Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Poll: Should men cook for Christmas?

A friend is reading Maeve Binchy's book This Year It Will Be Different and brought up a hot potato (so to speak) at our bookclub the other night: are men supposed to help cook the Christmas meal? Is it inappropriate to even bring up the topic?

A lot of the stories in the book describe the woman doing all of the cooking and preparation, and nothing would sway you from thinking it's the Way It Should Be. TV shows do the same thing; commercials show women bringing food to the table to the smiles of her children and husband. To quote after a few glasses of wine : "Shouldn't that lazy bastard be up off his ass at least helping if not cooking the whole meal himself?"

Do you folks (guys and girls) think the media of all sorts still can't let go of the stereotype of Woman Cooks, Man Sits? Is it only the 21st century and we should wait longer? Or is it only if you're a famous TV chef that it's ok to be a man cooking?


  1. I mentioned this in my bookclub last night, and all the women said:

    a. It's very Irish (to which I said certainly not, tons of men in the US sit on their asses on Giftmas)

    b. It's unrealistic. Because tons of men sit on their asses on Giftmas

    Women are still the main ones who do the cooking, cleaning, childcare and everything domestic (who's buying hte Giftmas presents in YOUR house? Mmmmhmmmm). If the house is a mess, someone doesn't walk in and think "Hell, he's sitting around eating bonbons and watching Oprah again instead of cleaning!" They think the woman just is being sloppy (forget the laundry, the childcare, the cooking, etc)

    I'm incredibly lucky: I have a partner who likes to cook, will clean, do laundry and hang with the kids. (I'm still training him on the Giftmas stuff.)

    But most men I think expect the woman to do it all, including the washing up after the big meals. We're doing Thanksgiving next week, and I expect that Mine will be helping with the turkey, the kids, and filling glasses...

    That brings up another point...if the man helps with the food, the house, etc, why isn't he getting the applause as well?!

  2. The television/advertising media is still obsessed with keeping women in the kitchen. Ads for soap powder, washing liquid, bleach etc. nearly always feature women, unless:

    (1) Its Barry wotsit *telling* women to buy Cilit Bang

    (2) A woman brings her hubby to B&Q because obviously he makes the ultimate decision on what washing machine to buy

    (3) Its a Daz ad but it only features men in the comfortable and acceptable world of Soap Opera.

    Of *course*, this ignores the reality. Even when I was a kid, my father - who would never normally do a tap at home - would help with the Christmas dinner. I'd imagine he actually got in the way and was no help at all, but at least he showed willing.

    As for me, well its my partner and myself this year and we are doing salmon so the whole dinner should take about 1 hour to prepare. More time for drinking don't you understand....

  3. Of course men are not supposed to help cook the Christmas meal. In my experience they use every pot, pan and implement in the building to boil an egg, and then expect to be canonised afterwards.

    They can safely be entrusted with shelling a few peas in a different room, as long as you are prepared to put up with them hanging around for an hour afterwards to check on the progress of 'their' peas, and endure them coming out with, "shelled by my own fair hand!" during the dinner itself.

    The media isn't perpetuating any stereotypes - it's faithfully representing the status quo.

    If it is time to change this, then let's practice through the other 364 dinners of the year. Christmas is a time of enough stress and misery without adding to it by letting a man loose between the turkey and the trimmings!

  4. With all due respect, it is ludicrous to pretend that a woman is necessary to cook a splendid Christmas dinner. I do it every year. And make no mistake: turkey is no substitute for goose.

    In fairness, I suck at baking, and don't even try. But who needs cookies and cakes anyway?

  5. Ah yes. There's the rub. Men should be carrying their weight and when they offer they should not be scorned and told how they're useless and to let the pro do it. Be patient with us!

    Also, ont he advertising thing. Notice how the stereotypical Dad in adverts is always the lazy or stupid or usless or bumbling guy and everything he does makes the kids and the Mammy roll their eyes in unison for having to put up with such a moron? This might not reflect a man in real life. Let us cook! Besides, all the top chefs in the world are men.

  6. Is the advertising not like that purely to target women because they are the main consumer. The idea of positive and negative reinforcement? In regard to the cooking - my old man does it all, it's like The Waltons on Xmas Day...........until Monopoly comes out that is

  7. My Dad always did christmas dinner and he's now 78, but my sister does a lot of it too now.