Gender Parity,  Popcorn Zone

Why Do Women Have to Cook?

“She caught me red handed! I had cut open the packet of instant sambar mix and was about to add a couple of spoons in water, when I noticed my mother-in-law peering from behind me. “You know how to make Sambar don’t you?” she asked. My sheepish grin gave it all away.

I am a married woman and…. I don’t like to cook!!! Well before you give me those judgmental looks. Let me make things clear. I do know how to cook, yet it is to me a mundane task that I seldom enjoy doing. But, years back the story was a bit different. Oh! Not that I enjoyed it then, just that I did not know how to cook……at all.

The initial year of being married was sheer bliss. We lived in a little sea facing apartment in Mumbai and just like other working couples, we had our own things to do. Travelling in the Mumbai local, getting back late and partying in the weekends. The kitchen in the apartment was the least visited place, except for the morning cup of coffee and toast, which too was prepared by an over-efficient Maharashtrian maid.  I was more than happy and content with the set-up, as I didn’t have to be bogged down by what to cook. Until, the mother in law decided to pay us a visit for a week. Being an orthodox person, she seldom ate food cooked by a maid, which meant, the kitchen had to be brought to some order.


So the Sunday before the D-day, hubby and I, took stock of the entire situation. That is when he popped the most important question.  He hadn’t asked me this during our 5 yearlong courtship, nor had he bothered to discover it in the few months of being together as a married couple. “So you can cook right?”

“Well….” my sentence dragged on. I can try. “Maybe I should just pick up some books and read up. What kind of food does your mom like?”

“Mom loves traditional Kerala food. Let’s go shopping for cook books. You still have a week left….”

During the course of the week I spent laborious hours in the kitchen after work, churning out “traditional Kerala food”. The results were of course disastrous, when one evening I could take it no longer and burst into tears.

“I just hate cooking. I have to stand for hours, knead, chop and I even burnt my finger. I can’t handle this anymore.”

Comforting me hubby came up with this brilliant plan. “Let’s stock up instant food mix packets in the kitchen. It is just a week, so mom would not know. And then we could both learn to cook together”. Awwww I melted in his arms… That was the sweet side of him.

As the D day arrived, hubby and I seemed extra anxious and worried. Would we be able to pull it off? The first few days went off pretty well and mom in law quite didn’t find out. However one fine morning, I was caught red handed in the act, when she popped into the kitchen unexpectedly.

It was blasphemy! She just realized her daughter in law could not cook nor did she enjoy doing so.

As a young girl, I was way too happy to be in the kitchen- not really to learn the nuances of cooking, but to dig into the yummy stuff mom used to make. I could never make sense of the numerous little containers that were stacked up there. “How would you be able to run a family later in life if you can’t cook?” This is what my mom would often say. Yet nothing could get me to learn cooking. When friends, would discuss all things related to baking and cooking, I would be lost in a world of my own. Cooking seldom interested me.

But life sure has its own way of getting things straight for you. Over the years, as I matured from a newly married woman to the mother of two kids, the non- existent cook in me had metamorphosed into a mother who could cook up a meal in a jiffy. I still don’t enjoy it, but the kitchen isn’t that bad a place after all now. I guess those innocent smiles of appreciation I get, works as a motivational factor to experiment recipes.

Hubby on the other hand is yet to learn, unlike what he had promised. May be I shall leave the “traditional Kerala meal” for him to learn!! 

Spread the love


  • Tarang Sinha

    Loved reading this post! I also don’t enjoy cooking. I never cooked when I was unmarried even though I was not a bad cook. I just don’t like it. But, just like many married women (moms), I cook everyday. And, everyday this question comes to my mind — Why Do Women Have To Cook?

  • Neena

    Oh I could see myself, a malayalee with no cooking skills and least interest to learn. Hate kitchen as it feels obligated to cook. I can cook for fun but not for obligation.

  • kalaravi16

    LOL! I totally enjoyed reading this Ramya! I am a pretty good, intuitive cook thankfully, but the strange part is I am not fond of cooking! It’s like since there is no one else to do it, I do it!

  • Lata Sunil

    You sound like my twin. I also did not know to cook and also never enjoyed it. But, I landed living in a joint family. I had to cook. I learnt all from my mother-in-law but I am nowhere near her skills. I cook but it is not what I love to do. Thankfully, I have a maid now who does it for me.

    • Me Otherwise

      Lata, I have a maid now too, but still end up doing a bit here and there. From actually detesting the whole activity to being ok with it, my journey has been quite exciting actually. Nevertheless it isnt my favourite still and I seldom cook a exotic dishes

  • Ramya

    Nice post straight from heart i suppose ☺ I was scrolling down the comments and was surprised to see many people who doesn’t enjoy cooking. Iam also one of them and I feel happy now. As the title mentioned, whenever a married woman says she doesn’t like cooking, people become judgemental. If both men and women are studying and working away from homes alike, obviously a married woman can also be new to cooking like men and she might or might not like this daily chore. It is as simple as that, but people don’t understand this easily.

    • Me Otherwise

      Thanks ramya. I am surprised too at the number of them who actually like cooking yet are bound to doing it. Similar to education being imparted to both the genders, cooking as a skill should be imparted to both genders .. what say?

  • inquisitivegeet

    I too don’t like to cook. Occasionally, it’s fine, but if you talk about it on daily basis, you are messing up with me!

    Loved reading this post!


  • Uma

    Totally loved this because I also do not enjoy cooking, never was interested enough to learn it at my mom’s place. Mom would say the same thing because I could never differentiate between the dals. I used to spend hours cooking just a simple rasam and curry after marriage and yet something would either turn extra salty or very bland. Wrists and fingers were always bruised too! Of course, now, after many years and a kid, it’s quite a different story. Like you said, I still don’t enjoy it but it’s not a scary place after all.

  • Mayuri6

    I detest cooking, but learnt to cook because my husband is a foodie. Ironically, I have a food blog now, but STILL detest cooking!

    I loved reading your experiences change over time and this piece suited the prompt so well. Keep it up!

  • Shilpa Gupte

    Hey, ditto ditto!
    I, too, wasn’t all that qualified to enter the kitchen post marriage, but I managed. it did help that hubby is a good cook and each time I tried something new, I just had to call out to him in a sugary sweet voice and in would come my knight in shining armour, all ready to handle any situation! Over the years, I learnt a lot from observing him and my MIL and SIL, and now I am a pretty decent cook. But, at the end of the day, I am NOT very fond of ‘that area’ called kitchen, you know! So, don’t worry, you have company! 🙂 And, next time, if someone asks you about your culinary interests, just shrug your shoulders and say,”What to do? We are like that only!” Hehehe.

    • Me Otherwise

      Wow its great that your hubby cooks. Mine is just not too keen to even try, except for probably a cup of tea. i literally need to push him to learn to cook something…

      But yes. we all learn over the years and probably even try our hand at innovation in food. But yeah I still am not into exotic cooking..

  • Mohammad Abdullah

    Excellent and very affectionate words have been used to deal with the situations which our half of the population is facing. But the irony is that its the same gender which is imposing the orthodoxy and are not willing to accept that now everything has been liberalised.

    Keep blogging. I am a frequent visitor.

    • Me Otherwise

      Thanks for your comments. Well, its not about gender here, but just the dislike towards a task ….I am glad you are my frequent visitor and hope you enjoy reading my posts.

Have something to say?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: