Kicking those traditional roles to the curb: Real men can cook up a turkey dinner
On November 22, 2012 as everyone and their mother was posting photos of their culinary creations on every conceivable media outlet, I was busy inhaling the tasty turkey dinner solely whipped up by my husband.
I do not cook. There, I said it, and yet I still feel just a bit of shame that I’m not one of those mothers and wives who devours the latest cookbook and spends hours searching for the perfect gluten-free, all-organic recipe for chocolate-chip cookies or in this case turkey. Nope, that’s my husband’s job. The truth is, I think I simply lack that female gene; the one that should be sending me impulses to prepare the very sustenance of life for my kids and husband.
When we first got married, I tried very hard to be that wife, the one who wanted to fill her husband’s stomach with such scrumptious goodness that he was too full to ever look at any other woman or even think of getting his meatballs anywhere else. And I failed miserably. A meatloaf I spent hours preparing tasted like it had bits of sawdust in it, and I burned the simple bowl of pasta I had boiling in the pot.
So my husband and I unofficially assumed our household roles during that very first year of marriage: He became the cook, and I the cleaner. Yes, much like Harvey Keitel in Pulp Fiction, I come in after he’s created his foodie masterpiece-because the man cannot wash a dish to save his life-and do the pots, pans, dishes and counters. Of course, I do believe that my husband is quite capable of washing a dish without leaving a greasy residue but like me, when it comes to cooking, his heart just isn’t in it. He doesn’t derive the pure joy I do from getting something sparkling and streak- and grease-free.
These roles have trickled down into all aspects of our family groove. Food prep, lunches, and grocery shopping are all my husband’s domain, while cleaning, vacuuming, and doing laundry are all mine. The way I see it, if I had to cook, I’d still have to clean, because my husband and I have diametrically opposite views of what constitutes cleanliness. If I let him take the helm, we’d be living in a crumb-infested house with bedsheets that were washed annually.
Of course while this division of labor seems very natural to us, it has raised a few eyebrows among our families, who have been known to quip to other family members that yours truly can do a mean Chinese-takeout meal, and that my dialing finger must get a real workout. But it’s been 13 years, and it’s still working.
Do I get a pang every once in a while when I see my daughter and husband pouring over cookbooks together deciding what creations they’re going to whip up? Absolutely not. And this past holiday was no exception– my real man- whipped up a traditional thanksgiving dinner that could rival any I might even attempt- and while he and our kids were slicing and measuring I could feel the tide turning for this next generation-where all work will be anyone’s for the taking regardless of gender.
So who does the cooking in your relationship?