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One of the oldest and easiest jokes to make regarding the differences between men and women deals with the prowess each gender has when it comes to cooking. Men allegedly only possess the ability to let frozen pizza sit in an oven for 20 minutes or burn meat on a grill while drinking beers. As a result, they are not to be trusted with any culinary duties unless there’s an extreme emergency, in which case the problem is usually remedied by ordering delivery.
Women, meanwhile, are naturally domesticated and can cook anything and everything flawlessly, as if it’s an inherent trait developed at birth. If you’re a real misogynistic asshole, you might even say that the kitchen is where women belong and if they stray too far away from the stove, they are to be reprimanded and told “GET BACK IN THERE AND MAKE ME A SAMMICH!” Without women slaving away in the kitchen preparing three-course meals for us every night, men would likely starve to death.
Of course, the reality of this is much different. In fact, a recent study conducted at the University of North Carolina shows that a greater percentage of men in the United States are cooking at home now than at any point in the past three decades. Let’s take a look at the numbers and see if we can take a crack at explaining this recent phenomenon.
One other big change: They’re more likely to be men. A higher proportion of American men — 43 percent — are cooking these days than at any point in the past 30 years. Meanwhile, they’re spending more time than ever before — 49 minutes a day — doing so. Those are up from 38 percent and 40 minutes two decades ago.
By contrast, 70 percent of women cook these days, a bump from the 67 percent that cooked two decades ago but a definite decline from the 88 percent of women who cooked 40 years ago. And they’re spending 71 minutes a day cooking, also a small increase from 20 years ago but less than the 101 minutes they spent 40 years ago.
The study lays out a number of reasons for this increase in cooking among men, and chief among them are internet and social media access. Cooking is easier than ever nowadays thanks to the ability to search online for any recipe you could possibly imagine and receive tutorials from popular video channels such as Tasty, which give simple visual aids showing how exactly to prepare meals. Breaking down cooking in a way that doesn’t make it seem so daunting encourages more people to start doing it, especially guys who would not have otherwise.
Another significant reason for the rise in male cooking is a change in the perception that cooking is only something that women do. As time passes, attitudes are shifting away from the Al Bundy-esque viewpoint that cooking is “Women’s work” and more towards the idea that it is gender neutral. The study also explains that cooking competition television shows and marketing campaigns that focus on making cooking seem more masculine have also contributed to the increase in men cooking. Apparently, the only way for guys to ditch their antediluvian thoughts is to show a bunch of muscular bearded dudes in testosterone-fueled competition making recipes consisting of nothing but bacon and beer.
But what this study fails to recognize is that more guys are taking up cooking to impress girls. The way to a woman’s heart is through her stomach, is it not? As much as she likes being taken out to eat, she’ll also be equally impressed, if not more so, by the fact that you can work your way around the kitchen and make a delicious meal. Girls eat that shit up, literally! As a result, guys will spend some time perfecting recipes and then show them off to whatever girl they’re trying to woo or take to Pound Town. I know this because I’ve done it before. My go-to is making the best tacos on this side of the border along with some guac and it always works. Please, feel free to congratulate me on the sex in the comments. The other benefit of spending all that time practicing cooking for girls? More practice cooking for yourself as well. It’s a win-win.
Unless, of course, you’re one of those guys who thinks that cooking is woman’s work and are waiting for her to bring you your sandwich from the kitchen. You might be waiting a long time for that one, though, because she probably just left your non-cooking ass for a trophy husband who can.
[via The Washington Post]
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