Parenting

Whose Brilliant Idea Was It to Have National Men Make Dinner Day?

I simply cannot provide a better response to this new national night than Serge Bielanko’s “Excuse Me While I Don’t Celebrate National Men Make Dinner Day” over at Babble. A few choice morsels:

See, as a loving/hard-working/modern-minded dad living in the 21st century, creating some kind of cockamamie day when everyone will unite in the name of Lord-knows-what by watching dear old dad march into that very foreign land known as “the kitchen” and tie on an apron as he gets himself all covered in flour like some helpless, bad-biscuit-making, door-to-door salesman moron straight out of 1957, reeks of good old-fashioned sexism.

DAD IS MAKING DINNER?! WHAAAAAT? ARE YOU SERIOUS?! DADS CAN’T COOK! DADS CAN GRILL A BURGER IN THE SUMMER, BUT COOK IN THE KITCHEN??!! I GOTTA SEE THIS! WHERE’S MY PHONE?! I HAVE TO RECORD THIS!

Ugh. Stab me with my lemon zester. (I own three by the way.)…

By shining a light on dads in the kitchen as something “special” or “exceptional,” what you’re actually saying is that dads don’t make dinner. And I’ll go you one further, and this is a doozy, because what you’re also saying when you say that we need a special day to “get dad cooking dinner” is that only moms cook dinner.

And by saying that only moms cook dinner, well, you’re just this far away from saying … you guessed it … “Women belong in the kitchen.”

Now there’s a day I’d like to watch paraded out into the streets of America! National Women Belong in the Kitchen Day! Oh how pleasant the Yahoo! comments section would be under that little article…

Men aren’t all chauvinistic, pigheaded cave-dwellers anymore.

Who knew?!

How does whoever came up with this very special day not know dads who cook? It is really quite common these days — almost, dare I say, normal. Here in red Texas, a land of assumed patriarchal oppression, my own husband’s nickname is Marty Stewart, granted to him for his pumpkin cookies which, I happily note, he will make again in a few weeks.

My husband teaching our son to cook.

Easily a third of the cooked food offerings that come to my house when we throw a party were cooked by men. About 10 days ago, my rector threw an Oktoberfest dinner that included sausage and sauerbraten. (I think his wife helped a little.) Outside of personal experience, I can think of two recent and relatively well-shared articles on the topic. Sean Kullman wrote “While Moms are Leaning In, I’m doing the dishes,” and Anne Marie Slaughter’s husband, Andrew Moravcsik, published “Why I Put My Wife’s Career First.” Both of them do the cooking and the rest of the domestic chores.

This man cooking thing? It isn’t new. And I often wonder exactly how much of the old patriarchal, women-belong-in-the-kitchen type assumptions are fueled by women who simply assume they still exist. I suppose it is quicker, easier, and more seductive to seek feminist glory for fighting battles already won. But it does not actually win glory — for anyone. This cockamamie new event is simply insulting.

And I thought that before I found the rules for this event. I note three in the middle:

Rule #4: Main meal must include minimum of 4 ingredients and require at least one cooking utensil other than a fork

Rule #5: Man goes shopping for ‘all’ necessary ingredients. Bonus points if he takes inventory of cupboards and fridge first, before shopping trip. So you don’t end up with two 64 ounce jars of pickled pimentos.

Rule #6: Man organizes all necessary ingredients in order of importance on kitchen counter. At this point, he may need to make a phone call or shout out the word ‘honey’! Followed by a question. This is not allowed.

Furthermore, I know of no cook who thought through mise en place (rule 6) their first time cooking solo.

For those women attached to men who do not cook on a regular basis, if you want them to cook, I suggest either teaching them to cook as someone once taught you, or letting them cook when you ask them to. Making an event of throwing them into the kitchen, watching them flounder, and then scoffing at their offering will not get you anything beyond some laughs at a girls night out. And that will just add insult to injury.