Food for Thought

Consider this tweet by Israeli journalist Lahav Harkov, who is sound on a lot of issues:


Now I know there’s a whole swathe of the alt-right who believe women should never leave the kitchen, and I know the expectation that a woman is obliged to cook for her husband every night is old-fashioned. But that said, if a woman does cook for her husband that will go some way to defining her worth, both in his eyes and those of outsiders. Imagine the roles were switched, and Harry was cooking for Meghan every night: his stock would soar in the eyes of most women.

I know a lot of men my age and younger who can cook, and part of this is because feminists told recent generations of women they ought not to learn. “If he wants dinner he can cook it himself,” was the prevailing attitude. Well, that’s what they did and I know several families in which the man is the main cook (and enjoys doing it). The problem with that is it removes a valuable tool women of my mother’s and grandmother’s generations used to attract and retain a husband. Men of that era couldn’t boil an egg, so it was a huge incentive to settle down with someone if you wanted to eat properly the rest of your life. The phrase “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” isn’t repeated across languages and cultures for nothing. Of course it placed a burden on the woman, but having a stable job (that was often dangerous) placed a burden on the man. A marriage is a partnership in which mutually beneficial tasks are divided between the couple, each doing what they’re best at. If women decide they don’t want to cook, the man will either find someone who can or learn to feed himself. He isn’t going to starve. The standard feminist response to this would be: “Well, if all he wants me for is to be his slave, he can get stuffed.” And quite right too. But as I’ve just said, a relationship is a partnership. If she’s not cooking, what is she offering? Sex? That’s not enough, especially in the Tinder age. Sassy feminism? No thanks.

I’m being unfair. There are many women who bring plenty to the table, if you excuse the pun, without cooking for her partner every day. But on the other hand I keep reading articles on how hard it is for modern, middle class women to find a decent man who sticks around. Apparently, they’re only interested in Tinder hookups these days, and many don’t want relationships. I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that if these women had cooking skills in their armoury along with a willingness to deploy them regularly, they’d find men a lot less keen to skedaddle as soon as the first ray of sunlight touches her bedroom window on a Sunday morning. I base this on the fact that, if a woman meets a man who can cook well and likes doing it, she brags to all her friends and spends more time at his gaff than her own.

My point is, to find a decent partner you need to maximise what you bring to the relationship, and focus on those skills they might lack. You would be amazed at the degree to which my relationships have been based on an ability to unblock sinks, take down heavy boxes from the top of wardrobes, fit insulation strips to ill-fitting windows, and bleed radiators. Having someone who is willing to cook is a huge asset in a relationship, regardless of who is doing it. Being able to share the duties is even better. But modern feminism has taught women that being able to cook should not contribute to their worth in a relationship, and they ought not to even bother learning. Stripped of one of the most valuable skills they can bring to a relationship, they’re now howling at the lack of men who are interested in one.

As I’m fond of asking: whose fault is that, then?

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21 thoughts on “Food for Thought

  1. Did anyone say that cooking for her husband defined Meghan’s worth?

    This hackette – like so many others – is just bitching because she’s jealous.

    Meghan, in no particular order of importance, has had a successful acting career, is attractive and well-dressed, has netted a genuine prince and now we learn she can cook. No wonder the claws are out.

  2. I’m sure there are a lot of hardcore feminists out there who are lonely, angry, frustrated, confused and bitter. My heart bleeds for them.

  3. Meghan, in no particular order of importance, has had a successful acting career, is attractive and well-dressed, has netted a genuine prince and now we learn she can cook. No wonder the claws are out.

    Spot on!

  4. Mrs BiND does the vast majority of cooking and I do the vast majority of loading the dish washer and washing up. She’s a good and inventive cook who hates washing up and is absolutely useless at loading the dish washer ,and packing in general. On the rare occasions I cook (follow a recipe) I find it easier to load the dishwasher as well, otherwise I have to take it all out and reload anyway.

    But we’re fairly old fashioned, we’d agreed that split before we got married and we do something very few couples seem to do nowadays, we have a joint bank account and no separate individual accounts. Trust is the foundation of a lasting marriage (35 years in April if you must know).

    (I also do all the ironing, but that’s a relic of being in the Army and trusting nobody with that job, Mrs BiND, like most Army wives doesn’t object :))

  5. “But modern feminism has taught women that being able to cook should not contribute to their worth in a relationship, and they ought not to even bother learning.”

    Modern feminism has taught women that it’s “me me me”. It’s a total disaster. And I ain’t saying a woman has to be pretty for her man and chained to a sink. But if you aren’t going to be the traditional woman, you need to start bringing more of the man stuff, like a good wage. The problem is that most feminists bring nothing. They aren’t pretty, don’t keep themselves in good shape, aren’t interested in keeping home, or being funny, or charming. Then they complain about the shitty men they get. Well, yeah.

