Men in the kitchen is nothing new, but men as everyday home cooks seems to be reaching a boiling point.
Men in the kitchen is nothing new, but men as everyday home cooks seems to be reaching a boiling point. Men have typically made guest cameos as cooks—for example, taking on outdoor-grilling duties or as part of an indulgent foodie trend (remember the Bacon Explosion?)—but lately their home-chef aspirations have developed more of an everyday flavor. Amazon Digital Services recently published the Man Cave Cookbook e-book series and, separately, Cooking for the Man Cave: What to Eat When Kicking Back With Family & Friends is due out in September. This weekend Men’s Health magazine (which publishes the Guy Gourmet blog) will host an inaugural cooking school day in New York to help celebrate its annual “guy food” issue.
Whereas ladle-loving lads were often assumed to have ulterior motives for entering the home’s hearth—as Britain’s “gastrosexual” trend highlighted—today men are simply playing a larger in meal planning and preparation. Nearly half of men 34 and under are playing a larger role in what gets served at home, according to recent research. And a University of Michigan study of Gen Xers found that “men are surprisingly involved in shopping for food and cooking”; they’re not yet on par with women, but they cook a lot more (an average of eight meals a week) than their fathers did. Drivers of this trend include an urge to take a more hands-on role in personal health and the “mancession.” Men may no longer fill the role of sole breadwinner, but “we’re replacing it with our status as the family’s only sourdough-walnut bread-maker,” writes How to Cook Like a Man author Daniel Duane in The Wall Street Journal.
Procter & Gamble was an early brand to respond, launching its Man of the House website (which includes recipes “every father should know how to make”) two years ago. Kraft Foods targeted several supermarket products at men last year, including Philadelphia Cooking Crème and MiO water flavoring, with positive results. Watch for more food brands to take this gender more seriously.