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Cooking is Sexy if you are a Guy


annecros
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Maybe we need to invent cook-inism... when you cook for a living it seems like most people assume you should, and want to, cook every meal at every opportunity.

"I think it's hot when a guy cooks!"

"Yeah, 'cause then you don't have to." :raz:

That's it, I'm burning my apron.

Wait a second, I just realized I frequently wear an apron. :hmmm:

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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GenX cooks, too. I have five kids of that generation, and they all cook quite well. But as I mentioned upthread, I always cooked, and they learned how from me. The fact that I was a single mom for many years may have had something to do with it. They had to be competent at an early age.

Now guys in aprons...that's the same as a guy taking care of a baby--a woman looks at him and thinks nurturer. A guy who can take care of a baby and cook a meal might be a guy who is sensitive in other areas, too.

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I guess I have a problem with someone so much praise for doing something simply because he or she is not of the traditional gender role for an activity.

Being able to feed yourself is great. But I think oohing and aahing over over a cook because of the cook's gender is silly.

This also brings to mind some articles I've read about female chefs gaining respect in professional kitchens, even though historically women have been expected to be "in the kitchen" at home.

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Skills are being lost--well, not lost really, just not passed on and enjoyed the way they used to be.  I love old buildings.  I live in a house that's over 100 years old, with built-in china cabinets and bookshelves, and extras.  I like homemade food, the extras you get when you make your own--the smell of the kitchen when you bake bread that doesn't come with the loaf from the store, no matter how good it tastes.

Well, there is more and more of a need for two incomes in a household, and just more time working in general, and I think that's a big problem when it comes to encouraging these skills. I think a lot of people really believe that cooking and other similar tasks just take too much time and effort - and that's both men and women.

"I know it's the bugs, that's what cheese is. Gone off milk with bugs and mould - that's why it tastes so good. Cows and bugs together have a good deal going down."

- Gareth Blackstock (Lenny Henry), Chef!

eG Ethics Signatory

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Hiyas Anne !!!

In Michael Ruhlmans' book "The Reach Of A Chef" he talked about a conversation that he had with Krishnendu Ray at the CIA. I think it centered on the "Rockstarism" of chefs today.

He said..."I think as we cook less at home, cooking becomes more magical" Because we don't know how to do these things... I think in the 60s 70s and 80s alot of people got out of the kitchen. But, are returning to it more and more to learn the magic.

As I've said before cooking is a lost art to some, male and female. If I know a woman that can cook, great and more power to her !!! It doesn't make her less of a woman.

-Jimmy

Typos are Copyrighted @

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Well, there is more and more of a need for two incomes in a household, and just more time working in general, and I think that's a big problem when it comes to encouraging these skills. I think a lot of people really believe that cooking and other similar tasks just take too much time and effort - and that's both men and women.

I'm sure that's why a lot of people don't cook. Even those of us who love to cook have days we don't cook, for whatever reason. I'm lucky enough to work from home, but it doesn't mean that I do much in the kitchen besides pass through it on some days.

But cooking something simple at home is still better than eating fast food. And if there are two adults in the house who know how to cook, so much the better.

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My mother didn't go back to work until we were teenagers, and she always cooked dinner. But the truth is (sorry, Mom), she was not a good cook. She didn't enjoy cooking, but in that generation she was expected to have dinner on the table when my father got home from work, we always sat down to dinner together, but really hardly anything was ever actually "good." But I love to cook, and love to try new things and learn about food. I don't know where it comes from or why. My younger sister cooks pretty much like my mother did (it astounds me), my older sister is better but not at all inventive, my brother is hopeless. So I don't know where the emphasis can be placed, whether it's generational or gender-based. (I'm 53. And female.)

I live in a building with a large amount of young (late twenties, thirties) people, and the traffic of food delivery is astounding! I know people who have never used their kitchens for anything other than boiling water for coffee or tea. A friend doesn't understand why, when she comes to say hi, my kitchen floor usually has splotches all over it. "It's because I was COOKING," I tell her. "Oh." It really never would have dawned on her otherwise.

