Let’s get our boys into the kitchen – and not just to eat

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Eating comes naturally to most boys – during rapid growth spurts, the average teenage boy will consume approximately 3,500 calories a day. But what about cooking? With 1 in 3 university students unable to boil an egg, how can you make sure your son’s cooking skills keep up with his appetite?

An inspiring example of why boys should learn to cook was last night’s MasterChef Grand Finale runner up, Matt, the down-to-earth, likeable coffee roaster who was narrowly beaten by Elena in the very last cook-off for the season.  Matt makes it manly to cook.  He demonstrated so many qualities we want for our sons – creativity, tenacity, hard work, focus, sensitivity, and a sense of fun. Other ‘foodie’ role models include the abundance of male celebrity chefs who, in recent years, have become household names. 

Food education is, without doubt, one of life’s most important skills… just as valuable as reading, writing and maths.

Jamie Oliver

So why is it then that in most households women still spend hundreds of hours more each year than men doing unpaid work including cooking, cleaning and childcare?  The 2015 US Bureau of Labour Statistics annual time use survey reveals on an average day, 43% of men engage in food preparation and clean up compared with 70% of women. Even when both men and women work full-time jobs, women consistently do more than men in what Arlie Hochschild calls the ‘second shift’ once they get home. 

This is not a surprise to most of us.  But let’s consider, what can we do with our sons to ensure these stats change for our daughters and daughters-in-laws in the future. 

Chef and food activist Jamie Oliver believes “Food education is, without doubt, one of life’s most important skills… just as valuable as reading, writing and maths.” So let’s start cooking!

7 fun reasons why we need to teach our sons to cook (from a man who cooks)

1. Girls love it

There isn’t a woman alive immune to a man who can make her a delicious meal. Step up to the plate boys, we’re begging you.

2. Knives. Lots of knives

Boys (and men) love knives.  And you can’t cook without them.  The joy of a well-balanced super-sharp knife in your hand is like no other. And learning to cut and dice like a real chef is very impressive!

3. Gadgets. Lots of gadgets

And even better than knives are the gadgets that come with cooking. Blow-torches, water baths, wood fired ovens, spice grinders and smokers. Boys and toys – it’s just natural.

4. Choose what you want to eat

Boys will soon learn that cooking gives them power.  You can cook what you want, in the way you desire, with the seasoning that makes your palate sing. And if other people don’t like it, bad luck: let them make their own!

5. Life skills are manly

Boys like to know how to fill a car, fix their bike, build a camp-fire, surf.  Shouldn’t they also know how to feed themselves without a drive-thru?

6. Good nutritional habits

Studies show that if boys get involved in cooking before they leave home, they are more likely to have healthy eating habits,

7. They just might like it…

Cooking is relaxing, fun, creative, purposeful and hopefully delicious.  Why wouldn’t you want your son to add this to his ‘tool belt’?

 Brought to you by Brighton Grammar School

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