I run a food business-Fisayoskitchen. An African meal business where I aim to provide individuals and families in the United States with homemade delicious Nigerian favorites. Recently, I have had people ask me, “Is it that you love cooking?” I guess this is because these people see the effort I put into cooking these meals. Frankly, I will say that cooking is not my hobby neither do I feel like I have a strong likeness for cooking. I think, I just find myself doing it. (Quite weird a response, you would say!)
Cooking is a lot of work and eating the cooked food is a lot of fun. Many times after cooking for my clients and cleaning the kitchen, all I want to do, is to take a shower, lay in bed, and stretch my legs in the hope that sleep would come early.
A common commendation I get from male clients and friends because of my work at Fisayoskitchen is “your husband will enjoy you ooo.” Well, quite a great comment from typical African men. After all, “a woman’s place is the kitchen?” Though Seun Kuti says, it is not but a European proverb and western perception of the feminine gender which has become an African saying today.
I have also heard a few of my male friends mention that a woman’s ability to cook is one of the perks of an intimate relationship. Although, I often argue this with them. I respond by saying there is more value to a woman than her cooking skills.
Am I implying that women should not cook? No! I am neither supporting nor opposing that she should not know how to cook. Rather, I am of the opinion that cooking should not be characterized as a woman’s job. Neither should a guy base his marriage or relationship criteria on a woman’s ability to cook. It should not always be the case of “the key to a man’s heart is [the] food” cooked by his wife, girlfriend, or fiancée.
Cooking is a lot of work. Running a food business from a micro-kitchen provides me an understanding of what cooking is. It is stressful, tiring, and time-consuming. And so, if a woman can go through this then, a man can. It should not be seen as the job of the woman alone. When men cook, then we have more men who cook for the family. Who are supportive and willing to take the burden off their wives, fiancées, and girlfriends.
Have you ever wondered why we have more male chefs than female chefs? Three out of 20 richest world celebrity chefs are women. Also, 95% of executive chefs in the world are men. What does this data tell you about cooking? Do you think there is an unraveled puzzle about cooking in the home?
Finally, in the words of Sadie Groberg,
Cooking is a personal experience for many of us. From our favorite childhood meals to our most special memories spent in restaurants with friends, food is often wrapped up in a million memories and feelings. It’s something to bond over and collaborate about, and it is the most common way to delve into different cultures. This makes the unequal culinary playing field even more frustrating. Anyone who is passionate and talented enough to start a restaurant or write a cookbook should be able to because, at the end of the day, cooking is for everyone.
Image Credit: Photo by Jimmy Dean on Unsplash