We had our occasional red meat last Sunday. We really wanted steaks and mashed potatoes but S&R ran out of rib eye steaks so my husband bought pork loin instead. Then, he cooked tequila porkloin, a beloved dish from Tucker Shaw’s “Gentlemen, Start Your Ovens: Killer Recipes for Guys”.
Sunday in our house is Dad’s Turn To Cook Day. Last Sunday was the second time my husband cooked tequila porkloin and the second attempt was 10 times better than the first. He browned the meat well before putting it in the oven and the result was just gorgeous. I really love it that he cooks on Sundays. Sometimes, he still tries to cheat by buying packs of marinated bangus and asking the house helpers to fry them. He did that on our first Sunday in the new house. Then, in the evening, he went out and bought Manok ni Sr. Pedro.
But things have settled down since; we have a 90-percent functional kitchen (we’re adding a kitchen cabinet for more storage space) and he’s cooking real meals again. He even made some mashed potatoes (with yogurt) and buttered corn to go with the tequila porkloin.
Most men balk at the thought of cooking. This is Asia, this is the Philippines, where men are pampered by their mothers and hence grow up clueless in the kitchen. They thrive in a culture that expects women to do all the cooking because household chores are a woman’s domain. I hate that mentality, really. As though men were “too good” and “too important” to do household chores. As though it is an insult to them. In an age when both the husband and the wife work to make ends meet, there is something seriously wrong when the husband comes home and does nothing but watch TV and expect his wife to cook dinner and wash the dishes and attend to the kids.
There is something seriously wrong too if dad sits down to breakfast expecting and waiting to be served his coffee while mom is flying all over making breakfast, preparing the kids for school, preparing their packed school meals and getting ready to go to work too.
What’s up with the thinking that it is natural for the wife alone to have two jobs, one outside the house and another as housekeeper cum cook cum nanny? Isn’t it more realistic for them to divide the housework and childcare between them? Isn’t it more reasonable for dad to at least make the morning coffee instead of waiting to be served like some kind of Spanish-era señor?
It’s culture, yes. A lot of people think it has something to do with dad being the breadwinner. But in households where mom earns more than dad, and that’s becoming more common these days, she still doesn’t get the same privileges that tradition says dad is entitled to by right. So, it really doesn’t have anything to do with who brings home more dough. It is a gender issue.
It has a lot to do too with what our children are taught in school. When my kids were in grade school, and that wasn’t too long ago, they had textbooks that defined the roles of the father and the mother at home. There were illustrations of the kids bringing their father his slippers when he came home from work while the mother is cooking dinner. Laying his slippers at his feet, in fact, while the kids removed dad’s shoes and socks and put them away. It was the perfect picture of the man being treated every inch like the master of the house and the wife and children his minions who are expected to pamper him and make his life comfortable.
This is 2008. I do not know if such textbooks are still in use. Shame on the Education Department if they still are.
In my book, men who refuse to do housework by virtue of their gender and nothing else are sissies. Sissies!!! And men who expect to be served at home as though it is a privilege that belongs exclusively to males are assholes. Assholes!!! If there’s one good thing that came out of the exodus of Filipino professionals and skilled workers, it is the fact that living away from their wives and mothers have forced the males to learn how to cook and keep house.
In my book, men who find no shame in cooking–not as a diversion but as part of real life–and doing housework are the most virile and the most secure about their masculinity. Why? Because they define their manliness by what they know they are rather than by what society and culture dictate. The ones who conveniently hide behind norms and illogical traditions are either cowards, dumb, numb or insecure. Or maybe all of that.
Of course, with males as with females, there are those whose talents lie elsewhere– the kitchen disasters–and they are better off away from the kitchen. I’m not talking about them. I’m talking about the macho thing–the attitude that some things just aren’t manly. Crap, there are only four non-manly things in the world–menstruation, pregnancy, giving birth and breastfeeding. The rest is just screwed culture.