    (the flip side of this is men watching things like Judd Apatow movies where a fat loser gets a hot TV presenter. This stuff does more damage to men than porn)

  6. In the early 1970s, sociologists Willmott and Young coined the phrase “The Symmetrical Family” to describe a trend in which previously differing male and female roles in the family became more similar. Women began to go out to work, men took more interest in the children, and they spent more leisure time together rather than him going down the pub to meet his friends. This type of research into families was rapidly drowned out by feminist sociologists clamouring about the unfairness of the family as a patriarchal institution, but I think we can now more clearly see what they were getting at.

    Men and women are today much more similar; as such, they don’t bring anything unique to the relationship. If women are aggressive earners, they don’t need men. And conversely, if men can bimble along and find food, keep body and flat in reasonable condition, and find a listening ear among their supportive metrosexual peers, they don’t need women except for the orifice business. Couples today are encouraged to stay together because of the mutual attraction, which is utterly unrealistic. There needs to be a degree of fear as to what happens if you don’t stay together.

  7. It seems the addition of children into the mix brings all of this into sharper focus.
    Personally I enjoy cooking, pretty much always have as I figured out that at Uni, being able to cook and cook well is like having a bag of catnip in an animal shelter. It’s rare and desirable. A simple pasta dish of any worth was usually enough for girls to get naked by the time desert was being served. But I digress.
    As it happens I married a trained chef who did not stick with professional kitchens but of course retains the skills. She’s turned out to be pretty traditional, in a good way. Most days I actually do the straightforward cooking and let her do the dishes, its simply the more efficient split (My version of doing the dishes ensures I am not often invited to do them again). When she does cook, she does it quite well and it was a selling feature when I chose her. Not so much for my own satisfaction but as a pre-requisite for being mother of my children. If you can’t feed the little one’s once they’re off the teat what’s the point?
    Beyond that we enjoy a fairly traditional split of responsibilities. If it requires fixing, has a motor, makes beeping sounds, or it bleeds, it’ll be my problem. If it’s dirty or not arranged properly or needs a hug, it’s time for her to step up. I lead in the garden but she’s in charge of flowers.
    We’re teaching both the boy and the girl to cook, if only that if I am hit by a bus it would be good that they not starve in the first week. Girl is an excellent baker and will be able to add that to her repertoire of man catching skills one day. Young boy has not yet figured out that girls make fun play things and are worthy of collecting as such his interest has not yet materialized. In the mean time he works on his marksmanship skills.

    We should remember Rollo’s maxim about choreplay (Imagining that doing more chores around the house will ensure you wife wants to lay with you) is a failing gambit designed by some kind of “equity” expert. Girls like, want and demand sexual polarity and that means a man should be king of his castle. You can be a tyrant or you can be a benevolent king but if you are a Eunich you’re in trouble. As such cooking can be treated as a chore, or as an art where the chef can deliver love and emotional bonds wrapped in art with each plate if they wish.

    Double bonus if you score a woman who can cook well, is feminine and most of all, can sing like an angel. Nothing quite like messing about with a lovely lass who can sing, it can be next level erotic when done right.

  8. You can pick up sex on any street corner (bar, club, workplace, etc.), but finding a decent cook is priceless. Unfortunately, and it may be an axiom, but people say it takes most women until they’re 50 before they crack it. It doesn’t help that, because of weight issues, many women regard food as the enemy. While I’ve tried to do my bit in the kitchen, in the end Mrs G. was obliged to kick me into touch and take over. To compensate I take her to decent restaurants and keep the good lady supplied with champagne. Despite several years in the military I am also banned from the ironing board, given Mrs G’s standards far exceed that of my old sergeant major.

  9. The problem is not the ‘can’t cook’ but the ‘won’t cook.’

    When young women is told that to cook for a man is basically domestic slavery, what is she to think of a man who cooks for her?

  10. Since when did “partner” become the default word for “spouse”, or “boyfriend/girlfriend”? It’s as bad as using “their” when the sex of the individual is explicitly known and stated (or even when not known…use the masculine pronoun, dammit!).

    Every time I see “partner” I just substitute “gay lover” and disregard the people in question. Their neuroses aren’t my problem.

  11. Since when did “partner” become the default word for “spouse”, or “boyfriend/girlfriend”?

    Since bloggers decided they couldn’t be bothered writing “spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend” every other sentence. 😉

  12. Feminism demands that women never, ever show a speck of gratitude toward a man or men in general (h/t Dalrock). A lot of this tripe flows from that dictum.

  13. When she does cook, she does it quite well and it was a selling feature when I chose her. Not so much for my own satisfaction but as a pre-requisite for being mother of my children. If you can’t feed the little one’s once they’re off the teat what’s the point?
    Beyond that we enjoy a fairly traditional split of responsibilities.

