just one day have meat, potatoes and a salad? I like to understand what I’m eating.”

    Apparently I’m the man in our family.

  33. thank you for more perfectly expounding the word to us today!

  34. I like that – meat is IDENTIFIABLE!

    child development – share your journey with us

  35. Maybe this is why my dad won’t eat “those casserole type things”…I never thought of this before. I’m going to have to get my mom to read this one :) Although, asking her to read a “blog?” on the “world wide web?” might make for a confusing phone conversation :) I’ll just print it out for her if that’s ok with you.

    PS: I might be very excited for the podcast that the THREE of you are going to do this weekend. it seems extra exciting to have a third southerner to listen to :)

    I wish I had an intelligent question to ask…but, alas, I cannot think of a single blessed thing.

  36. Identifiable Meat.

    Ha ha ha ha ha….!!!

    I never knew this secret…Thanks!

  37. When we were dating, the first time I made a one-pot meal (cheesy chicken and broccoli with elbow noodles), my now-husband asked where the meat was. Um, in the mix. The veggies? See that green stuff? And the starch? NOODLES! He was not impressed.

    Now that we are married and I work night shift, he is lucky if I cook anything at all. And he eats what I make, or else he is welcome to tuck into a bowl of Cheerios.

    Works for both of us…

  38. Where was this fabulous advise when I was newly married! After spending an entire day putting together a home made beef stew….after hours of tenderizing, cubing, stirring and waiting, I served the homemade meal to my new husband for dinner. Without even taking a bite….he excused himself from the table to grab the peanut butter for a quick sandwich. I asked him why he didn’t try it…and without being too graphic…he answered something about “not eating something that looked like the dogs had regurgatated!” O.K……..we BOTH had some serious lessons to learn…and he has never repeated those ugly words relating to my cooking efforts…AGAIN!

    Had I only known, the meat must be recognizable!!!!!!!!!!!


  39. My husband happens to like casseroles AND leftovers — I am truly lucky. It’s a good thing he does, though — because we basically live on those two things. But every now and then, I make sure to serve up some yummy identifiable meat, as a special treat for him. I can’t completely take advantage of his kindness, right?

  40. I’ve just been enlightened! : ) Thank you very much!!! That’s one to remember.

  41. THAT is a funny post :) Thanks for the smile!

  42. That is brilliant. It’s something that I’ve known about the men in my life for a very long time. You made me laugh out loud with this post.

  43. I feel so guilty. For 17 years I have blamed my MIL for my husband’s hatred of casseroles. Who knew it was a man thing?

  44. Well, I feel better now. My honey despises unidentifiable food! And I secretly back him up on it, because, really, I actually hate casseroles too! I just won’t admit it!

  45. Love it!! I’m sure my husband thanks your husband too! I don’t know why women like to make casseroles (way too easy) but men don’t necessarily like to eat them?
    Love the recipe – I’m going to try it for supper tomorrow night. Thanks for passing it on!!

  46. D, he is a genius. My husband thanks him.

  47. The pork tenderloin recipe sounds awesome – I’ll try it. Because, after all, it is IDENTIFIABLE. And that’s key. But why is it, that underneath that recipe on the linked page, there is another link to how you can “lose 15 pounds” – are the two related in any way? As in, if I eat lots of IDENTIFIABLE pork tenderloin (with all the fixin’s of course, because heaven knows you can’t eat the stuff ALONE), the pounds will magically melt off?

  48. I enjoyed this blog so much I shared it with my husband. He says that you have a real gift with words and he found this to be funny and entertaining-also very insightful. He’s not a literary expert or anything, just an old guy who likes a hunk a meat.

  49. Oh. . .you slay me. . .

  50. Ok, this should be posted before all potlucks at church. My sweetheart tells me that he doesn’t understand why they call it pot-LUCK, really, it ought to be pot-UNlucky or pot-try-your-luck which never ends very well.

  51. ROFLOL…. Gotta tell you this. Went to the grocery store tonight. DH wanted me to get a frozen lasagna for dinner. I picked a 5 cheese one, because I LOVE cheese. :D DH was at the checkout and says, “they didn’t have one with meat?” I said, “I wanted cheese.” Then I asked him if he liked “identifiable meat.” He said he didn’t know about most men, but he certainly did. ROFLOL So thanks for the advice. ;)