So I don't know what the answer is. I was never taught to cook, but for whatever reason, I love it, and so I teach myself. I know men who fall into the same boat, but not many. I do think men who cook are sexy! But then, I also love to watch men fix things, use their hands and tools with precision, whether it be baking equipment or building equipment. But when I cook for men, I think they appreciate the attention they're receiving more than they appreciate the "craft" or "talent" involved in the cooking. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Maybe what it comes down to is that we'll never escape certain preconceived sexist notions!

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I just did a quick review of the cooks and non-cooks I know, and 1) more of the good cooks are male, and 2) cooking skills seem to decrease as income level rises (among the men I know). FWIW (among my small sample).

Edited by markemorse (log)
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A couple of comments:

1. I think that while it makes sense that cooking skills decrease with income (more work = more money, busier = less time to cook), I think that sometimes, the opposite is true. I think the more money a person has, the more likely they are to become foodiesd or interested in food and therefore care about cooking more and are able to afford the expense that can come with cooking (organic ingredients, additives, cutlery, cookware).

I do see the first point though. I know of families that ONLY eat out (breakfast, lunch and dinner). A dinner conversation for them will ltierally be "where should we order from?"

2. I am surprised at how offended women here are at the article. What exactly are you upset about? If you're a woman and you can cook (most of you here), then you should be happy to be the exception to the (article's) rule. It seems like women are trying to defend their entire gender and are appalled that someone would suggest they can't/don't cook.

3. Besides my mom, aunt, and roommate, and friend, I don't know any females that cook or are even interested in cooking.

Edited by sygyzy (log)
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  • 2 weeks later...
I think it's a loving thing if anyone, irrespective of age or gender, cooks for me.

Of course it's great if it's a man. But here's the thing: all my best male friends, ex-lovers and  husband are real cooks, not simply slap a steak on the Q guys. Heck, even my only brother is a caterer! The men in my life who cook outnumber the women, and I take it for granted: this is the world as I know it. It's delightful, but, well normal.

In the spirit of role reversal, some men might find a woman staring at his undercarriage draining his oil sexy. (I think  a Boston Cream Pie might get even better results.)

I agree with your sentiments wholeheartedly.

When you cook for someone, it's a gesture that displays love, affection, comfort, caring and consideration. It does seem that men get more credit & praise when they cook (and particularly if the meal is tasty and/or intricate) and a lot of women may find that sexy. I suppose this is because home cooking has primarily been the domain of women, so it's not as special or sexy when a woman prepares a meal vs. when a man prepares it.

Conversely speaking, I get lots of praise from men because of my knowledge of football. When I wear my football jerseys, men come up to me in the supermarket and the deli and start talking to me about various football games, players, etc. My uncles and brother-in-law were surprised, then pleased as hell about my knowledge of the game when we watched the big game together at my uncle's Superbowl party. You see, most of the women in my family have little to no sports knowledge or interest at all. So (at least according to my male relatives), a woman who knows about sports is a sexy woman indeed.

I said all that to say that it's my thought that when a person of one gender displays knowledge, talent or interest in a domain that is primarily associated with the other gender, it's deemed more special or praiseworthy.

Edited by Kris (log)
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I think that when this discussion has hit on socio-economic factors, it's been the closest to the truth of the matter. I think the subject could fill a very interesting book and I wish someone would write it, because I would love to read it.

I'm a woman over forty, and I've cooked and baked all my life, but only in the last decade very seriously. And I took it up to fill the emptiness that grief brought into my life. Cooking, for me, was in every way, an act of survival. I think all people should be able to cook at a certain level, it's a life skill. Those of us who are lucky enough to have a complex relationship with food are very lucky indeed.

Reading this thread made me solidify some thoughts about myself as a woman and food: there was a time when I would bring food in to work to share. I often bake on a Sunday and then disperse that food on a Monday. If it can't be mailed, it goes downstairs to my landlord. If it can be mailed, I send it to family and friends. This has made me very happy. So, my love and joy would spill over and sometimes I'd bring things I'd made into the office, and pass them out to my co-workers: brownies, florentines, cupcakes. And I had to stop doing it. Because I realized that by baking and sharing I was contributing to a decline in my own status. I work in technology, and technology is a male-dominated industry, and women who bring cookies to the table don't get thought of as having Big Ideas.

In addition to be gender-biased, the technology industry is age-biased. I also realized that I was losing some face amongst the young women I worked with. Baking and sharing made me a fuddy duddy. Definitely not fresh and sexy.

