How do you look at a girl/woman who loves to eat (I mean the quantity)? Not with kind eyes I am sure. And a boy/man? That’s normal right? Women who love food are over-eaters and men who love food are foodies. Women are meant to cook and men are meant to eat, right? Huh! Nonsense.
Most of the times when I dine with men (all age groups), a question pops in mind. The question is to all men out there. How many of you actually consider taking lesser portions in your first helping so that the food is equitably available for all? At home, do you think for a moment that the woman (women) who cooked for you painstakingly also gets a portion as she would like to? I don’t think so. And if you really do, then my boy, you are a gem.
You might say I am judgmental and going overboard. But I am just saying what I have been observing since childhood. I distinctly remember a story of an aunty whose family consists of her husband and two sons. While the husband and the boys were quite healthy and heavy, she was quite thin. She used to narrate how when she cooked meat and placed it on the table, all that used to left for her were neck and bony pieces which the men did not like.
When my grandmother got married and went into a joint family, she along with the other daughters-in-law cooked for the huge family but ate at the last, after the men and children. And what they got was leftovers. And this is what usually happens in households. But is this right? I feel the only time that due attention is given to what a woman is eating is when she is pregnant. Pardon me for the bluntness.
May be the answer lies in our upbringing and culture. Girls are always taught to be considerate, sharing, submissive and sacrificing (including matters of food). And those who don’t adhere to such behaviour aren’t considered to be good sisters, wives or mothers. They are also told that fat girls are not ideal brides and they should be slim and trim to get good grooms. Sons are seldom told that they have fixed portions and to leave portions for their sister or mother. But daughters are always taught to be sacrificing or they learn that by observing their mothers. And the irony is that it is the women in your home who cook.
Luckily things have been changing over the generations. Women by nature are sacrificing in different spheres of life. But they are at least shedding their inhibitions including the matter of eating. Also men are becoming more caring.
This article has been published on Women’s Web on 14th January 2015.