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The GrioFrom The Grio –Let me just start out by saying this: personally, I’m one of those women who loves to cook. I am one of those Food Network junkies, and have gotten caught many a time at the company printer picking up chicken casserole recipes instead of weekly reports. Even though I love burning the pot, I also completely understand how time consuming and tiring it can be. We’ve all come home beat from work, only to stare at the short ribs defrosted in the sink like they’re the bogey man.

Now please understand, as the working mother of a very active and curious toddler, I have found myself waving the white flag on cooking many nights when a long day has drained me of all my energy, opting to just scoop up some Boston Market (at least they sell vegetables), or order a pizza. But, I do my very best to make this an infrequent occurrence.

By contrast, I have come across women who are simply clueless in the kitchen. I know a few couples in which the woman doesn’t cook and when they moved in with their equally kitchen-clueless men, both people in the couple immediately packed on twenty pounds from continually eating Chinese take-out.

Back in the day, growing up down south my mother and grandmother always made sure I had a fully balanced meal for dinner every night; it seems that’s simply not the case today in the homes of young, professional women.  As I’ve gotten older many of my friends have started cohabiting with their significant others, and the question that always seems to come up between them is… who’s cooking dinner? As I eavesdrop on my husband when he talks to his friends about their spouses, it seems that a lot of women just aren’t cooking anymore.

If you were to ask most 50-year-old women if can they cook, my bet is that they will mostly say yes. Even if they don’t like to, they can. But ask 25-to-35-year-olds? I think several of them will change the subject. Somehow our great culture of cooking is getting lost in the current generations.

Cooking used to be a way for women to pass down traditions, culture and family history to their daughters, and a way to ensure that their daughters would grow into women who were self-sufficient. Ancestral stories were passed around the kitchen while peeling potatoes and shelling butter beans. Hushed tales of tragedy, and the vibrant laughter of remembering days gone by were fused into the rising steam of the pots and the wafting aroma of the oven’s treats. Recipes dating back centuries were taught and cherished within families, and the results of the final meals became classic memories. It is not only the health benefits that we risk losing with the disappearance of this pastime, but also the cultural significance that accompanied it.

Some even think that not cooking may be the reason why so many black women are unable to find and marry a good man.

Now, I know what you’re all thinking. Black women remaining unmarried at high rates is certainly caused by several other factors (and the feminist in me wants to raise her fist in protest). And, I am not some southern belle brainwashed by the “barefoot-and-pregnant” syndrome. Yet, I still think every woman should be able to make a good meal. Men should also be able to handle their share of the kitchen responsibilities.

More tellingly, the rational, traditional wife in me would be a liar if I didn’t consider carefully the pure satisfaction I see on my husband’s face after he is stuffed with of one of my home-cooked meals. I think back to when we first started dating and I wowed my Brooklyn boy with my southern breakfasts of salmon croquettes and grits, and scrumptious dinners of hearty pot roast and veggies. I can only wonder if somewhere deep down inside, perhaps even subconsciously, those delicious days weighed in my favor when he decided to get down on one knee.  And, in all honestly, behind closed doors every woman who knows how to get it poppin’ in the kitchen and keep her man happily fed will admit that they feel they have a little something over women who burn boiling water.

(Continue Reading @ The Grio…)

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  • au napptural

    I agree w/ memyselfandi. The woman who wrote this article is obviously delusional. I’m a true gourmet and I can testify when you really throw down you’re too tired to do it more than once a week. The majority of the time I don’t cook elaborate meals b/c I live alone, still in school. But when I go home I’m making multi-course meals. After a few days of that, I’m ready not to cook for a month or two.

    Cooking isn’t pre-req for marriage, just like being a certain size or “letting a man be a man.” I’m here to say there are plenty of fat, can’t cook women married and plenty of thin, domestic goddesses who are single. Marriage isn’t a job, it is a partnership. When the right partner comes along all that will matter is how the two of you work as a couple, not who is cooking the meals.

    Finally, all adult humans should know how to cook. I personally find a man who can’t cook pitiful. Most often, they are the ones who can’t do laundry or clean either. No grown person should be waiting on someone else to clean their house and cook their meals, unless they are paying the person or are disabled.

  • Z

    I am so tired of these women need to know how to cook articles. I’m single and I can cook a gourmet meal complete with dessert and appropriate wine selection- and I enjoy doing this. On the other hand I know plenty of married and engaged women that can’t even boil water. So the ability to cook is obviously not a per-requisite for marriage nor is it seemingly something that men place a premium on when choosing a wife.

    • SAMURAI36

      @Z:

      Then I would venture to say that you don’t really understand men all that well.

      As a man, I talk to my fellows all the time, & WE ALL continue to say that we want the same 2 things from women.

      Both those 2 things begin with “F”. The first one is “feed me”. The second one… Well, I’ll leave it for you to figure out. But, ironically enough, many of us are complaining about that one as well.

      The reality is, men (especially Black men) have not changed a whole lot in the past 100 years, in terms of what we want from women.

      We have only learned to adapt to all the changes that women have undergone during all that time.

    • Z

      So then what are the numerous married, non-cooking women doing that other single women aren’t- especially if that is 50% of mens requirements? Lasting relationships can’t all just be about f***ing. There is more to being married and the black marriage decline than just cooking and sex. Judging by our near 80% OOW birthrate, sex isn’t the problem- I’m also sure many of those baby mamas were happy to cook for their men.

    • alldawg

      your right now that i think about it…

    • SL

      Lol – so true! The two basic F’s. you’ve taken women back 100yrs. Lol. That’s why I can’t totally get on the feminist train.

      @Z maybe that’s why the divorce rate is what it is –

      But I will say it again nothing is sexier than aman who will cook for his woman. So guys should equally know how to put it down in the kitchen.

    • Kam

      Good thing I’m not around such simple men.

  • Pat

    Cooking really becomes a “huge” deal once you start living within the same household. I think this is why men and women both should learn how to cook. Depending on what your days entail, it should determine which partner should do so. Cooking is very time consuming. If the majority of your time is preparing jumbo meals, it does interfere with personal time as well. Women don’t want to work, go home, stay in the kitchen until 9pm. A shift within households had to occur compared to our grandmother’s and mother’s era. It was a prerequisite to learn how to cook because it was a way of life and it was considered as one of the ways to care for your husband. Actually, it was almost a sin not to prepare a home cooked meal for a “working” man. Older women [still will] look at you as if you are crazy.

    What I have come to NOT like is the women may have a career as well and expect to cook. It is unfair for one person to carry that load.

    During our grandmothers’ era, her husband was the breadwinner or provider. It was an even tradeoff then. Women don’t have a fear of the stove. I think it is more of the problem is with time. I love to cook, but as I’m dedicating more time to myself. I look for ways to cut back in the kitchen or prepare quicker meals. I must agree, a man loves a woman who can cook, but it will not make him stay. Also, I do believe men still desires for a woman to cook if he is the breadwinner of the family especially if he works a lot. This is actually understandable. However, if the woman works more – the same sentiments should be returned unto her.

  • SAMURAI36

    First I’m stupid, then I’m slow…..

    In the meantime, you’ve still added nothing relevant to the discussion, aside from your ill-placed sarcasm.

  • SAMURAI36

    All of that is slave food as well, & none of which I eat. I practice an “Ital” diet.

    Besides, there is far more fruits & vegetables, & other natural foods & spices in the Caribbean diet, than there is in the Southern diet.