Are We Raising Just Boys?
The kitchen in the house is a woman’s domain. This is what they have made us believe over the years. A mother cooks with love for the family is a vicious thought ingrained in the mind of every human being. Are fathers incapable of cooking, or do they not have love to spare?
Most commercially operated kitchens in India have men as top chefs. So why is there a barrier of men cooking at home? Why have we women accepted generation after generation that kitchen is a female bastion?
The woman of the house -be it a mother, daughter, sister, daughter-in-law – men expect them to take over and supervise the kitchen. And the major reason for this is women.
I have seen so many women proudly boasting, “My son can’t even boil water.” Truly, that is something to be ashamed of. Cooking is a life skill, and more and more children not cooking will end up eating a lot of junk food and readymade food and probably become less healthy.
Dear mothers out there, I ask you to take up the challenge to teach your sons to cook and clean. We eat three times a day and if they don’t know to feed themselves what mothers it makes us.
Here are some tips. Catch them young. At around 5 years, ask them to choose the menu for the day and ask them to gather the ingredients. If you like baking, ask them to measure the ingredients and mix them. When they are over 7years old, teach them to cook using induction, preparing idli, dosa, noodles, and poha.
At about 9 years, ask them to peel and cut vegetables. Carrot, mushroom, lady’s finger, and beans are easy to handle. Initially, please don’t comment on the size and shape of the cuts they make. At this stage, you can teach them to use the cooker.
At 12 years they can help you make a complete meal. Encourage them to make their own sandwiches, milkshakes, noodles and pasta, tea, and coffee. Be proud of their cooking skills in front of guests. A little appreciation will go a long way.
Boys like to explore techniques about cooking. Teach them the terminology like blanching, steaming, frying, deep-frying, pressure cooking. Teach them the science behind it. Tell them why some veggies cook faster than others.
Teach them to use rice cookers. Once they get the hang of cooking, they will begin exploring.
Boys will be boys is another statement I disagree with. Boys can be more if you instill values in them. Cleaning up after oneself is basic etiquette. Ask them to load the washing machine, dry the clothes, fold them, and put them away. Teach them to dust, sweep, and mop. When they grow up, you don’t have to look for someone to look after them. They can find an equal partner.
PS: I am teaching all this to my boys because my mother-in-law is supportive of the idea that boys also need to learn to cook and clean. Many of you will find opposition from your mothers-in-law and mothers but take it as a challenge and let us together bring about a change.
Remember, you are not just raising boys but loving husbands and devoted fathers.
Love to all the mothers raising boys. More power to you.