Regardless of whether or not one has a girl about to handle food preparation a few things require the masculine touch. Barbecue of any kind comes immediately to mind. So also are making large quantities of staple products. Given the current state of the American food industry, home-cooking is making a virtue of necessity.
Liquid Smoke is a great example. Most commercial brands are short on flavor and long on price. It's gotten so bad that many cooks have stopped using it altogether; even though they enjoy the great taste of smoked foods. Liquid Smoke (properly made) is very useful. Some people haven't the advantage of owning a smoker or for health reasons can't enjoy smoked foods. The original version goes through a simple process by which the smoky flavor is retained while removing the chemicals to which some people are sensitive.
Besides those considerations, it's much more efficient to use Liquid Smoke for a single meal than to spend either hours smoking dinner; or dollars for over-priced smoked foods from the supermarket.
Liquid Smoke was invented in 1895 by a chemist named Ernest Wright. Wright was the owner of a small drug store. In those days drug stores typically carried chemicals for various household uses. And it is very simple to make.
Take 1/2 cup of Sunflower Oil and heat it a simmer with 2 tbsps. of Smoked Sea Salt and simmer over low heat (do not boil). When simmering, add 1 tsp. of 100-proof vodka. Remove from the heat and let stand one hour, stirring occasionally. It should then be strained through a fine sieve. Put into a half-pint jar and seal. This will keep indefinitely.
Smoked Sea Salt may be purchased online---or made with a smoker yourself. To do the latter, spread sea-salt crystals in a pie-plate or even tinfoil. Bring your favorite flavor of wood chips to 350 degrees and smoke for one hour.
If buying online, Smoked Sea Salt can range wildly in cost. But some of the more economical brands are excellent. As of this writing, Salish Alderwood Salt and El Dorado Mesquite Sea Salt are around $30 for a 5-lb. bag. The Maldon Company of England sells a cold-smoked brand---it's more expensive, but a six-dollar, five-ounce box is enough to make at least a pint of Liquid Smoke.
Once made it can be added to meats, beans, soups and stews---anywhere. About 1/2 tsp. is usually enough for any dish. One good trick is to mix it with melted cheese.