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And Thou shall therefore know how to cook for thine future husbands—11th Commandment
Recently, we had an argument at the office over cooking being the major criterion on marriage checklist. After a very impromptu survey, most men agreed to this standard and proceeded to give other criteria they expect their woman to have. Understanding the context of the African culture we live in, there are specific gender-role expectations within the institution of marriage. Imagining a man as a househusband is extremely difficult to wrap our minds around. “What! He must have clearly been bewitched by his unfortunate wife”, everyone would be sure to ask. In fact, just the amount of prayers rained daily on him would make him realize his mistake. A man who is not capable of financing his home is another type of scum according to our society. Men are allocated roles that are considered to be masculine, such as providing for and protecting the family. The reverse is unthinkable. Women are generally given roles that are primarily household and nurturing, and cooking tops that list. According to Wikipedia, cooking is the art, technology, craft of preparing food for consumption with or without the use of heat. As a little girl, a woman is trained to cook for her household, while some fall in love with the art of cooking, others don’t. The Science and lore of the kitchen appeal to many ladies and is relatively done with ease and a great deal of comfort. It should however not be mistaken as something every woman loves to do. Mageirocophobia, the fear of cooking is clearly a word that does not exist in our context. What does it even mean for an African woman to be afraid of cooking? This and many more questions would be asked. It is generally assumed that a woman who can’t cook is lazy, and no matter her educational qualification or attainment of success, she is looked at with a disdain. Arguments occur even in using technological advancement to enhance her cooking, as she is faced with much adversity. Not even cases of health-related issues, for instance, asthma, or pregnancy or even eye challenges prevent these women from this divine call. While giving them their rightful due, many men compromise and assist in this household chore. Some do when they have their various reasons, while some men just love to cook. Not going against the ethical codes that have been laid down, talk of gender equity will surely have my head bitten off. Breaking the silence on households that operate against the norm would be sacrilegious. In all, it’s best to abide by rules that will not rock your marriage and not be stiff in asserting roles.

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This article was first published on 17th October 2017


Adepeju Adenuga is a writer (considering where you are reading this, makes perfect sense). She holds a Masters Degree in Literature in English from the University of Lagos.

Comments (30)

30 thoughts on “Cooking, A Cultural Requirement For Women?”

  • You treated this writeup with utmost carefulness dear. Very much interesting. But guess what? A lady must at least know how to warm soup if she claims not to know how to make one.

  • Nice write up, but as an African,a woman should know how to cook

  • The way to a man heart is his stomach, as our mothers use to say, nice one peju, but is necessary for a woman to know how to cook

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