There was more to Ward Cleaver than meets the eye. Way more.
Even though he was the ultra-typical 1950’s American dad in the hit comedy television series “Leave it to Beaver,” he had a dark side. The clue can be found in his last name. In the show he was never seen to cook (except for that episode with the barbecue), behind the scenes, Ward Cleaver was very different.
When not primped up for the television show looking like he does in the photo above, the real Ward Cleaver looked more like this:
Yes, Ward was a member of the barbaric Clan Cleaver known for their unrepentantly savage approach to culinary barbarism. The meals Ward created were unrefined. He cut with an axe, stirred with a severed pine bough and cooked over open flames that occasionally licked the ceiling. Recipes never turned out the same way twice. Sauces were sleazy, curries were courageous, and he always simmered on high. He would intrude up the dreams of foodies, turning them into nightmares. Although Ward Cleaver’s meals were wildly unorthodox, his family didn’t mind. His wife, June, was just happy she didn’t have to cook. And if Wally or the Beaver complained, Ward would simply raise a cleaver to signal his intolerance to criticism.
Why Ward’s escapades in the kitchen never came to light in the television show can be answered with one simple explanation– he was a man way ahead of his time. Were he alive today, Ward Cleaver would have his own cooking show on the Food Network. He would be performing live cooking demonstrations at county fairs right next to the guy selling car wax. But, alas, Ward Cleaver is no longer with us. Instead, we can attempt to follow his fine example, and live with the same spirit– the spirit of the barbarian in the kitchen.