Megan's piece in the latest issue on our luxurious, abandoned kitchens is a really good read. But this really caught my eye:
When my grandmother was growing up in the 1920s, the average woman spent about 30 hours a week preparing food and cleaning up. By the 1950s, when she was raising her family, that number had fallen to about 20 hours a week. Now, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, women average just 5.5 hours--and those who are employed, like me, spend less than 4.4 hours a week. And that's not because men are picking up the slack; they log a paltry 15 minutes a day doing kitchen work. One market-research firm, the NPD Group, says that even in the 1980s, 72 percent of meals eaten at home involved an entrée cooked from scratch; now just 59 percent of them do, and the average number of food items used per meal has decreased from 4.4 to 3.5. That's when we're home at all: by 1995, we consumed more than a quarter of all meals and snacks outside the home, up from 16 percent two decades earlier.
In all seriousness, I'd be very interested in seeing how hours in the kitchen stack up with hours worked, commute time, and occupation. You don't make a lot of money as a writer. But your schedule is fairly flexible. I think I easily put in two hour a day in the kitchen. Of course I don't have a dishwasher. (I also don't have a lot of gadgetry.) Most important, I have those hours to give because my commute is almost nonexistent.
Of course none of this explains the man/woman gap. My 10-year old spends more time in the kitchen then the average American "man." Brothers, I am disappoint.