Why I Cook

A friend’s 10 year-old daughter asked me: “So, why do you cook?” She was under the impression that only females cooked. I told her that I liked to cook, that it is healthier and more cost-effective than eating out all the time.

All that is true. I really do like to cook. But, I also feel that I have to. Let me explain.

I’m making oven-baked bacon this Sunday morning, as I have this old-school view that it is awesome when my children awaken to the scent of bacon. For Sunday Dinner, I will be cooking a braised main dish (recipe here, but I substitute beef chuck, which is more lean).

I like to braise throughout the fall and winter. This weekend, the temp and humidity have fallen, and there’s a chill in the morning air. It will rain this afternoon. So, a dish that will gently simmer and infuse the kitchen with the scents of beef, rosemary, tomatoes and cinnamon feels like a good call.

But, I also cook because I think I should. I’m a parent to both genders, and I tell my children that domestic duties are the responsibilities of all (previous blog post here). Every marriage dynamic is different. Every couple has to work out a list of chores and who does what.

But, I do think there’s power in showing children that both parents can do all sorts of chores. It’s been said that parenting is more about showing rather than telling. I suspect my children subconsciously will pattern their own marriages and households based on what they saw in our home. And, I hope sons and daughters don’t think that cooking is “a woman’s job.”

It’s fine to have specialized labor. But, I think it’s important to be explicit about these things rather than getting lulled into traditional gender roles. We need to be mindful also of what we are signalling to our children. It’s one reason why I’ve started helping with the laundry. I didn’t want my children assuming it was “a woman’s job.”

So, that’s why I cook.

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