Towards a Less Split Kitchen

Cooking should be a skill that all people — not just women — cultivate.

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photo by Kara Mihm

NASH’s foods classes teem with male students who are learning that the importance of life-long cooking skills has nothing to do with gender.

Kara Mihm, Staff Writer

Brace yourself for news that might be scandalously controversial: barbequing is not equivalent to cooking.

Sure, the definition of cooking is the act of preparing food for consumption, and barbequing technically fits the description. However, slathering sauce onto a piece of meat and routinely flipping it requires minimal skill and commitment.

Yet the relatively simple act of supervising the outdoor grill for a weekend afternoon allows many men to shirk kitchen duties for all other meals.

Knowing how to cook is a life skill and, for parents, a time-consuming responsibility — one that regularly falls on wives and mothers.

Excuses such as “a long day at work,” “cooking takes too long”, and the kitchen is a “woman’s place” just don’t hold up in the modern era, where women make up nearly half of the American workforce. But beyond the need to carry their fair share of household duties, men have a lot to gain from learning how to cook.

The future is untold, so who knows whether a boy will grow up to be married or remain single? They may even become a stay-at-home dad or a single parent. Regardless, cooking should be at the forefront of their knowledge.

To begin, buying one’s own ingredients is much more affordable than purchasing prepared food. Forbes calculates that on average, cooking from scratch at home is five times less expensive.

The foods classes at NASH embrace the idea that basic food knowledge should be prevalent in both men’s and women’s lives. (photo by Kara Mihm)

By taking the extra bit of saved cash from at-home cooking and putting it towards buying nutritious ingredients like whole grains, vegetables, and lean proteins, a healthy diet is not as difficult to attain as one might believe.

In fact, the difference in price is not as shattering as one would think. It is estimated that the addition of healthy foods costs only $1.50 daily per person.

This is especially important for men, as poor eating habits can lead to a long-term threat of heart disease, which is twice as prevalent than in women. 

In addition, if a dad is a single parent, the significance of their own diet does not only rest in their hands but the diet of their children too. Clean living starts with what one puts into their body, and unfortunately, a poor diet during childhood can create bad habits that permanently stick with them for the rest of their lives.

And to those men who are wed to prolifically talented wives, you are not off the chopping block, either. Long gone are the days when the majority of women stayed home, catering to domestic needs around the house. Whether both parents work, or one stays home, preparation of meals should not be entirely up to one spouse.

Imagine arriving home from an eight-hour workday, just to jump right into the recipe book as one’s partner sits on the couch ten feet away watching television. In that situation, frustration would be an understatement.

It would not be unfair of me to say that years of arguing over household obligations can easily turn into divorce papers. Instead, split up the tasks or alternate days of cooking. 

Of course, there are plenty of men who understand how to follow recipes and even create their own. In fact, data collected in 2012 suggests that males still dominate in professional kitchens, with only 18.7 percent of chefs being women.  Even here at NASH, male students are in abundance in the Foods classes.

Hitting net worths of above $220 million dollars, male chefs like Gordon Ramsey and Jamie Oliver first started honing their talents in modest household kitchens. Who knows what talents one’s brother, father, husband, or son could produce with years of experience? Maybe by picking up the frying pan and spatula, they will hit a net worth valuing millions, too.  At the very least, they’ll make things a little easier for those who live with them.