I do not love to cook! I like to cook. But I definitely do not love it! I still do it, though, 24/7, 365 days a week, I cook daily. I have a maid to help me with the dishes I make. But cooking, solely, is my responsibility in my family. This seems fair right? I mean women should cook! Right? I have always wondered why this big responsibility has be shouldered solely by women everywhere in the world?
I mean, this is not just in India and other developing economies. This is a common trend everywhere in the world. I used to think this practice is in existence because women were made to stay at home and, well, they just made themselves useful. Women started to come out of the house to work and earn a living, and still kept cooking. I thought maybe they liked to cook. Then I started my tenure as a working mom and found out I do not like to cook (I am woman, why the hell do I hate cooking then?). But I still do it. Why? I majorly cook for my son. Women cook for their kids and men enjoy the benefits.
This got me thinking! So, if women cook for their kids, do women, who do not have kids, do not cook? I asked around, they do! They cook for their husbands, in-laws, and few others (relatives, guests, pets, etc.). So, the world had, somewhere in the evolution of civilization, decided women should cook, whether they like it or not.
They are even looked down on when they can’t cook. In fact, married women will know, it’s stressed on that their primary responsibility is cooking. I remember when around 3 years into my marriage, one day I was cleaning my house like my life depended on it (I was stressed! So, I cleaned the hell out of the house…. I was not gentle) and my dad-in-law had decided to pay us a visit (They live nearby). He saw me cleaning like hell and saw the time on the clock and said, “you can do the cleaning later, look at the time” (it was 7:30 pm; now! I was new to this daughter-in-law thing and thought, he did not want me to over-stress). So, I replied “It’s ok, almost done”. And he said, “start cooking, have you made dinner?”.
Now! do not start hating my dad-in-law. That’s how he knows to show love. And that’s how men have been programmed in every household. They think the primary responsibility of a woman is ‘cooking’. My dad-in-law was obviously worried what his son will eat. He cannot rest assured that his son can take care of his eating needs. Because his son depended on me for food. He was at my mercy for the primary need of any life: food.
I’ve heard dialogs from my friends like “My husband said, go wherever you want, but make my dinner before that”, I have made dinner too for my hubby, I can stay for more time”, “we’ll reach home by 8:00 pm, I will make Upma”, and “I am leaving for a week, so I made dosa batter, chutneys and what not for my hubby and son” (the last comment was me! Yup! I cooked a storm because I thought my husband will starve my son; does that make me a bad wife? Good mom? ).
So, women! Don’t you think it is high time we change this prejudice? Now! when I say prejudice, do not think I mean women are made to slog and suffer. Men, too, are suffering. We give absolutely no training to men. They know slitch, nada cooking. My husband knows to make few dishes but gets into a high-cortisol frenzy (stressed people, I mean stressed) every time I ask him to cook (he looks like the guy trying to disarm a bomb in Hollywood action flicks for the whole time he cooks).
I do not want my son to be this bad in making his own food. For god’s sake even single-celled organisms make their own food. This inequality should change. Men should be enabled to know cooking. I know men and boys are not easily trainable people (I live with one and a half men, I know. It’s like training the raptors from Jurassic park; right when you think you have control, they go and boil the dosa batter thinking it is milk), but, women, let us keep trying. Because, let’s face it, we are the evolved side of the human race.
I never want to hear any one of my friends talk about how they should teach their daughters cooking and household work. What about your sons? Won’t you teach him to make his favorite dishes? Or will you leave him at the mercy of the woman he will meet and marry? Treat your sons equally to your daughters, people; teach them life skills. Empower boys! So, they will become efficient men and will be able to cook a decent meal.