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The American Time Use Survey, an annual report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, found that 43 percent of men said they cook at home — the highest share in 30 years. They also spent more time cooking: an average of 49 minutes in 2015, the most time in the last 50 years. Conversely, now only about 70 percent of women say they cook, this rate has fallen from a whopping 92 percent in 1965.
Good news for us all, and especially those of us who are the ones traditionally known for doing most of the cooking.
Spurred on by TV cooking shows and services like Blue Apron, both men and women are viewing the job of cooking to be one of a leisure activity instead of a chore. That is also good news. It means more and better food and creativity is going on.
Changes in the divisions of labor in households are being renegotiated as couples find new ways to share domestic duties. To meet the demand of this rise in men cooking, homebuilders are creating cooking zones, with duplicate appliances, specialty built-ins for specific culinary jobs and matching workspaces. This also has developers and kitchen designers struggling to come up with a kitchen where home cooks can share the joy of cooking without the space morphing into an unruly anchor. Accordingly, the average kitchen has grown 53 percent since 1992, from 200 to 306 square feet in 2013, the last year data was available according to the National Association of Home Builders.
Hopefully the emerging trend of larger kitchens won’t take the turn toward the unmanageable as home sizes grow larger. Making the traditional three-point kitchen sink, stove and refrigerator triangle morph into a tragic waste of space. There is also a point of no return on over-built, over-complicated work spaces.
Could you cook with your partner in the same space?
On a few occasions, Stephen and I have been able to each take a side of the island and work together. We also each have a sink, oven and dishwasher. My husband has a few really good recipes that he cooks but he is also a little messy. I have learned to clean as I go and leave the kitchen orderly, him not so much.
The bottom line is that if a man wants to cook for me, I’ll gladly take the co-pilot’s seat and stay out of the way. And I’ll also stay the heck out of the kitchen.
(Source: The Wall Street Journal)
Susan Woody has been a home and garden writer for more than 20 years and is a master gardener.