A Man, a Can, a Plan

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Product Description

A Man, A Can, A Plan, inspired by an article in the most popular mens magazine, Men's Health, is a cookbook that presents 50 simple, inexpensive recipes featuring ingredients guys have right in their cupboards--canned food. Great and healthy food can be had for a low price and minimum effort, and A Man, A Can, A Plan lays it all out, in pictorial, easy-to-follow steps, for the culinary-challenged. It features special sections on cooking for her and cooking for the morning after for dudes with a lady on their minds, and its special lay-flat design makes it incredibly practical for countertop use. Author David Joachim received the 1999 James Beard Award for Steven Raichlen's Healthy Latin Cooking, so he knows his stuff and makes it accessible to beginners and experienced guys as well. Get your can openers ready to rumble!

Customer Reviews:

  • A Man a Can a plan
    This was a gift to a Grandson as he started in his first home away from home. He thought it was really great. My husband also enjoyed it to the point he wants me to order one for us.....more info
  • Tasty recipes, less-than-ideal layout
    My purpose in considering this book was a hunt for recipes that were fairly simple to make, not too unhealthy, and would please four boys of various ages. The book itself is pretty enough (shiny pages!), and it's certainly entertaining to read, but the layout of the recipes is confusing to anyone trying to get all of the ingredients together; it's too easy to miss the "other ingredients" in small print at the corner of the photo. (Since I input all recipes into a computer program, this didn't affect me too much, but book-on-counter cooks be warned.)

    On the other hand, EVERY recipe I've tried has been a wild success with my family -- the 2-year-old, 5-year-old, 13-year-old, and husband ALL liked them. Woo hoo!!

    Considering that there are only 50 recipes and MOST people aren't going to use more than two thirds of those, the price is a little high. On the other hand, how much are new, popular, tasty, easy, health-conscious family-friendly recipes really worth? Recommendation: get it from the library first, to see if it is "for you." I will definitely be giving copies as gifts....more info

  • A first-rate culinary resource for men (and women)
    Compiled by David Joachim (with the assistance of the editorial staff of "Men's Health"), A Man, A Can, A Plan: 50 Great Guy Meals Even You Can Make is an innovative recipe book emphasizing delicious and appetite satisfying dishes that are quick and easy to make from off-the-shelf canned goods. The recipes are printed on laminated cardboard-stock pages that are resistant to cooking mishaps and easy to clean with a damp washcloth. From Mandarin Chicken Express; Fish in a Blanket; and Mexi Chili Pie; to Spud Skins with Bean Salsa; Mushroom Meat Loaf; and Fruit-Cup Shortcake, A Man, A Can, A Plan is enthusiastically recommended as being first-rate culinary resource for men (and women) who enjoy appetizing meals but hate investing extensive time to prepare them....more info
  • Great book for beginners
    I bought 2 of these books for my daughter who is in college and living in an apartment. They are simple, quick recipes for someone who doesn't want to have to eat out all the time, who wants to save money and make a real meal. I liked that they are also low fat recipes as well. Now, they are probably not as tasty as what you can really do with real chicken instead of canned - or with lots of training and time, but that's not what these books are for. If you want gourmet recipes and cooking tecniques, look elsewhere....more info
  • Not For My Guys!
    The cost of buying ingredients to prepare some of the recipes are about the same as two meals at a fast food restaurant. My two college guys say, "Why bother with messing up the kitchen"?...more info
  • Recipes that high school wrestlers love...
    My two sons are high school heavyweight wrestlers - that means that they are hungry ALL THE TIME. We got this book and now they can make quick, relatively healthy meals that they really like. It's a godsend!!! I am buying extra copies for them to take college (our home copy is staying right here)......more info
  • A Man, A Can, A Plan.
    The book is exactly what it says it is, but be warned, the recipes are actually nutritious. I was expecting something including more potato chips, M&M's and cold, left-over big macs.
    The meals are easy to construct: they can be done in little more than one wreck and a lap or two. (If you're watching a particularly good race you may want to organize the ingredients after the first wreck and put them together and nuke them after the second.)
    If you pretend the recipes are not good for you they seem to taste better.
    (Hints, are also given to impress the ladies when they stop by!) ...more info
  • plan for the can
    I bought this book for several of my male friends who have mild cooking phobias. As mentioned by several other reviewers, it would have helped for the book to have a clearer diagram of all ingredients, but overall, the book took a lot of the guesswork out, and really made the recipes look less like a recipe and more like a diagram to assemble shelves. I think "seeing" what they are putting into their meal made it less daunting.

