Men and Cooking- a complicated relationship
It’s an interesting paradox. Most cooking duties are traditionally handled by women, but most professional chefs (and virtually all “celebrity” chefs,) are men.
Why are we, as men, so adverse to spending time in the kitchen? Just about every guy I know (with the exception of a few food-weighing cyclists…) loves to eat, and more of us are focusing on “clean,” high quality foods.
You do get a bit of a pass for eating less than healthy stuff if you can make it yourself from good quality ingredients. Craving fried chicken? Pick up some sustainably raised chicken, marinate it overnight in some organic buttermilk and spices, and fry it in your cast-iron pan in some coconut oil. It’s that simple, and not only healthier than Popeye’s, it tastes way better as well!
A lot of this has come up for me recently. I’ve always loved to cook, and am obviously very interested in health and nutrition. Recently, reading Michael Pollan’s Cooked has gotten me thinking about how we, as a society, have moved out of the kitchen. Not just in the US, but around the world people are cooking at home less. When I tell someone that I have a wild-yeast sourdough starter that I bake with, or that I am making a lamb curry, or that I fry my own chicken, more often than not they’re surprised. First that I’m a man who cooks (don’t worry- my wife is also a great cook who enjoys it.) But there’s also and underlying surprise that anyone who isn’t a full-time homemaker still cooks at home.
There are all sorts of theories that claim the major increase of women in the workforce during the second half of the 20th Century is the reason fewer people cook at home. Sure, it’s certainly more difficult for a woman to work all day, then come home and cook for her family. That’s obvious, so why aren’t men pitching in?
It doesn’t exactly have to be a gourmet meal, either. There’s a joy in simple dishes. A simple omelette can be really great, without a huge production. The act of creating your own meal is a powerful, amazing thing that men shortchange themselves out of by staying out of the kitchen.