Sunday, August 5, 2007

On Men and Muffins

by Caren Crane

Recently, a very dear friend (who happens to be a great writer) had me read something for her. It was in first person point of view (POV), which I use a lot, and she had both the female and male protagonists "speaking". I never do that, so I looked forward to it. And it was great! Until...we got to the first chapter in the hero's POV.

See, the hero was feeling a little off-kilter (because of the heroine, of course) and was thinking of luring the heroine to a coffee house. And he thinks (because we're in his POV) that coffee and a muffin will fix him right up. STOP!!

As a dear friend (and reader), I had to point out that very few men - especially heterosexual ones - would ever think that a muffin would "fix him right up". While it is true that most men need more fiber in their diets how many (under 50) actively think about this? A rather low percentage, I imagine, unless they have a medical condition that has forced them to be aware of it.

Now, I happen to be in possession of one of these under-50 men who desperately needs more fiber in his diet. But I have to be tricksy about slipping it to him. So here, for all the people in your life (maybe even you) who need some fiber, is my Banana Bran Muffin recipe. Please note (Joan), my youngest daughter took home a ribbon from the NC State Fair with this recipe. The judges comment said, "So moist!" *g*

Caren's "Fiber Up Your Man" Banana Bran Muffins

1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
2-1/2 cups bran flakes cereal
1 1/4 cups milk
1 egg
3 tbsp canola oil
2 very ripe bananas (so ripe you'd never eat them)
1 tbsp dried cranberries
2 tbsp raisins (any type)

Stir together flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon and baking powder in medium bowl; set aside.

In large mixing bowl, combine bran flakes, milk, dried cranberries and raisins. Let sit for at least 5 minutes (don't skimp on this part, let it sit a while). Add slightly beaten egg and oil; mix well (by hand). Mash bananas into bran mixture with a fork and stir to mix.

Add flour mixture, stirring only until combined. Portion batter evenly into 12 cooking spray-coated 2 1/2-inch muffin pan cups (no liners).

Bake in 400 F oven about 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve warm or cold (they probably won't last until they're cold!).

Back to my friend's story. She went back to male POV chapter and took out much of the reflection for her guy altogether and used a different style for him going forward. It felt so much truer to his character and turned out to be a really great book!

So, do the men in your life actively worry about fiber in their diets? In your experience, do men really think about things like their health at all if they're not actively experiencing a heart attack? I'm fascinated by this!


Keira Soleore said...

In that scene, Caren, if it had been my husband, I would've written a bagel.

My hubby is careful about what he eats, not that he won't indulge himself once in a while. But in his daily diet, he makes sure to get in enough fruit and veggies, nothing too fried, nothing too sugary, whole grains, and exercise. So I'm lucky here. I didn't have to do anything. He came trained. :)

Aaaaaieee! Keira-swinging-by-from-the-rafters-ALONE

Joan said...

Congrats to your daughter's win Caren!

This time next week, I'll be up to my bucket boots in State Fair baking. Only doing small cakes/cookies this year. No muffins....but I'll just tuck this away for the future.

The man I'm around is my brother who only recently at the age of 47 seems to be taking an interest in his health. I'm glad....surprised, but glad.

But you couldn't get him to eat fiber unless you fried it.

Move over Kiera....I don't feel like going to the gym today!

jo lewis-robertson said...

I agree, Caren, that most men under fifty don't pay ANY attention to diet, excercise maybe, but not what goes into their mouths! I have four grown sons and none of them pays attention to those health issues. Sheesh, didn't I teach them better??

Loved the muffin recipe. I'll try it.

Cassondra said...

HA! Caren you are so ON the money with this one. In fact, in my experience, most men don't worry/think/notice about much of anything unless it is a)level 5 or above on the scale of painful b)movies c)weapons (okay, this is my particular man and his particular friends) d)sports e)whatever is on tv or their news homepage THEN.

No introspection whatsoever. Years ago I listened to a class from a conference about this. Suzanne Brockman was the instructor and it was a great and funny lesson. I paraphrase what she said...If your heroine walks into a bar wearing a red dress, the hero is not going to notice the empire bodice and little cap sleeves. He's going to think, "$&#$, she looks great in that dress." or "Wow, that dress is RED." Not burgundy, not claret, not cinnamon, but RED. (grin)

As far as food, my husband is SO self aware, that when he's ill with a stomach virus (or other ailment that causes one to worship at the porcelain throne) and just getting over it, while most people look at food and go "ew," he craves ......drum roll please.....foot long chili cheese dogs from Sonic.

Yup. Real healthy any day.

Caren Crane said...

Dearest Keira, do please be careful swinging in the rafters. There was an ugly middle-of-the-night incident involving a Bandita (I refuse to name names *ahem*), a snifter of brandy (or 4) and a set of rafters.

This may or may not have something to do with why Alan Rickman gets to stand in for my husband today. *whistles innocently*.

As to your darling husband, good job on picking him out! Mine, unfortunately, was very cute and charming (along with some other admirable qualities) but was never trained in things like proper nutrition. The battles wages on chez nous! Your husband will probably adore those muffins. *g*

Caren Crane said...

Joan, I'm fairly certain that the NC State Fair has something that is both high fiber and fried. They fry everything at our State Fair! In addition to the usual funnel cakes, fries, onion rings, etc., we also have delicacies like fried cheesecake and candy bars. *g*

Good luck with your entries this year. My daughter (now 12) is considering a cake. The pressure!