    The food is (don't tell this to them) really healthy overall, as well, which is a major bonus. They, too can cook with fruit! Vegetables don't have to be harvested by hand to be a good part of a meal!

    Great (and funny) gift for a guy who may just need a little nudge to find his way into the kitchen....more info
  • Great First Step for Non-Cooking Bachelor
    I think that this book serves it's purpose beautifully. It was bought for me by my girlfriend, who was growing tired of my "I can't cook" mantra. I'd been given The Joy of Cooking in the past, but the realistic chance of me suddenly making a pot roast out of the blue were pretty much nil.

    This book is great because it assumes you know _nothing_ about cooking and walks you along in baby steps, using mostly cans and easily bought foods with basic cooking skills. After having made several of the recipes (all of which were easy, quick, low cost, tasty, and reasonably healthy), I'm starting to experiment with other ingredients and may look into other "real" cookbooks in the future.

    I would highly recommend this book to anyone with _very_ little or no cooking experience. I think it fills a niche nicely. It's put me in the kitchen cooking, which no other cook book has been able to do. Highly recommended....more info

  • my college age son loves this cookbook!
    My son loves this cookbook because it is easy. I am not sure I am thrilled about the nutritional value of the recipes but he does eat fruit as well. It's a good starter on cooking for boys in college !...more info
  • Does the job, but watch the fat content.
    Does the job, but watch the fat content.

    I just purchased this book for my brother: single, turning 30 soon, completely burnt out on fast food, but not an experienced cook. It makes cooking easy and accessible, a good introduction cook book. However, billed with the brand name "Men's Health" I was not expecting some of the recipes to be so high in fat and calories.


    -Super simple recipes
    -uses "man" language dump, slop - no measuring
    -does include nutrition content for each recipe
    -made of pre-school grade cardboard, should hold up against spills and other abuse
    -includes humor that is mostly not too corny: "cook till its golden and jiggle on the top, like Pam Anderson."


    -some recipes (about 15 out of the 50) are outrageously unhealthy- 600+ calories per serving and over 50% of calories from fat! I could easily see a guy eating more than one serving. None of the rest of the book is really what I would call healthy, ( it is from canned food after all).

    -ingredient list is misleading. I don't understand what reasoning the authors used, but three ingredients appear prominently with pictures, while other ingredients are listed only in the directions section. Example: at a quick glance it appears that a recipe only needs a can of ham, a can of beans, and some shredded cheese which appear in full color photos. Yet on the bottom in tiny print it says also: salsa, chips, and oregano. These are not optional garnishes, but ingredients in the dish. To me it defeats the purpose of having such a simply laid out ingredient list when you have to read small print to get the rest.

    Bottom line:

    If he does not use this book to cook from, he'll never cook anything. Not recommended to promote weight loss.

