Cooking was considered more as women’s work especially during the time when gender roles was highly practiced in which men went out to work while women stayed at home to take care of the kids and do the housework. It was in the 20th century that women’s labor force participation was encouraged which decreases the percentage of women who stayed at home.
In a study done in 2016, it was found that the percentage of home cooking among men increased while the percentage of women who cooked decreased. From 29% in 1965, the percentage of men who cooked increased to 46% in 2016 while women decreased from 92% in 1965 to 70% in 2016. Cooking programs hosted by men and the popularity of male celebrity chefs such as Jamie Oliver have presented cooking as a masculine activity that help encourage men to cook.
However, men cooking is more of a leisure activity rather than of a household work. Men are now health and body conscious which motivates them to cook their own food than relying to fast food or ready to eat convenience food such as burgers and noodles that contains more saturated fats and added sugar than home cooked meals. This means that men are most likely cook to take care of their health and maintain their body image rather than a necessity or as part of their responsibility at home.
In a separate study, it was found that only men with middle to higher education (high school to college degree) had increased the amount of cooking they do; but there was no change for lower educated (less than high school) men. This may be that middle to upper class men have more time and money to cook than less educated men. On the other hand, women with higher education cook less compared to women with lower education. This is most likely because of the women’s labor force participation that encourages women to go to work. Of course, women with middle to higher educational attainment are most likely to be hired for yellow or white-collar jobs that can limit their time in cooking than women with lower educational attainment.
Despite the increase of the percentage of men who cooked and the decrease of the percentage of women who cooked, men still retain a smaller percentage than women in terms of family cooking. Women have more time, or at least make time, for cooking and are still the primary cook at home as they take it as their responsibility for the family especially if they are a mother. They are committed and motivated to provide healthy and beneficial food for the whole family.
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