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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

In the Kitchen

Tonight my middle son helped me to cook dinner. We made Fettuccine Carbonara. It was great to have someone else in the kitchen helping me and chatting and just being there. Normally cooking dinner is such a lonely affair. The greater percentage of people worldwide who prepare meals for the family are females and the preparation time for me is one of the loneliest times of the day.

It is the time when we are almost all home at the same time and the time when my boys catch up on what they have done during the day. I usually feel left out, stuck around the corner, chopping and stirring and sipping my wine. By the time dinner is ready their conversation has finished and they can’t be bothered repeating it to me.

Cooking is such a great activity to do as a family. I remember when the boys were little and it took no effort at all to get them to help with baking cakes or cookies or even main meals. There might have been a gigantic mess left at the end of our efforts but it was only equalled by the amount of fun we had and the pleasure we got from eating our home made wares.

It was important to me that I taught the boys how to cook. They can all make a variety of main meals – steak, schnitzels, parmagiana, spaghetti bolognaise, hamburgers and stir fries to name a few. At least they can survive without having to eat out or getting takeaways all the time. I’m happy to say my eldest son often cooks for his girlfriend (or so he tells me…).

They can clean too. I made sure of that. Even though I do the bulk of the cleaning in the house, now and again I make enough fuss that they grudgingly join in. You wouldn’t believe how quickly the house gets done when all of us pitch in and help!

I’ve never believed in the division of labour according to sex. It’s not solely the female’s role to cook, clean and wash and it’s not totally up to the male to make the money. Life flows so much easier when all the burdens are shared. As for raising children, in my mind it is definitely a joint effort. Men who chose to leave the raising of their children to their mother miss out terribly.

My boys know well how I feel about the equality of the sexes. They often tease me, it’s easy to push my buttons, but in the end I believe I’ve brought them up to treat everyone equally and as they would like to be treated themselves. I hate that it’s a male dominated world but I hope that at least by teaching my boys that females and males both deserve the same treatment, the same respect and the same advantages perhaps I’ve done a little bit to change the world.


  1. Good for you! Australia has a reputation for backward thinking men.....don't know how true that is ...but it must have come from somewhere. Raising sons is not easy....and making dinner can be a huge chore at the end of a long day......How I love it when somebody else cooks for me!

    1. mermaid - there is often truth to any rumour! However, I think Australia and Australian men have only benefitted from an influx of people and cultures in the last few years. Australians now know there is more to the usual "men around the bbq and women in the kitchen" attitude. I guess it still persists in some places, but I know more and more men who cook and look after their children than before.

  2. That's great your sons help you. I am from the South, and it's very foreign to me to have a man in the kitchen helping. My husband will help, but it becomes very frustrating (he's so messy). My mom says she would hit my dad in the head with a pan if he walked in front of her stove while she was preparing dinner. I am trying my best to let that habit go and allow my sons to feel comfortable in the kitchen. They really have no interest though, unless it's baking cookies. :)

  3. Summer - I know all about mess! And no matter what I say, even when the boys cook, its often me that cleans up! I'm not sure how old your sons are, but have you tried asking them what they want to cook then perhaps doing the shopping with them for the right ingredients and then doing the cooking? I remember when my boys could plan the whole meal they were far more interested.