    ...more info
  • A Great Buy for the Beginning Cook
    This book is nearly perfect for its intended market. Some users complained that the recipes weren't exactly gourmet, that they were not appetizing enough, but they are not intended to be anything fancy.
    I bought this book for my boyfriend, who was too intimidated by any of my cookbooks to give cooking a real try. He just wanted to be able to cook his own dinner. This meant he would only have to visit the grocery store once a week, so the ingredients would have to be common enough for him to have in his pantry. It also meant the recipes could be cooked in less than an hour with a minimum of preperation, make small servings, and be relatively nutritious. He now makes dinner fo rme sometimes, and they're not half bad. Some of the recipes I refuse to try, but that's a matter of personal taste, not because the recipes are bad.
    The book gives detailed information on ingredients, preperation time and skill needed, nutrition, and is simply laid out and is easy to read. A great buy for your guy, college students, or any beginning cook....more info
  • Better Go To McDonalds
    Unless you're hungry enough to eat the nice cardboard pages, this book will do little to appease your appetite. You're better off at the McDonald's drive thru. There was only one recipe my crew would even consider trying, and the ingredients were not on-the-shelf-staples....more info
  • Easy, Fun coking
    I bought this cookbook for my son, he read it immediately and began picking out recipes. This will be heavily used and with ease. Love the Book!...more info
  • A good start to expanding your cooking vocabulary
    As a college student without too much time, resources, or experience cooking, I started getting sick of the same old plates of pasta and hamburger helper meals. A friend of mine lent this to me and although some of the meals I tried are not too good, there are a bunch that really do taste great. Plus, it really helped me start out cooking more 'real' things for myself and it is very simple. It gave me a few ideas of my own and helped me expand into more advanced meal preparations. This book is great for the lazy, inexperienced college student....more info
  • Fast, easy, simple.
    I bought this book for my husband who does not cook. He actually looked at the book, picked out recipes, and fixed some of the food. The directions were simple and they even provide pictures of the ingredients so you know what exactly to buy. The book is cute and is very simplistic. It is not for the gourmet, the dieter, or anyone who likes fresh vegetables. As the title implies, most recipes use only canned food. On the plus side, the recipes are simple, easy to prepare, and do not require a lot of planning. The results vary from edable to pretty good....more info
  • Great format (esp for novices) makes up for some vile recipes
    "AMAPAC" was my first foray into the field of cooking. Two aspects of this book caught my interest 1) the cookbook itself is a brilliantly designed construct, with spill-proof pages and lay-flat design and 2) the recipe formats are masterpieces of visual instruction, with iconic brandname representations for each of the major ingredients and very simple, "open this can and that bag and heat" instructions. Also in its favor, 3)the accompanying text is also pleasantly humorous in spots and very much appropriate to its audience of "guys".

    Sadly, I found that as easy as the recipes were, most of them produced mediocre-to-crappy results, and there were very few recipes that I wanted to try again.( In defense of the book, I'm pretty sure that the author got the very best results possible given the constraints of the format, and I was such a poor cook in the beginning that Escoffier himself might not have been able to do anything with me). And the book only had 50 recipes to start with - not a very good value for the price. So I gave it away, and went looking for a "real" cookbook with "real" recipes, and eventually got a better start with Russ Klettke's "A Guy's Gotta Eat", which was much more helpful both in terms of the quality of the dishes it produced and the motivation and encouragement for young men new to kitchen environs.

    Still, when my nephew started moved out of his mother's house to live on his own, I got him a copy of this book (and the sequel, AMAPAC 2) along with the Klettke book, in the hope that he would learn to eat something besides microwave dinners and fast food take out. He liked the design of the books immensely, and he will definitely eat better with this book than without it.

    In summary: great concept, design and format; but the recipes are barely palatable. Get it if you have absolutely no clue in the kitchen, or you know someone with that problem. Much more suitable to the young male audience than "Semi-Homemade", but anyone with more than 6 months of experience in the kitchen would choose "Semi-Homemade" without hesitation. ...more info
  • Great for the novice cook
    I bought this book for my father when he was newly widowed and had no idea how to cook for himself. These 50 recipes, presented by Men's Health magazine, are quick and easy and seasoned with a dash of humor. This is a good book for the beginner because each recipe uses only a few basic ingredients, mostly from cans. Its thick paperboard pages provide clear cooking instructions, photos of the foods to be used, nutritional information, and additional cooking and nutrition tips. The categories of "real guy" meals and snacks include ham, chicken, fish, chili, beans, SpaghettiOs, veggies, fruit, and beer (yes, beer!). Some of the recipes are rather strange (stirfry SpaghettiOs, or drunken corn), but for the most part they are far better than the steady diet of fast food and junk food that a person might otherwise subsist on if unable to cook. I recommend it for anyone, male or female, who is at a complete loss about the mysteries of the kitchen.

