Forgive me for stereotyping. But with few exceptions in my experience (you know who you are), the household cooking duties in straight couples* tend to split along pretty traditional lines. The women do the cooking, and if the men cook at all, it is for special occasions. This generally means a kitchen-blitzing dinner party extravaganza, or more prosaically, the occasional barbecue.
This split often has little to do with the relative cooking abilities of the two partners. The advent of the predominantly-male celebrity chef has meant that most men these days pride themselves on one or two well-executed signature dishes. In a straight battle between the sexes I think it would likely be a dead heat for raw cooking talent.
Rather it seems to me that the split comes down to the enduring hangover of ‘traditional’ gender roles. These can be invoked by sheer expectation and acceptance, or by more practical realities – some people I know work so late, so consistently that if their family were to be reliant on them to cook dinner, they would likely waste away (you could argue that they ought to adjust their working hours rather than make such expectations of their partner, but that is down to individual couples to negotiate).
The reality is that cooking can be a chore. If like me you really enjoy cooking, then that is less often the case than if you don’t. But even for me I’d say cooking is a chore more than one night of the week. It’s a case of putting food on the table because you all need to eat, not because it is the opportunity to delight your own and everyone else’s taste buds. Unfortunately it is chores like this that – more often than not – fall to the woman of the house.
So my call to men is to expand your cooking repertoire. By all means maintain your signature dishes for special occasions, but also learn a few more practical recipes that can be knocked out quickly, with a minimum of fuss when you’re really not in the mood. Take on your share of the chore cooking, and if you can manage to make the results enjoyable without creating a week’s worth of washing up, then so much the better.
*Note that this is often true in gay couples I know as well, but the terminology to distinguish between cooking and non-cooking partners becomes trickier in this case