Are men cooking more or less nowadays?

As frequent readers of this blog have likely gleaned, I watch a lot of TV. Although I try to justify it as part of my job, (once a food or food trend makes its way into pop culture I need to know about it, right?) the truth is, I just like sitting around.

Last week I was watching the pilot of Cashmere Mafia and I was struck not only by how boring it was, but by how the men were portrayed as the castrated, compromised subordinates to the hyper successful female main characters.

A little later that same evening I saw a preview for a show I don’t watch called Big Shots. It featured a vaguely familiar, very dishy actor having a revelation: “We’re the new women,” he bemoaned to his equally dishy friends. All characters looked crestfallen. I guess the idea of cooking on a daily basis isn’t every man’s idea of bliss!

Both of these shows (which are presumably written for women viewers) underlined an interesting point. Although droves of women work and have busy lives, the number of men who cook dinner daily has increased only by a small amount. Yes, statistics show that more men are cooking but they aren’t necessarily doing more weeknight meal preparation. From the research I’ve read, moms are still doing the day-to-day cooking while dads and single men are sauntering into the kitchen in their spare time to experiment with recipes for yeast breads, fresh pasta or slow-cooked roasts.

Men treat cooking like their other traditional hobbies such as carpentry and landscaping, spending considerably more on appliances, ingredients and tools than a woman typically spends. Bottom line: Men aren’t the new women. They’re just men who’ve discovered another room where they can relax.

A is your ninth and final letter for the mystery word. Go on, unscramble that word and enter it in the Homemakers Slow Cooker Mystery Word Contest. You have until midnight on March 3, 2008 to figure it out and enter to win a Hamilton Beach slow cooker plus a copy of my cookbook, Dana’s Top Ten Table (HarperCollins, 2007). Good luck!

19 Responses to Are men cooking more or less nowadays?

  1. danamccauley says:


    Just wanted to add to your men cooking story…I just interviewed Marion Chan from NPD Group and here are the excerpts from my transcription…..

    another big impact as to how people are going to shop and that is the fact that the male head of the household is becoming more involved in the meal process…in one area they are making the most impact is in clean up but also in shopping… we have seen an increase over the last three years from 18% up to 21% of households where the male was responsible for the food shopping…so with the male… it changes the whole game because we know that grocery stores and manufacturers have always targeted products and shopping experience to the primary female consumer …head of the household and with the man being there I dont even know how they shop …I know how they eat….what they eating are foods that are much more prepared and theres not neccessarly brand names they are looking at but simplicity.


    Thanks for adding this info to the discussion Gail! It’s wonderful to have your research!

  2. Dear Dana,

    Keeping down weight is always tough, especially as we age. It seems to me, however, that advacating a powerbar for breakfast is a bad nutrional idea. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, not lunch, nor dinner. So, a Dr. Berstein bar is not my idea of a meal. Besides, looking at the good doctor these days, I don’t think I care much for following his advise. His looks are not a good advertisement for weight loss.

    People may not share my impression, but his philosophy of losing weight is actually dangerous. He encourage people to lose weight fast, which actually leads to regaining weight.

  3. danamccauley says:

    To each her own. I totally respect your opinion and I’m not advocating Dr. Bernstein’s diet, just this one product as an alternative to my ubiquitous egg white omelet.

    THannks for your comment.

  4. Seth says:

    As a guy who has cooked since college, I’m always interested in ‘why don’t more men cook?’

    I think most men are:
    1) Lazy – they don’t cook because they know she will. Or they don’t want to clean up a kitchen.
    2) They think cooking is too feminine for them.

  5. danamccauley says:

    It’s interesting, isn’t it? I don’t really get why men aren’t cooking either. My husband is a professional chef so needless to say, the only reason he isn’t cooking at home is because he isn’t at home that often at meal time.

    What’s really interesting (to me at least) is the households of my friends where men do cook often and well, the women don’t. So, maybe you have something in your first point Seth. Maybe if there is doubt about whether she will cook, men get more motivated…?