    Eileen Rieback...more info

  • tons of fun
    i bought these books for my brother the first time he lived on his own, and they were a blast to look through and cook out of....more info
  • Good, easy recipes -- but, yes, you do have to cook them.
    When I first got out in the world, it amazed me how many of my friends didn't have the slightest idea how to make a real meal.

    Remembering my early experiences, I bought this cookbook for my two boys (12 & 13) so they could get some experience making real meals themselves. Yes, as other reviewers note, you do actually have to cook (use a range or an oven) and, yes, some of the ingredients are not in cans. (Thankfully, you can buy frozen, pre-chopped onions...) If you can get past the horror of that, the meals so far have been very tasty and easy to prepare (and more important, clean up after.) The quantities are realistically large for human males.

    This is, in my estimation, a great book for its purpose of giving the inexperienced some food options. The layout could be a little better -- it should make the "you also need..." ingredients more visible. But I do like the gimmick of showing pictures of the actual cans you need for a given recipe. The book will go out of date fast, but not before the user has learned what to pick off the shelf....more info

  • Even GIRLS like this book!
    That's right, it's not just for men. I really enjoy this book because the recipies are EASY, require minimum ingredients that are easy to find in the grocery store, and taste good! They even provide nutrition information, encourage using low-fat products, and provide suggestions and facts about the meals/ingredients to vary the recipies! You just cannot go wrong here!...more info
  • Not Worth It
    I liked the concept of this book, but none of the recipies are appitizing. The combinations of ingredients are un-imaginable and purely disgusting!

    For the same concept and much better recipies, I recommend The Can Opener Gormet by Laura Karr instead!...more info

  • Easy Enough for a Man
    Bought this for my nephew who is a freshman at college. Full color pictures of all recipes and very basic ingredients. He liked it....more info
  • A Great Cookbook for Men and Women!
    This is a great cookbook for anyone who is learning how to cook, or for someone who wants quick simple recipes!
    Very few ingrediant recipes, that also include pictures of the ingrediants needed, such as a can of tuna. It gives a new cook a picture so they know what to look for at the store.
    The recipes are also created so that they are healthy, which is always what I am looking for.
    I would recomend this cookbook for anyone!...more info
  • I wouldn't feed this stuff to my dog
    I ordered this book and i was sorely disappointed. There really wasn't one meal that i considered to be even edible. If you're one of those guys that'll eat whatever, this book is for you. Also, if you like lots of can corn,tuna,or beans. However, if you like to actually enjoy what you eat, i don't recommend this book. I thought i would get at least one edible useful recipe. I understand that its supposed to be easy and quick, but that doesn't mean you should have to sacrifice taste. As mentioned by one of the other reviews, this book is insulting to men that can actually cook a halfway decent meal. Not to mention, there aren't even very many recipes in this book. This book is not a cookbook.Its a book that puts together random canned stuff and puts it together in a bad attempt to make a meal out of it....more info
  • Simple Meals in Minutes
    I love this book! The recipes are good, wholesome, and easy to prepare. I especially liked the feature that shows you via pictures what canned goods or other ingredients are needed to create your "gourmet delight." I've tried over 1/2 of the recipes in here and not one is bad or hard to prepare. Being that they are simple with few ingredients, you can embellish them to your liking by substituting ingredients or changing quantities, and such. A nice basic cookbook for those who hate to cook, are cooking for 1 or 2 people, or are just learning how to cope in the kitchen. The desserts are great and you'll be cooking like Emeril in no time!!!!! I look forward to more books like this....more info
  • A good idea
    The idea is solid, a collection of recipes for lazy or less than competent 'cooks'. And to some extent it does deliver, providing simple recipes that use easily obtained ingredients. The nutritional content of these meals is okay, they make an effort to use low sodium or low fat ingredients wherever possible. The recipes are simple to prepare if not quick to prepare, some require overnight marinades. And it would be nice to identify the tools required for the meals upfront.

