Every man should have a few recipes – five or so will do it – that he knows by heart and can whip up if he needs to scrape together a simple dish in 30 minutes or less. Most of the time, cooking is really about eating, so maximizing efficiency makes sense. That said, your kitchen is not dissimilar to a workshop, and taking the time to tinker with your tools can be rewarding to both the mind and the palate. Cooking projects that involve simmering fish stock, pickling vegetables, or tiptoeing into molecular gastronomy can be intimidating, especially after you've seen those reality shows featuring furious chefs. But cooking doesn't have to be intimidating. That's what cookbooks are for.