comments 7

Review: Man With A Pan by John Donohue (with Giveaway!)

Review: Man With A Pan by John Donohue

Man with A Pan is a collection of essays by guys who share my passion: cooking for their families. Not just one or two showy meals, not just grilling while the wife makes the rest of the meal in the kitchen. They find satisfaction in cooking every day. Some are writers (including some of my favorite food authors, like Michael Ruhlman, Mark Bittman, Mark Kurlansky, and Paul Greenberg), most do something else for a living. They all love to cook.

This book felt like walking into a room full of old friends. Every essay had a note that resonated. From the satisfaction of feeding your family, the pride of well-honed kitchen skills, to the frustration of kids who only appreciate hot dogs and chips. These guys are my tribe: men who decided to be the primary cook in their house. They came to that place from a variety of starting points, but they all want to be in the kitchen when dinnertime rolls around. I loved reading their stories, learning about their triumphs and tribulations.
*John is an artist and writer for the New Yorker. Which leads to my other reason for loving this book – the essays are separated by cartoons about men and cooking. Of course, it has the one that inspired me to learn how to cook, not just follow recipes.

The Giveaway:
[Update: Our winner, as chosen by Random.org, is commenter #7, Patrick Smith. Patrick, please email me with your contact information no later than Wednesday, June 22nd. Congratulations!]

In honor of Father’s day, we’re giving away a copy of Man With A Pan!

To enter the giveaway, leave a comment in this giveaway post on my blog, telling us about a man in your life who cooks. (if that’s you, even better!)

The Fine Print:One entry per person, and please make sure there is some way I can get in touch with you through the comment. (In other words…no anonymous comments, unless you identify yourself in the text of the comment.) The comment has to be in this post on DadCooksDinner.com; emails, entries on my Facebook page, and messages sent by semaphore will not be considered for the drawing. Only entries from North America will be accepted (since I’m paying the shipping).

Entries will be closed at 9PM EST on Sunday, June 19th, 2011. I will randomly select the winner at that point. The winner will be announced Sunday. If I am unable to contact the winner by Wednesday the 22nd, I will pick a new winner. Good luck!

*Enjoyed this post? Want to help out DadCooksDinner? Subscribe using your RSS reader or by Email, recommend DadCooksDinner to your friends, or buy something from Amazon.com through the links on this site. Thank you!

Sharing is caring!

Filed under: Uncategorized


Hi! I’m Mike Vrobel. I’m a dad and an enthusiastic home cook; an indie cookbook author and food blogger with a day job, a patient spouse, and three kids who would rather have hamburgers for dinner.


  1. Patrick Smith says

    Many years ago, my wife and I – busy professionals we thought we were – seldom cooked at home. One night when we did decide to cook something and called our young daughter for dinner, she came into the kitchen and asked “Where are the bags with the burgers…..”

    Things have changed since then. Not only do we cook six nights a week at home, I try to get home early so I can start the preparation process. I really like it best when I can get dinner cooked and ready to serve by the time my wife gets home.

    I started out burning meat on the grill, then got a cheap smoker and burned it on the smoker. I started studying grilling and smoking like I was studying for the bar exam, and over time, got pretty darn good at both. Then I developed an obsession – borne of my rural upbringing – with cast iron dutch ovens, skillets and griddles. I found a treasure trove of vintage cast iron cookware at my parents farm and got all the pieces re-seasoned and it top notch cooking condition. I learned to cook fried chicken, pot roasts, brunswick stew and other meals that brought back memories from my youth.

    Now, I consider myself the primary cook in the family (except for baking – that’s my wife’s territory – I can’t follow a recipe except as a go-by), and I can’t wait to try new dishes and techniques. I’m even looking forward to a real small catering business for BBQ, fried chicken and fried fish when I “retire.”

    My how things have changed since “Where are the burger bags?”

  2. Anonymous says

    I’d love to give this to my husband who bought a cookbook the week b4 we married and hasn’t opened it since.

    Thanks, Kitty


  3. Davidwhitney167@comcast.net says

    I retired “early” to become stay at home Dad. Cooking for my wife and two kids is much more satisfying than chemical manufacturing. I do relate to your posts on getting kids to try new foods. My next goal is rotisserie
    grilling. Keep the posts coming.

  4. I am the cook in my life. My girl freind trys to and does ok, but mostly leaves it up to me. I relly enjoy it and sometimes wonder if I should have pursued cooking as a career. Always enjoy your posts, keep them comming.

  5. Michael says

    I’m pretty much the cook although it’s just for my wife and me. I prefer to do the meal planning and spearhead the meals. I never really got into cooking until my pay was radically cut and I couldn’t go out to eat anymore. Figured if I couldn’t buy it, I’d just make it.

  6. Fletch says

    I never thought I would be the cook of the house when I was younger. My Mom sent me off to college with a couple recipes, so she knew I wouldn’t starve. I could make chili, tomato sauce and a couple different soups. After college when I met my wife she told me her idea of cooking was heating up things in the microwave. So one of our first dates I made her real fettuccine alfredo and I’ve been cooking for her ever since. Now I have 2 more picky eaters at home. I’m lucky to have 2 kids that will try new things, but are quite honest when they don’t like something.

  7. Declan says

    My wife doesn’t cook as all of her time is spent working or caring for our three kids. I’ve been improving my skills as best I can in the kitchen as a result.

    I made a large porkloin withnthe adobo spice paste recipe from your site using my kettle with new sear grate from weber. It came off the grill looking perfect. I then sliced it up and placed it in a tupperware container so we would have something ready for dinner later in the week.

    As I was pouring the porkloin’s juices into the tupperware container, I knocked over the bottle of Ajax (with bleach!). It landed directly on top of the pork (which in the sink so that any extra juice wouldn’t make a mess). Of course, the AJax started pouring out all over the sliced tenderloin. It was an epic fail.

    Regardless, that won’t change my love of cooking.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.