First came the shed, man’s supposed sanctuary surreptitiously stowed away at the bottom of the garden or better still, adorning an allotment. Next came the man cave – a quiet room or corner where the man of the house could hide away and enjoy his hobbies, undisturbed. Be it playing obtuse vinyl records, digging into DIY, getting carried away on computer games consoles, or just watching really big TVs, whatever he was into, in the late 90s the man cave was a must-have for men of a certain age. In case you were wondering, the moniker was apparently spawned by the popular novel of the time, Men are from Mars, women are from Venus. Now, several decades after the book’s publication, the man cave is now fading from fashion in favour of a new masculine nook, one that resides in the kitchen.
According to new research from Mintel, men are now spurning DIY tasks and instead aspiring to become better chefs. Their research found that 40 per cent of men are confident about cooking a meal from scratch compared to just 32 per cent who felt similarly assured about tackling household DIY jobs. The significant rise in gourmet gadgetry is thought to have played a part in luring men into the kitchen. So, if the man cave has now relocated to the kitchen, what ingredients do you need to make the perfect new wave man cave?
You might start off with the basics – a really big American style fridge freezer, a toaster that does more than two slices at once. Next on the list are the chef-y gadgets like a pasta machine, a tagine and a mandolin. Before you know it you’ve got a mini blowtorch in the back of your cupboard and you’re shopping for a sous vide machine that can be remotely controlled by an app on your smartphone.
The first wave man cave was very much about multimedia; stereos, games consoles and speakers commonly adorned walls and floors. Now it would seem they have at least partially been replaced by a brigade of blenders and spiralizers.
It may seem somewhat contradictory that a trend that’s partially fuelled by the future of culinary technology is also harking back to more traditional times. However, with the likes of brewing, baking and home curing becoming more popular, a lovely larder should be top of the culinary cave inclusion list. Pantries and food cupboards have been making a huge comeback in recent years. And they’re not just the preserve of those with an impressive collection of spices, homemade jams and pickles. If you grow your own herbs, having a larder to store them in can help you make better use of them in dishes. They’re also a handy place to keep demijohns of homebrew and wine. Definitely a must have for craft beer enthusiasts.
While cooking itself can be a very personal affair, the enjoyment and sharing off food is a very social hobby. With this in mind, a culinary man cave needn’t necessarily be a place to seek solitude. In fact, it could very likely end up as a spot for entertaining and showcasing those hard practised skills. For those that love cooking outdoors as well as in, bi-fold doors make the perfect entrance to a kitchen cave.
Floor to ceiling wooden doors like these from Vufold can help things cool down when things hot up a little too much in the kitchen, which can happen all too quickly when a dinner party is on the menu. Floor to ceiling doors are also a great way to encourage the flow of dinner and party guests when hosting sophisticated soirees, because whatever the song says, it’s not great to find too many people in the kitchen at parties, particularly if you’re trying to cook in there. Opening a kitchen has the benefit of giving more direct access between the dinner area and the main food prep area, so guests can keep company for the chef. You can also deck out your perfect cave entrance with wooden table and chairs, atmospheric lighting and a fire pit or chiminea to keep guests warm while they enjoy after dinner drinks by moonlight.
Do you have a man cave in your home? If not, do you think a traditional man cave or culinary one is more likely to carry favour? Perhaps you like each space to feel equally open to each member of the family?
Nb. Collaborative post.