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Meat is manly. Salad is not.

It's a scientific fact. Researchers at Northwestern University have found that men tend to choose what they perceive as masculine foods, like gravy, rib-eye steaks, and foods described as "hearty," over supposedly feminine foods like red wine sauce and fillets and "luscious" salads, providing support for the old adage that real men don't eat quiche.

Their study, published in the current issue of Social Psychological & Personality Science, reveals that men are more likely to select a greater share of dishes that have masculine features from a menu when they're given more time to mull over their picks. Women, on the other hand, are less concerned with ensuring that their choices conform to gender norms.

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The findings suggest that men tend to forgo their intrinsic preferences to conform to a masculine identity, the study says. So while they may actually want to eat quiche, they might change their mind and order steak instead to keep up appearances.

That's good news for women who aren't as hung-up on gender-based choices - more quiche for them.

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About the Author

Wency Leung is a general assignment reporter for the Life section. Before joining The Globe in early 2010, she has worked as a reporter in Vancouver, Prague, and Phnom Penh. More

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