  6. Ryan Graff says:

    Hey, Dana! Cool blog!
    And what an interesting post. I’ve heard and read that men are cooking more for the past few years, but haven’t ever seen any hard numbers backing it up. In fact, the closest I’ve seen is from your transcript with Marion Chan (18-21%).

    Although I am a cook myself, I am especially interested now, because I am a journalism student who is pitching a men’s cooking magazine a class of mine. If you’ve got a minute I’d love to see (or be directed to) the numbers you reference in the post.

    Thanks for your help. A very interesting blog.


  7. danamccauley says:

    Hey Ryan,

    When I ‘m at the office I’ll give you those numbers. I also have a blog post coming up with more new numbers. I can hook you up with a PR person who sent me the details of an interesting study just last week.

    Thanks for your interest!


  8. danamccauley says:

    Hi Ryan,

    Sorry for the delay. The info above came from the Kitchen Aid Trend Report :

    Other new Canadian stats are available from Laura Garcia at National PR who has graciously allowed me to post her email address here: lgarcia at national dot ca (I didn’t use the regular format to protect her from spam so you’ll need to insert the ‘at’ symbol and an actual dot.).

    Good luck with your research and pitch. Post info about how it all turns out here if you don’t mind. I’d love to hear how your idea is received.

  9. […] on men and cooking In the weeks since I first wrote about the cooking habits of modern men, I’ve noticed many Internet searches often bring people to that particular blog post (the other […]

  10. hey!
    great post!
    personally, i think it depends on the community and the culture you are exposed to. Personally where i live men cook more, whereas my sister lives in a city area and she mentioned that no one cooks in manhattan that all her friends and her boyfriend go out to eat or she cooks. if you are interested i have my own Toronto Family Meals To Go if it interests you! i hope so!
    good luck with the research!

  11. Russ Klettke says:

    From my own research writing a book on nutrition for men* (first directive: make your own meals because meals made outside the home average 55% more calories, with higher levels of saturated fat and processed carbohydrates, plus excess sodium), I know a bit about what motivates men to begin living more nutritionally and therefore cooking more. Most often, according to research at the University of Minnesota, it’s usually driven by an adverse health diagnosis, less so appearance (the key motivator more common for women).

    Typically, that would mean something cardiovascular (high cholesterol, blood pressure), but a recent article I’ve posted online seems to indicate that testosterone is the big motivator (i.e., the decline thereof). It’s possible to combat that decline with both diet and exercise, as detailed here:

    If you can persuade a guy to cook nutritionally and work out more to perk up his mood, body composition and libido, why not? It’s probably a safer route than artificial growth hormones, which are being heavily prescribed by doctors.

    *A Guy’s Gotta Eat, the regular guy’s guide to eating smart,” by Russ Klettke with Deanna Conte MS RD LD, (2004 Marlowe & Co./Da Capo Press)

  12. girlenglisha says:

    america pets you kitchen key this tree global

  13. mz652 says:

    Thought you might be interested in checking out The Bitch Stopped Cooking – a site devoted to the culinary liberation of women and emotional and tactical support for the men who take over!

    There are some fun products, recipes, and tips! Feel free to leave your own recipes on our forum!

  14. You make some good points.

    When I was retrenched last year, I took over the daily cooking job at home, and I love it. But yes, I don’t believe men on the whole are stepping up to the hotplate and tackling the grind of putting meals on the table, day in, day out.

    Which is an issue I address in my own blog, A Bloke Who Can Cook.

    P.S. There may be one magic ingredient to get men to cook more: surveys show that men who take on more of the household tasks tend to have more sex. That should reel ’em in 😉

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  17. AMD says:

    Yes i totally agree upon this. Men usually only do daily cooking due to the working woman, but it also better because the man actually knows how to cook. Most dont even know a tablespoon form a teaspoon.

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