What makes the modern man; what are the constituent parts? The equation, if you will. It can be a heavily loaded question and, of course, the ideal changes with the idealist, but there have to be a few fundamental basics. Matt Moore, singer-songwriter, entrepreneur and author of "Have Her Over for Dinner: A Gentleman’s Guide to Classic, Simple Meals", and the Double R. Ranch take on the weighty matter of what it takes to be a modern, post-Millennial man. The answers may be something of a surprise…
Cast iron skillet – Heavy, durable, and inexpensive – cast iron skillets retain even heat while blackening, roasting, simmering or sautéing. The best part? It lasts a lifetime.
Go-to steak recipe – “Men should know how to cook, even just a few simple dishes,” says Moore. “There is nothing nicer than to be able to prepare a romantic dinner at home with good wine and quality ingredients.” Don’t know where to begin? Pick up some filets from the Double R. Ranch Co. The quality is top-notch.
So, using your new skillet (see above), bring things up to medium high heat until it’s hot. Liberally season the filets on both sides with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper. Next, sear the filets in the skillet for 3-4 minutes on each side (Don’t touch it! Allow the meat to cook undisturbed to create a nice sear, i.e. flavor). For thicker cuts, place the steak into a preheated oven at 350 degrees to finish cooking – until internal temperature reaches 135°F for medium rare. Remove steaks from heat, place on a cutting board and tent with foil – resting for five or so minutes to allow the juices to redistribute. Serve. No offense to vegetarians, but let’s face it: You are never going to see Wolverine chow down on a salad.
Bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon – To know your meats, you have to know the wines that go with them. That doesn’t mean you have to become a sommelier, but you should have the stand-bys on, well, stand by. With bold flavors, lush fruit aromas and spice, Cabernet Sauvignon goes perfectly with steak and is an assured crowd-pleaser. Pride ($68), Cliff Lede "Stag's Leap District" ($60) and Dominus Estate ($169) are all great choices.
Firm handshake – Not so strong as to cut off blood flow (overcompensation is as bad as being a limp noodle), but a strong grip immediately bespeaks of solid confidence.
Dark sports coat – It goes with just about anything, and gives an elegant flair to everything from a button-down to a tank top. Advises Moore, “A sports coat never goes out of style. In today's casual era, more and more men are skipping out on the business suit in favor of a sports coat. It's versatile, and provides a dressier feel when paired with jeans, or it can fit right in with the business crowd when paired with dark slacks and polished shoes.”
Pocketknife – We are not talking about walking around armed with a machete, but you’ll never know how bad you needed one of these things until you start carrying one every day. Opening letters, sharpening pencils – a dependable pocketknife is the real man’s accessory.
Cologne – “I think more and more men are attune to always looking, feeling, and smelling their best,” notes Moore. American men tend to eschew it, possibly due to years of overly precious marketing, but cologne is ubiquitous across Europe, Asia and Latin America. There is no one-size-fits-all here, but stick with woodsy notes of musk, spice and leather to make your inherent masculinity smell even better. Be sparing; swim laps in it and you risk asphyxiating the room.
Pair of boots – Think more along the lines of John Wayne than "Urban Cowboy": Simple, sturdy, understated. A good pair of boots will last years and never go out of style. Whether riding a motorcycle, on a stroll, or even dressed up under a pair of slacks, this classic look evokes a “timeless man” feel with a touch of attitude.
Personalized stationery – Don’t knock it. The written word always carries more punch than anything digital. Make a memorable impression by sending hand written notes on card stock paper with your full name in letterpress at the top.