START A PETITION 25,136,189 members: the world's largest community for good
START A PETITION
x

The Role of a Man in the Kitchen

The Role of a Man in the Kitchen

Men (in the most general of terms) have been wandering into the kitchen, with a sense of distinct purpose and not just to raid the fridge, for at least a decade or more. What used to be a characteristically feminine arena, with technology and gadgetry marketed to simplify and ease the drudgery of cooking, is now a masculine proving ground with all manner of gear, gadgets, and hardware (Case in point: I have a friend who recently used a bone saw in his kitchen to do some unspeakable act to dinner). Cooking shows, which also used to be dominated by chatty hostesses offering daytime companionship and a plethora of time-saving kitchen tips and tricks have been replaced by firebrand chefs/hosts with Hummer-sized egos, creating and prompting culinary challenges more than promoting ease of use. The kitchen is now officially a battleground for the hearts and minds of American men, offering adventure, achievement, and triumph, as well as dinner for the hungry masses.

Say what you will about this trend/development, but I would like to think that it is an improvement upon the days where most men wouldn’t darken the kitchen door except to pass through to gain quick access to the garage. 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. I happen to be one of these enterprising home chefs, although to a far lesser degree than many, and have inadvertently shoved my wife out of the kitchen door and established it as unmistakably my domain. This was not my intention, and has rendered me as the sole cook for the entire family, without exception.

This phenomenon has been the source of amusement for many, a means of culinary pleasure for some, and just over the last few years, has become the object of disdain for a few cultural critics that find men in the kitchen to be downright obnoxious. Hanna Rosin, a columnist for the Atlantic Monthly, recently penned The Rise of the Kitchen Bitch, a half-hearted smug attack on the male invasion of the kitchen, and the lost female dominion over the kitchen. For Rosin, who refers to this new breed of culinary men as “Kitchen Bitches,” (not her coined term, but one she uses playfully) sees this newly cultivated interest as part liberation (for women) and partly an affront to feminism. “The first wave of feminists considered liberation from kitchen duties, along with liberation from housework and enforced vapidity, an absolute must.” Rosin muses, but male cooking, for Rosin and a few other dismayed women, is turning out to be one of those feminist-friendly changes that come with an unexpected, bitter aftertaste. As Rosin cites, men cook “to show off for an admiring crowd or simply for the pleasure of it. Women cook because they’re expected to and because the people around them have to eat.”

Now I am unable to be wholly impartial on this one, seeing as I am one of the offending perpetrators, but in my own defense hardly as domineering and “x-treme” as some men I know, but does this argument ring true for anyone, or is it simply grousing and ritual dissatisfaction? Is the presence, if not dominance, of a man in the kitchen a good thing for everyone, or an unfortunate stress on the relationship? Can this be chalked up to gender growing pains? Do gender rules even apply anymore?

Home chefs, and former home chefs, are encouraged to serve up some hot commentary and remarks on this one.

Related: The Man of the Stove: How Manly is Everyday Cooking?

Read more: Blogs, Following Food, Food, Men's Health, Relationships, , , ,

have you shared this story yet?

go ahead, give it a little love

Eric Steinman

Eric Steinman is a freelance writer based in Rhinebeck, NY. He regularly writes about food, music, art, architecture, and culture and is a regular contributor to Bon Appétit among other publications.

49 comments

+ add your own
7:51PM PDT on Aug 3, 2012

I'm bed-bound and my partner has been my only carer for over 9 years. She's now completely exhausted and ill herself, so Social Services have provided me with a care worker for an hour a day to cook meals, do anything that needs doing and basically give my OH a break. I have 3 different workers coming in on a rota, 2 females and 1 meal, all between the ages 20-30. My favourite is the male one, as he is friendly (they all are really) but he's a very adventurous cook, willing to share ideas but also knowledgeable enough to work independently when we're not well enough to talk to him. (I often have periods of temporary paralysis and inability to talk.)

I think it's great that men nowadays are less inhibited when it comes to cooking, but also that women are able to let go of traditional role models. My mother says she is a feminist, supporting women's rights and equality, yet she won't let my dad in the kitchen as she says it's her job to feed him, so he is pretty much helpless when she's ill or in hospital. That's such a shame.

I personally feel that, no matter what sex you are, if you enjoy cooking, you should. Furthermore, if you're in a relationship and you both see cooking as a chore, then it should be shared equally.

5:14AM PDT on Jun 17, 2012

Thank you

6:52PM PDT on May 23, 2012

i may have accidentally left my comment under my bfs name.. Josh Martindale. Point stealer. lol

6:47PM PDT on May 23, 2012

Men, cook if you love it! Or if your partner needs a break or as a surprise date! It's sexy, it's refreshing, and it's nice. Who cares if guys like to cook? More power to them!

5:20AM PDT on Mar 12, 2012

Right after my husband & I got married, he got laid off at work. I was working a lot of long hours, so he started cooking and was really good at it. I hate to cook, so this worked out perfectly for me.
He watches a lot of those cooking shows and always wants to try out something he saw. I don't have a problem with that at all (LOL).

6:16PM PST on Mar 2, 2012

A VERY ABSENT PRESENCE IN OUR KITCHEN!

11:23AM PST on Feb 20, 2012

Interesting article, and I know many men who are very good cooks.

7:43PM PST on Feb 15, 2012

Jane R is right. There is nothing strange or new about men in the kitchen. Actualy there is nothing new about working women either.

2:25AM PST on Feb 15, 2012

I like the idea of men cooking, but when they start saying shit like: "I envy you for being able to breastfeed our baby", thats when it gets too freaky, in my opinion.

11:51PM PST on Feb 14, 2012

J.L.A., my teenage son and his male friends all get together to make cakes for their girlfriends' and other female friends' birthdays. They started over a year ago, and now it's a big tradition in their high school.

add your comment



Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

people are talking

Thanks for sharing, I love ginger and chilis, and bananas, too, but what berries where those at the …

Please post the single pot 5 minute brownie recipe.

Thank goodness after many years of putting artificial sweeteners in our soda and foods we have final…

I am Mrs ANDERSON ANN from USA, i want to share a testimony of my life to every one. i was married t…

I love cucumbers. I chop them, add chopped onion, chopped tomatoes, bell pepper and sprinkle with a …

Story idea? Want to blog? Contact the editors!



Select names from your address book   |   Help
   

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.