Boys And Cooking: The Benefits
In Africa, it is generally expected that girls should know how to cook, and I understand that this expectation originated from pre-modern times when men went to farm or hunt while women took care of preparing food at home for their return after a hectic day. Women were also responsible for keeping the house clean and taking care of the children. There was a clear division of labour and everyone understood their roles. The home was adequately provided for, and the parties involved were content until gender roles started shifting gradually.
As women began receiving formal education and some became the sole breadwinners of their households, the notion arose that boys and men should also be able to cook or help out in the kitchen if girls and women are now supporting or providing for the home.
Growing up in a typical Nigerian home, more emphasis was placed on girls being able to cook, as not being able to do so was considered a failure on the part of the mother. In this context, boys often grew up without the necessity to cook, except when their mother insisted that all her children should possess cooking skills or if the boy himself had an interest in cooking. Boys would instead engage in other household chores, while girls were primarily responsible for the kitchen. However, times have changed, and it begs the question: are there benefits to boys being able to cook?
In my opinion, being able to cook is a valuable survival skill regardless of gender. Hunger does not discriminate, so why should there be discrimination regarding who satisfies that hunger? Why should such a crucial necessity as preparing one’s own meals be solely placed in the hands of another person?
Being able to cook is empowering. It is a life skill that everyone should possess, and it is easier to learn when you start early. It promotes independence, freeing you from having to tolerate subpar meals just because someone else is providing them.
Moreover, cooking saves you a lot of money. Preparing your own food will never be as expensive as eating out, ordering in, or relying on outsourcing. Of course, if you are extremely busy and lack the time to cook, it may be different, but being able to quickly fix yourself a meal, no matter how simple, is always advantageous.
Being able to cook also allows you to maintain a healthier lifestyle. Homemade meals are often underrated. It is easier to stick to a routine when you are the one preparing the food. You have control over what ingredients are included, ensuring that your dietary needs and preferences are met.
You won’t have to worry about whether the items on your eating plan are available at a restaurant because you can plan your meals in advance and have everything you need on hand. Additionally, you can experiment with new recipes and switch things up from time to time.
Furthermore, cooking enables you to reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses to the best of your ability. Since you are in charge of preparing your meals, you can ensure that proper hygiene practices are followed. This can save you from frequent visits to the hospital or healthcare provider. Remember, you are what you eat.
Lastly, knowing how to cook as a man can make you a more romantic and supportive partner. Many women appreciate a man who can cook. Imagine preparing meals for your wife during the days following childbirth, alleviating some of her stress. Additionally, cooking for someone you love and seeing them savour the food is incredibly fulfilling.
Considering all the points mentioned above, there are numerous benefits to teaching boys how to cook as they grow into men. It makes it easier for them to take care of themselves. Cooking is a valuable life skill that can be learned at any time, so men can and should embrace it.
Taking a cooking class with your partner can even serve as a great date idea, allowing you to bond and share an experience. Some may argue that cooking is time-consuming, but so is watching a movie. If you can spend hours watching a movie for entertainment, you can surely allocate time to cook for your nourishment.
Mothers should encourage boys to be in the kitchen while they cook, allowing them to develop cooking skills from an early age. Fathers should also participate in cooking or at least help out, setting a positive example for their sons to follow.