Caren Crane said...

Jo, I hope the muffins help you slip your guys some fiber. They make great gifts! *g* Really, you can throw in whatever fruits and things appeal to them most. I've conned my husband and son with these for years!

And I'm sure you did teach your sons better. I'm fairly certain my mother-in-law taught my husband how to clean. Somehow, these things don't carry over to adulthood. Interesting how that happens. *g*

Caren Crane said...

Oh, Cassondra, that made me laugh! Chili cheese dogs. That reminds me of my best friend's husband. My friend and I decided to have a "Mediterranean Night" for our families and a few friends. We had stuffed grape leaves and hummus and Persian salad, Persian rice (love the tadikh!) and my beef khoresh (which is fabulous, if I say so myself).

My bff's husband showed up with two cheeseburgers in his coat pocket. This despite the fact that he's in his forties and his young-sixties father has had bypass surgery twice and his young-sixties mother keeps having mini-strokes. Heaven forbid he should try some healthy cuisine!

Aunty Cindy said...

I was WONDERING how Alan Rickman got into your post about muffins and fiber! Not that Aunty was COMPLAINING (she has lusted after the naughty, luscious-voiced Alan since he was the villain in the first "Die Hard" film), mind you. Just WONDERING (and enjoying the view)!

As for that *ahem* unfortunate incident last night involving broken brandy snifters, thank you for being the soul of descretion in not naming names and further sullying reputations. Although Helen needs to be careful where she walks (esp. if Lord Nicholas has give HER one of his infamous foot massages) in the library.

And darling Keira, posting at 6:15 AM! Surely you didn't expect anyone to be conscious at THAT HOUR to swing through the rafters with you?!?!

who smells suspiciously of brandy

Donna MacMeans said...

Caren -

You are so right to draw that eating consciousness line at 50. Although my husband has always been health conscious in regards to exercising, he suddenly began to be conscious of his eating when he hit the big five-oh. He started taking those fiber capsules so I don't worry so much about fiber, but getting fruits and vegetables in his diet has been a struggle. He seems to have discovered this year that the green stuff in his buffalo chicken
salad is actually edible.

The Ohio State Fair is now in progress and it sounds remarkably like the NC state fair. Everything is on a stick and deep fried. The grease kind of hangs in the air around the midway. Hey - but it's a tradition, right. And traditions have no calories!

Christie Kelley said...

Because of some health issues my husband has always been very concerned about what he eats. However, this has increased greatly as the 5-0 keeps creeping closer. We're now doing mostly organic foods and more fiber and vegatables.

Of course, several years ago when I mentioned the importance of organic foods, he brushed it off saying that it cost too much. Funny how things change as we get older.

Helen said...

My hubby should really worry about what he eats but alas he looks at me with this blank look on his face when I try to tell him I always make sure that we eat lots of fresh fruit and vegies but unfortunatly I work till 630pm at night so he cooks most of the main meals and although he cooks vegies he isn't careful about how he cooks them.
I will be defiantly trying that muffin receipe they sound yummy.
Have Fun

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Fiber? There's FIBER in food? Heehee. Actually, my dh is really great about diet. This only began, however when we had children and he began to notice that I actually fed them multiple fruits and veg. Ha! "Heeeeey," says he. "You think more fruit and veg might help me keep up with them?" Vain hope, think I, but never one to disdain the effort, I told him I was sure it would. He now credits a "good diet" with keeping him in shape to play hard core basketball even tho' he's at the big 5-0. And Caren, check this out:
You too, AC. I LOVE me some Alan Rickman. NO one could play such a brilliant Snape, much less the villain in Die Hard. Grins, La Duchesse

Deb Marlowe said...

So true about things changing when we get older. Used to be when I asked my dh what he ate at lunch he would answer: "Snickers and a coke." Ugh.

Now he has a salad with his snickers and coke. :-)

Now, my pre-teen son is very concerned about eating healthy--until you tell him that big slab of steak is not so great for him, then he decides that oh, maybe just this once....

Caren said...

AC, any excuse to throw Alan Rickman on the blog will do!

Donna, good news that the hubby is taking the fiber pills! Now just keep him away from the funnel cakes at the fair...

Christie, you are so right about how our attitudes change. We spend a lot more on food now, especially whole grain everything and organic fruits and vegetables. When the kids were little, it was whatever was fast and not too terrible (nutrition-wise) that they would actually eat. Now, they all eat very well!

Helen, keep working on the hubby! They can, as noted in Donna's post, change their habits. It helps if you can find something they love and throw it on a salad (like the buffalo chicken!). My husband will eat anything with (light) ranch dressing!

Deb, rest easy in the knowledge that your son is still young. He has decades to reverse the effects of the red meat! Just wait, soon he'll be a vegetarian and protest the slaying of any animals for food. Funny what ten years can do!

Jeanne, off to watch the You Tube clip. Will post afterward...

Caren said...

Jeanne. Oh! My! I hope Aunty Cindy is safely seated on a chair she won't fall off when she views that! Alan Rickman is simply divine. "Poetry In Motion" indeed! And it made me want to watch the movie where he was in the hair cutting competition again. [navigates away to find IMDB listing] Aha! "Blow Dry" (1991). If you haven't seen it, definitely worth adding to the Netflix queue!

Anna Campbell said...

Caren, thank you for Alan Rickman! Sigh.