One of the most derogatory things you can say to a woman harken back to traditional (read: archaic) gender roles. “Go back to the kitchen ” or “make me a sandwich” were common online “jokes” a few years ago.
Thankfully, we do seem to be making some progress as a society. Dual salary households make the domestic sphere a shared duty between husband and wife. But the busier we get, the less time we have for cooking at all.
In 2014, less than 60 percent of dinners eaten at home were actually cooked at home. Just 30 years prior, the percentage was nearly ten points higher. Why the big change?
With more women working outside the home, less time is spent on the stove – on average, a woman in 2013 spent around 66 minutes cooking per day, which is down from 112 minutes in the 1960s. The same study cites a slight uptick of 8 minutes for men, which is an improvement, but doesn’t make up for the steep decrease in time overall.
“People today have less time to dedicate to hearty homemade meals and as a result, we’re cooking less.”
It’s an odd phenomenon, especially when considering the various reality shows dedicated to cooking. It’s become more of a spectator sport, if you will, something you watch but don’t partake in. Similarly, the Foodie fad is all about experiencing the newest and hippest restaurants around town, and not much to do with making your own gourmet meals.
Another subgenre of reality television is home renovation. At the center of these renovations is the kitchen, which are always stressed as the most important room in the house. How important could it be if we’re not cooking anymore?
Studies show that prepared foods sold in grocery stores are on the rise. Pre-packaged foods are partly to blame for the obesity problem in the United States. More than two thirds of American adults are overweight, with a whopping 74 adult men considered obese.
The rise in weight is due to plenty of factors, such as decreased inactivity (because of more time spent at work) and increased portion sizes. But it can also be attributed to the fact that we’re eating out more than we’re eating in.
Cooking your own food can be healthier. Sure, you could fix yourself a hotdog every single day, but the more control you have over your diet allows you to really think about everything you are putting into your body.
Aside from the health benefits of cooking your own food, cooking can benefit you psychologically. Preparing your own food gives you more of sense of control and satisfaction when you finally get to sit down and enjoy your meal. You get immediate satisfaction when you eat pre-prepared food, but the delaying of that satisfaction makes it greater.
Regardless of why you’re spending less time in the kitchen, the consensus is that we should cook a little more for ourselves. It can only benefit us, and in more ways than one.