Women belong in the kitchen and so do men, for food knows no gender

Women belong in the kitchen and so do men, for food knows no gender. Photo | Photosearch

What you need to know:

  • Everyone should know how to cook as a basic life skill – not as something on the checklist
  • A man shouldn’t deem you worthy by the layers of your chapatis

My girlfriends came over to hang out with me post surgery, because I couldn’t move around, so they had to come to me. We launched into a conversation about the various kitchen requirements in our varied present and past relationships – namely, who’s cooking dinner? For one of my friends, cooking is something she does when there is has no pressure to do it – at least, if she is going to enjoy it. That journey to shags every Christmas to have to look like the obedient cooking and cleaning wife for a week is always deeply unpleasant for her. During the pandemic, she cooked more, because there were fewer people to cook for, and it was a stress relief. As soon as people had to go back to working in the office, her cooking reduced.

Another one of my friends doesn’t like cooking and won’t do it. For anyone. Unless she’s deeply inspired to cut up a few onions as she watches your process, you’ll never catch her cooking or claiming to be able to. She orders in most of the time, and when she met her boo, they continued to live as she had been living – ordering in when they needed to, and not really having any conversations about what was supposedly expected. A third has never cooked since she got married, and when they first moved in together, they got help immediately.

Then there’s me, who hates cooking. I don’t enjoy the process, I don’t like getting the ingredients together, I don’t enjoy the labour of making something for an hour, only to finish it in 15 minutes. It actually bores me. Most of all, I don’t like the automatic assignation that being able to cook gives you. We live in a society where cooking is a prerequisite for marriage. 

I agree and disagree with this – cooking should be a prerequisite for marriage, but also for life. For all humans. Everyone should know how to cook as a basic life skill – not as something on the checklist.  A man shouldn’t deem you worthy by the layers of your chapatis. A woman’s place is in the kitchen. A man’s place is in the kitchen. Everyone’s place is in the kitchen. The kitchen has food!

Every time I go on a date and someone asks me, “so when are you going to cook for me?”, I am immediately repelled. Maybe they don’t usually mean it as a test, but it always feels like one. It feels like they want to come over, scope out your digs, figure out if you’re that elusive thing called wife material, and then measure your final suitability by what you make them and – gasp! – how you serve them (hopefully kneeling in submission). It smacks of condescension (why is it never the guy offering to cook?) and a cheap date because of course if you’re coming over, the most you have to bring is juice, while I have to do a supermarket run for your bachelor appetites. 

I’ve resorted to saying I can’t cook at all on the first date to weed out the chaff. Then at date number five, I’ll admit to my skills with the three things I actually do make well – breakfast (now that we’re past date three, hehe) roast potatoes (all you do is pop them in the oven) and any type of basic rice.

Disabuse men of the notion that they don’t have to cook (or clean, or raise their own children). It’s this kind of mentality that makes men completely forget the skills they learnt in their mother’s houses, or in university – after all, SOMEONE was cooking (you can’t all have had too-dutiful university girlfriends). Knowing your way around the kitchen should be compulsory for everyone, and this whole concept of men getting married to have a live in maid should be retired by Vision 2030 – if not yesterday. 

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