What’s required of a man depends largely on context. A medieval blacksmith might need to know how to replicate a Damascus sword, while a pastry chef in a fine dining establishment circa 1997 would be an expert in plating tiramisu atop a swirl of raspberry coulis, and never the twain shall meet. Yet there are a small fistful of skills so fundamental, so downright useful, that they transcend time, place, and profession. Here they are.

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