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The Four Corners of a Man’s Plate:

I know, a plate is round. But for most men, a plate has corners. That is, there are four sections and certain things should happen in those sections. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner of our plates, many women are hoping for a nice dinner with a man. With hopes for all that going smoothly, let’s take a moment and quickly review the various quadrants of a man’s plate.

The reason I make the distinction is that I can’t really speak for what women want on their plates. I know that after something like five years of dating, they’d like to find a ring or at least some dialogue about “the future” on their plates. But other than that, I find that women are more open to a varied and even exotic dining experience than men are. A woman goes crazy when a waiter sets down a plate that has something like fuzzy orange vegetable shavings and a weird wafer of some sort making a kind of miniature Martian vacation home out of the entrée. If the entree has somehow been configured in a non-traditional way… such as a fillet of fish cut into the shape of a fish… all the better.

What men want to find on their plates is exactly what they were thinking of when they placed their order, and by God it had all better be found in the correct corners of the plate.

To the right is the meat. Let’s not kid ourselves: Most men want beef and since there’s currently no information regarding a beef shortage, that piece should fill up most of the right half of the plate. There is an exception to this “rule of volume” and that’s when the beef is something special like fillet mignon or Kobe or some hybrid like “beefalo.” I’m not endorsing meat here; meat is a very inefficient and non-green way of getting nutrition. But before there’s any serious action on that, men will probably order a few more steaks and expect them to be bigger than a child’s shoe.

If there’s still room, then the upper right hand corner should contain the potato or potato variation. Lately, restaurants have taken to serving French fries in silver cups with white paper liners. I have no idea why this presentation works except maybe that we all secretly wish we were riding a train to San Francisco in 1947. Restaurants watching their margins love potato variations because they fill up the corner of the plate and you can get a lot of “golden potato snowshoes” out of one potato and some cutting device from France.

Front left: Vegetables. Women feel men don’t like vegetables as much as they should. Well, we love vegetables. Just as long as there’s a bowl of dipping sauce for them in the back rear left corner of our plates. That sauce can be just about anything, although regardless of what it’s made from it should at least look like it has mayonnaise in it. I’ve become a huge fan of vegetarian mayonnaise because it has a pretty good flavor and the oils used to make it are good for heart health. But what makes it work is that it behaves, structurally, just like real mayonnaise. Men like sauces because there’s something about the consistency of them. Oh, now I remember… it’s because they have the consistency of mayonnaise.

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