Men In The Kitchen

by Patrick Appel

Hanna Rosin isn't thrilled about it:

I have some women friends who are relieved and even smug about their husbands doing all the cooking. Think of the time they save, and who cares what deglazing means? But for those of us who like to cook, who are attached to this traditionally female, primal way of showing love, the intrusion is a problem. We adore all the other gender-bending second-shift developmentsmen changing diapers and going to playgrounds, men vacuuming and straightening up (ahem, sort of). But male cooking is turning out to be one of those feminist-friendly changes that come with an unexpected, bitter aftertaste.

This statistic doesn't surprise me:

In the last 40 years, the average amount of time American married men spend cooking has tripled, from seven minutes a day to 22, according to time-use surveys. At the same time, cooking has taken on a distinctly guy-hobby kind of feel.

As a male who does the majority of the cooking in his household, I find Rosin's analysis a little shallow. Cooking for me is a meditative process where I get to make something tangible after a long day of mostly cerebral exercise. It is also the only way I will get a home cooked meal on a regular basis. From the same article on cooking Rosin cites above:

[T]he number of hours married women spend cooking has fallen from 88 minutes per day to 48.

I'd guess that the general decline of household cooking has made the ability to cook more a valuable characteristic in a mate, male or female. In short: learning to cook pays greater social dividends in contemporary America than it would in an era where nearly all women would be expected to know their way around the kitchen.