    Great point.

  14. (If) Harry was cooking for Meghan every night: his stock would soar in the eyes of most women.

    Wrong! Being a beta is kryptonite to the relationship. Ignore what women say they want and observe what they do.

    Motorbike riding, hell raisers and being the archetypal “Bad Boy” is what they choose over the beta men. Until they reach their early to mid 30’s when the previously rejected betas will be selected to impregnate them, provide a house and income followed swiftly by divorce and a meal ticket for life.

    And then back to the bad boys for their thrills.

  15. This was my tweeted response to this yesterday:

    I cook for my husband every day. I consider it a blessing, not a duty. It doesn’t define me. I choose to nurture him in a way I know how and that I am good at. Marriage isn’t a competition. My worth isn’t determined by the fact that I cook.

  16. Wrong! Being a beta is kryptonite to the relationship.

    Right, but cooking is not seen by women as beta behaviour. Look at how many chefs are men, and the characteristics they display.

    Ignore what women say they want and observe what they do.

    If we do, we find women really, really like men who can cook and spend a lot of time in their company, often with their clothes off.

  17. My worth isn’t determined by the fact that I cook.

    You don’t think it contributes? I want his view!

  18. Feminism demands that women never, ever show a speck of gratitude toward a man or men in general (h/t Dalrock). A lot of this tripe flows from that dictum.

    I would respectfully disagree there, Sam. Ingratitude is a normal female trait and owes nothing to feminism. Consider, if bloke A helps bloke B move, it’s understood bloke B owes bloke A a favour. You see this all the time in fiction, “Where did you get these documents detective?” “I called in a few favours.”

    Men operate a “favour economy” which is well understood. “I’ll ask Jim to give me a lift, he owes me a favour.” Women are not a part of this. Nobody says “I’ll ask Sue for a lift, she owes me a favour.” because women don’t owe favours. Anything done for a woman is an obligation free no strings attached gift.

    That’s why women generally don’t do favours for other women, (beyond you mind my kids and I’ll mind yours) there’s no “old girls” network and you can’t lend money to women either. Remember banks used to require a male counter signatory for loans to women. It’s pretty rough on the straight up ladies but the majority sets the tone.

  19. Right, but cooking is not seen by women as beta behaviour. Look at how many chefs are men, and the characteristics they display.

    In fact, now I think about it, cooking – especially meat – is considered very masculine in patriarchal societies such as Turkey and Uzbekistan. Hell, the average Uzbek doesn’t think women are capable of cooking proper plov: they should stick to cutting vegetables and washing up.

  20. Roué

    Interesting re the gendered favour economy.

    Dunno if I agree. But do know, thinking about it, I don’t generally trade favours with women like I do with men with the possible exception of the workplace.

    Think the issue might be that male to female “favours” are often seen as acts of chivalry or favour-courting (in the other sense of favour!) therefore reciprocation is not on the menu.

    But the flip side of that is that women will often offer to pay a man rather than be seen to accept a favour (eg insisting on paying for a lift whereas when you give another bloke a lift it just goes down on your “tab” of favours). Perhaps to prove this doesn’t cross social boundaries and she isn’t viewing the offer as an act of courtship or something she’ll be seen to owe something of herself for. There are muddy waters since there are definitely men who feel like women owe them favours, often of a romantic or sexual nature, if they accept help even of what would normally be regarded as a friendly nature. Maybe in a professional environment favour-swapping across genders can work because that murkier element is largely taken out of the equation.

    As for the pattern of favour trading across women, I dunno. There are definitely some examples I can think of (though your childcare example might be the main one) but not sure to start extent it might work differently from male with male.

  21. Roué

    Interesting re the gendered favour economy.

    Dunno if I agree. But do know, thinking about it, I don’t generally trade favours with women like I do with men with the possible exception of the workplace.

    Think the issue might be that male to female “favours” are often seen as acts of chivalry or favour-courting (in the other sense of favour!) therefore reciprocation is not on the menu.

    But the flip side of that is that women will often offer to pay a man rather than be seen to accept a favour (eg insisting on paying for a lift whereas when you give another bloke a lift it just goes down on your “tab” of favours). Perhaps to prove this doesn’t cross social boundaries and she isn’t viewing the offer as an act of courtship or something she’ll be seen to owe something of herself for. There are muddy waters since there are definitely men who feel like women owe them favours, often of a romantic or sexual nature, if they accept help even of what would normally be regarded as a friendly nature. Maybe in a professional environment favour-swapping across genders can work because that murkier element is largely taken out of the equation.

    As for the pattern of favour trading across women, I dunno. There are definitely some examples I can think of (though your childcare example might be the main one) but not sure to start extent it might work differently from male with male.

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