Spoiled. Overindulged. Pampered. To think these are the adjectives used by my best friends to describe me. Why would anyone label a nice stay-at-home- mommy like me in such unfavorable, but somehow still super-posh, terms? For one simple reason. My husband is the household cook. Every night, after arriving home after a 10 hour work day, my husband fires up the stove and starts preparing the family dinner. He also supplies the kids all three meals on Saturday, Sunday and most major holidays. If you invite us to a picnic or pitch-in, the hub has no doubt made our tupperwared contribution to the gathering. He even bakes cookies and throws together the crock pot delights.
Now, it’s not that my husband’s food rivals Wolfgang Puck or an Iron Chef. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a decent chef. His tasty dishes would win over a soldier’s combat ready meals or an astronauts space fare quicker than the speed of sound. But the real reason he always fixes our grub is that I just flat out can’t cook.
How do I know my cooking is terrible enough to be turned down as a first meal of a protesting Man versus Food participant on a 15 day hunger strike? An overabundance of non-edible evidence, my dear Watson. People have thrown up after eating my Christmas cookies. Yes, I did put several chopped sticks of nutmeg in the batter, instead of the powder. But when you call for nutmeg, I thought go big or go home. Frying foods is even harder. Sausages and brats always come out looking like burnt puffy worms. Remember the ones you dissected for biology class? Not tasty. I inevitably burn the kids, and myself, from flying grease bombs. I’m certain that if the Trojans had used a hot skillet filled with olive oil they would have burned down that blasted wooden horse and won the war. I also undercook all meat. My chicken legs are fit for the tigers at the zoo or Hannibal Lecter, not for normal hungry humans. When your dishes could kill innocent women and children from salmonella poisoning, it’s time to reconsider cooking.
According to recent studies, my reliance on my husband for home cooked meals is not the norm. A 2011 American Time Use Survey from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that, on an average day, 41 percent of men participate in food preparation or cleanup, compared with 68 percent women. In all honesty, I expected these percentage of women who prepare the family meals to be much higher. I relished my minority status. But women recently have had a greater gender equalizer than just the Feminist Movement of the 70s: Fast Food. It is estimated that kids get up to 40 percent of their meals from fast-food chains, convenience stores and restaurants. Now mothers need not depend on their husbands for domestic help when Ronald and Wendy serve breakfast, lunch and supper right around the corner. Hopefully this trend will reverse itself and the old fashioned family meal prepared by- wait for it- a family member will return, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. Although holding our breath might make our waists look a tad bit smaller after they expand from all those high calorie fast food meals. Hm.
Being summer break, I do muster up enough cooking prowess to feed my three kids breakfast and lunch during he work week. Thank the lord for super sugary breakfast cereals, fresh fruit and raw vegetables. I’ve learned ranch dressing makes anything edible, including rice cakes and even cardboard pizza cutouts. Canned soups, cheese sticks, PB and J and a plethora of lunch meat finish the smorgasbord. Viola. Welcome to the Beam Bistro.
A lot of people might call me lazy. Or maybe they think I could learn to cook. But I tend to reply cooking is like an art. Can you teach a tone deaf person how to sing? Yes, with the unfortunate advent of auto-tune, but otherwise not so much. And we’ve seen the train wreck auto-tune causes. Have you heard Kim Kardashian’s song? The horror. Same with cooking. I too have some auto-tune food prep items, like the microwave , a toaster and the phone to call out for delivery. But leave me to fend to my own devices, and I’m quite literally toast.
So I suppose there are worse things than being a kept wife. But shouldn’t current societal norms allow for the men who allow their wives to cook all the meals to be called spoiled and coddled as well? Until then, I’ll be thankful for any dinner my husband prepares for the kids and me. Plus, according to a Journal of Family Issues study, men that contribute more time to domestic chores also tend to heat up the bedroom more frequently then men who contribute less. Can anyone say check, please?