Personally, I find big thick men who cook very sexy. I like to watch Robert Irvine cook and I like to watch Mario Batali cook -- in a visceral way, I like the confidence, the loomingness, the mastery that the size of the person has over this small area filled with small things and infinite detail. It's a juxtaposition, a tension. I don't think it's because men aren't supposed to cook and how sweet the big hairy man is all nurturing . . .

I also realized, while thinking about this, that my foodie friends are men. About half gay men and half straight men. One of them doesn't cook at all, his stay-at-home wife does the cooking. But he loves to eat and he travels to eat and we're both Italian and love Italy and we go food for a long time. Then I have male friends who will discuss with me preserving things from their gardens and the very best way to build a drink.

With my female cooking buddies, we talk four sugar and butter. Never with men.

It's like a Rubic's Cube, the slide between our minds and our culture, every way you turn it it keeps realigning itself. There's no one right answer, but many possible ways to try to find an answer.

I like to bake nice things. And then I eat them. Then I can bake some more.

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Strewth!! My husband thought he was a pretty good cook :unsure: -- until he found me! :wink:

Cheers,

austramerica

Life is short: Break the rules...Forgive quickly...Kiss slowly...Love truly...Laugh uncontrollably...And never regret anything that made you smile. Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we're here we should dance...
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....men come across as evolved, sexy and creative when they mix things up in the kitchen. I spoke to a few of my other female friends about it. "I never had anything in the cupboards before I had kids," one friend, a professional singer, told me proudly. "I was out having fun."

Perhaps because I care about food, some of my most successful first/early dates have involved an invitation to a home cooked meal. The food doesn't have to be amazing-- it's the relaxed atmosphere of conversation and a glass of wine while prepping food, some insight into someone else's background and culture...Maybe it's the play against gender stereotypes--not unlike women who like sports, men taking care of children...

So I admit to being attracted to a guy who likes to cook. Question is (for me at least), do they think the same about women? and I hope it's not inappropriate to point out that the conversation thus far seems skewed towards male-female dynamics--what's the deal in the gay and lesbian community?


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Reading this thread made me solidify some thoughts about myself as a woman and food:  there was a time when I would bring food in to work to share.  I often bake on a Sunday and then disperse that food on a Monday.  If it can't be mailed, it goes downstairs to my landlord.  If it can be mailed, I send it to family and friends.  This has made me very happy.  So, my love and joy would spill over and sometimes I'd bring things I'd made into the office, and pass them out to my co-workers:  brownies, florentines, cupcakes.  And I had to stop doing it.  Because I realized that by baking and sharing I was contributing to a decline in my own status.  I work in technology, and technology is a male-dominated industry, and women who bring cookies to the table don't get thought of as having Big Ideas.

Conversely, it has enhanced my husband's status at work. He writes curriculum for computer based training for a large corp, and during the round tables it's a big deal when he brings in my homemade jerky. Of course, everyone assumes it is his homemade jerky! :biggrin: I have found out during social gatherings that he does not always correct them, either. :wink:

However, salsa or baked goods, his wife (me, a work from home sort) gets credit. When the women he works with meet me on social occasions, a couple have remarked that I "wasn't what they expected" and I got the impression they were anticipating a June Cleaver sort after I asked them what they expected. I didn't show up in an apron, and could engage in discussion that did not revolve around homemaking.

sygyzy remarked that he/she was surprised women are a bit offended by the article - and I think that the peer pressure professional women place on one another may have a lot to do with it.

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So I admit to being attracted to a guy who likes to cook.  Question is (for me at least), do they think the same about women? and I hope it's not inappropriate to point out that the conversation thus far seems skewed towards male-female dynamics--what's the deal in the gay and lesbian community?

I wouldn't even presume to answer for lesbians, though the lesbian potluck is something of a cliche, but it does seem to me that among many gay men -- despite what I said above -- there is a sort of division of labor in which one half of the couple does most of the cooking. (I haven't figured out yet how the cleaning is handled. Given another cliche -- that of the gay male couple with lots of disposable income, which gets poured into a fabulous condo or house with kitchen to match -- the answer among that subset of gay men, a smaller subset than many might think, may well be Merry Maids. The instances I've run across of gay male couples caught in the act of cleaning do suggest to me that the split-down-the-middle idea may actually be followed.)