    The book does have it shortcomings, the recipes aren't great tasting. The book has only 50 recipes, more than 50 cents a recipe which is quite expensive. Even if cost is ignored 50 recipes is a bit skimpy....more info

  • A Man, a Can, and a Bed Pan!
    Nice concept...Gross Recipies. Could not find one thing I had any interest in making....more info
  • A great idea, though with slightly flawed execution
    Pros: The format of the book is great (complete with the big splatter-resistant pages), was obviously written by a "true guy", the recipes are easy and quick, and has a sense of humor.

    Cons: The "+" format is deceptive as there's often very significant ingredients that don't show up in the ingredient pictures; you also have to read into the recipe just to find out what tools are needed. Given how much sodium is a problem (especially for men) the use of such heavily salted ingredients is odd for Men's Health to use. Most of the recipes are for 4 to 10 servings: Granted most guys eat 2 "servings", but it doesn't make it very easy to substitute for the "Burger-Rama mega-deal"....more info

  • Not what it seems to be:
    About the only thing this book was good for was a good laugh when my wife saw it. It could be a good gag gift for a man that can't cook, just don't expect him to use it. Almost all the meals required a oven or stove top, only a few were "nuked" - plus I don't want to wait a half hour for something to be simmered or baked. ALSO: in small type at the bottom of the page was the "Also:" area that included stuff that was not in a can, i.e. 10 oz can of refigerated pizza dough, 1/2 8 oz can tomato sauce, 1 cup shredded cheese - why bother, just order a pizza or pop in a frozen one. Save your money on this, there have to be better cook books out there for beginners....more info
  • hysterical, great and CAN DO
    when i first saw this book, over a year ago, i thought it was hysterical. now, one year later, i bought the book to help me do research. be forewarned the recipes are geared towards men, but anyone can use this cookbook. it's especially good for bachelors, bachelorettes, college students, or people who don't have a lot of groceries in their pantry and don't know what to do. i for one do not keep a lot of fresh veggies around because they simply go to waste before i can use it for dinner. therefore i have canned veggies. oh, it is cheaper to by it on amazon at $11.+ than at the bookstore. the bookstore came out to $17.+ where as amazon just came in at $15.+...more info
  • "Cooking" for the incurably macho
    Question: what exactly is Men's Health magazine doing putting their name on this silly series to begin with? And why in the world is it published as a board book?

    This is pretty much Sandra Lee's schtick, dumbed down for men who think it's beneath their dignity to learn how to properly use a knife or cut vegetables. The recipes are all lists of product photos, and virtually nothing is from scratch in any meaningful sense of the word. It seems to me that they're trying to reach the Maxim audience, but even Maxim's recipes don't talk down to the reader to this degree. On top of that, it's pretty sad that it's been popular enough to spawn an entire series of equally bad sequels.

    Honestly, I'm not even sure what genre to call this -- it's not convenience food, not by intent anyway, and it's not terribly healthy. So to all those who have bought these books: man up and pick up a knife and some fresh vegetables. Get Alton Brown's book or The New Best Recipe, and try Steven Raichlen's Barbecue Bible for your grilling needs. If you really need to be talked down to like this to feel good about cooking, you're better off ordering takeout. ...more info
  • Great camper's companion
    This little book would be a super camper's companion. Lots of recipes for quick meals, or when you don't want to carry lots of groceries....more info
  • Not a man, but I LOVE this cookbook for our family
    So I bought these cookbooks for my husband on his days to cook (yeah right) and I'm really impressed with them. There are some GREAT recipes in this book series that aren't too bad health wise. I've actually used some of the recipes and they came out really tasty. Hubby even was able to make one and follow the easy recipe no problem. Highly recommended!...more info
  • A Man, a Can, and a Plan
    This is not only a great book for single men,but for busy people who don't have time to cook. Nutritional dishes can be prepared with a minimum of fuss. There is a good variety, and also little hints on easier procedures to follow. I think this book is good to give to the senior citizens in your family who do not like to go to a great deal of trouble to prepare meals....more info


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