Now, I'm sure that someone, somewhere, may have actually fixed dinner the way the couple portrayed in this groundbreaking 1994 TV ad for the Danish newspaper Politiken did, but I suspect no one was around to capture it on video. I do know that cooking can be a more participatory activity among gay men, given several men with an interest in or passion for cooking and a kitchen that can handle the crowd. (You may recall something like this happening in my second foodblog when a friend came down to my apartment to fix me dinner for my birthday.) There are certainly no issues of gender stereotyping that have to be gotten out of the way.

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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I am 40, my mother was a stay at home mom who nuked the fast food she brought home to feed us.

My father worked in wholesale meats for a variety of grocery store chains. He cooked, but only in the traditional "manly" way, throwing hunks of meat on the grill.

I cook. I love to cook. It's relaxing for me to put on some music and dance/chop my way around for an hour at the end of the day. Some people go to gyms, I cook.

My husband has a couple of dishes up his sleeve for the days I'm not inspired. He *always* cleans up. A man who washes dishes is the bomb, people. :wub:

I am really interested in how many people equate food and love. It's taken me a long time to break down that feeling. I cook because I like to cook. I feed the people around me, whoever they are. If there are no takers I freeze it and it never fails that someone pops up who needs a dinner or someone has a baby or whatever....but my point is, I do it because I like it.

I worry about equating food with love. It's led to many an eating disorder. "I worked hard all day and I brought you this food and you must eat it!". Oy. No thanks. My kids graze on fresh veggies and fruit and yoghurt and nuts, free range. Those are available to them if whatever I've cooked is not to their taste. I hope I can inspire good eating habits in my kids, not anxiety and pressure, which is what *I* feel when people get emotionally wrapped up in what they are presenting.

Edited by pax (log)
“Don't kid yourself, Jimmy. If a cow ever got the chance, he'd eat you and everyone you care about!”
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I am really interested in how many people equate food and love. It's taken me a long time to break down that feeling. I cook because I like to cook. I feed the people around me, whoever they are. If there are no takers I freeze it and it never fails that someone pops up who needs a dinner or someone has a baby or whatever....but my point is, I do it because I like it.

I worry about equating food with love. It's led to many an eating disorder. "I worked hard all day and I brought you this food and you must eat it!". Oy. No thanks.  My kids graze on fresh veggies and fruit and yoghurt and nuts, free range. Those are available to them if whatever I've cooked is not to their taste. I hope I can inspire good eating habits in my kids, not anxiety and pressure, which is what *I* feel when people get emotionally wrapped up in what they are presenting.

Oh, I don't know - can't any expression of love be perverted? I do agree that eating disorders, and there is a connection to gender here as well, are probably distorted food/love neuroses, but I think it may have more to do with body image than with being force fed by a compulsive food preparer.

It's never bothered me that someone didn't want to eat something that I have prepared - although it bugged the life out of my mother. Probably because she thought of cooking as more of a necessary chore than I do. She was married at 15, had a houseful of kids up until she was in her late 50's, and put three cooked meals in front of her husband nearly every day. That was cooking as a necessity for survival - she came out of the (barely) post depression South, was a young homemaker when WWII rationing was going on, and went to bed hungry as a child more than once, as did many of her contemporaries. Waste not, want not.

I, on the other hand, being born at the end of the baby boom, never went to bed hungry. I practiced the three bite rule with my children (you don't have to eat it all, but you do have to eat at least three bites), and there was always something in the house to eat as an alternative. I also have wasted an awful lot of food over the years, and have had to train myself in some of the more frugal practices of my parents.

It does bug me, however, when I don't prepare something well. I get a little defensive, I admit it. :biggrin:

One of those partners that do dishes would be great.

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He *always* cleans up. A man who washes dishes is the bomb, people.  :wub:

A man who cooks- sexy (with a few caveats- read below).

A man who cleans the cookware I dirtied- HELL YES, that's sexy! So long as he isn't tossing my knives in a dishwasher :raz: ......

This is speaking as a heterosexual female who does not like doing dishes. Interesting to hear the perspective from those attracted to the same sex....

In the scattered dating I've done the past few years, I haven't had men react negatively to my ability to cook- usually, it's been a plus, but I could have skewed the findings by gravitating towards people who also enjoy the adventure of home-prepared food. However, my life situation does not require me to know how to cook. Acquiring my skills, limited as they may be, is a lifestyle choice.

On a bit of a tangent, I just like being in the kitchen observing or cooking with people who "know their way around the kitchen" and are neither too pompous nor too timid. I don't want someone unproductively criticizing my kitchen behavior, but I also don't want to bark orders at anyone (male or female). Cooking is sensual and I don't want that vibe messed up by someone who can cook well but is a big arse about it. (There's that pesky caveat.)

I have found in my experience that friends who don't "play nice" in the kitchen tend to be male. And that could be a big contributor to why I'm satisfied in our platonic ways, even if the feeling isn't mutual....I like them, some are even downright cute, but I don't find that behavior sexy. :wink:

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I worry about equating food with love. It's led to many an eating disorder. "I worked hard all day and I brought you this food and you must eat it!". Oy. No thanks.  My kids graze on fresh veggies and fruit and yoghurt and nuts, free range. Those are available to them if whatever I've cooked is not to their taste. I hope I can inspire good eating habits in my kids, not anxiety and pressure, which is what *I* feel when people get emotionally wrapped up in what they are presenting.

Preparing a tasty meal for one you love is an act of love. I can recall my partner saying to me one morning many years ago, "Every time I get up and see you packing lunches for work, I know you love me." I pack only my own lunch in the morning now, though I did put some of the deviled eggs I made for Easter dinner in a container for him to take to work this morning. This dealing-with-a-dying-relationship stuff is tricky.

I would never presume to guilt-trip anyone into eating food I cooked in that melodramatic fashion. I have no problem drilling the notion that leftovers are perfectly fine to eat into my roomate's brain, however, and I think it may be slowly taking.

Cooking for others is also a form of performance, at least when guests are involved, and I love applause.

I'm very territorial in my kitchen, however, and am glad we have a dishwasher.

As for kids, you do try to get them to eat a balanced diet, right? I would hope you would encourage them to try unfamiliar foods and develop adventurous palates.

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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A man who cleans the cookware I dirtied- HELL YES

I got me just such a handy man, I'm glad to say. In a country like Japan where people work late and commute long hours, having one partner stay out of the kitchen would make a relationship pretty hard work, I imagine.

Sadly, it seems that men who cook think that breakfast is too serious a business for bedside dining - no cups of tea in bed for me!

As for whole generations whose men or women do or don't cook, I agree that the idea that "women didn't work" is laughable - it wasn't even true in Victorian England. Maybe it's never been true in any urban society, while equally unavoidable in in many rural societies. But even in rural Japan, there are easy dishes made in particular seasons when farming women need to be in the fields most of the day. Just goes to show how ambivalent suburbs are!

As for the emotional content of food, there's an art to giving and receiving any gift, I guess. I spent a lot of time in the kitchen when relatives came to stay, because I just couldn't help myself. Let's hope that it was a cornucopia that I was offering, and not a force-feeding funnel...

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  • 2 weeks later...

My stay at home mother learned to cook from my father, strangely. I guess its not so strange, he was a professional chef, but still she knew nothing before they started dating.

Its all just a really bad stereotype. Preparing food has no specific ground, everyone should know how, read my qoute under the signature.

regardless of who does the cooking today, nobody is doing the gathering, its already been done for us, so isn't it most important that our kids, no matter what the gender should have a strong introduction into how to properly take care of themselves, including feeding themselves.

As a nation we really suck at feeding ourselves properly. Its not the womens fault for leaving the kitchen, its all our faults for forgetting.

Edited by chiantiglace (log)

Dean Anthony Anderson

"If all you have to eat is an egg, you had better know how to cook it properly" ~ Herve This

Pastry Chef: One If By Land Two If By Sea

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It does seem to have a more generational feel. Maybe GenX just can't cook?

This is a generalization, but we are a generation of latchkey kids. I learned to cook not because my mom stayed home, but because she didn't and it was a way I could help. My husband learned to cook for the same reasons. Also, takeout was not as common back in the 70's, and there were far fewer convenience foods. Gen Y is probably even less likely to learn to cook

It's probably not PC or enlightened, or feminist to say so, but guys that cook are hot. Guys that do the dishes are even hotter. :wub:

Edited by hjshorter (log)

Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

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