My grandsons inform me that they don’t like soup. My son-in-law doesn’t either. They say that men don’t eat soup. It’s not a proper meal. My daughter says that when she makes it she has to eat it all herself. I don’t think they eat trifle either. This was all a surprise to me. I love soup, particularly home-made, and never considered it might be a gender-dominant issue. I know that there’s a book called ‘Real men won’t eat quiche’ and my own husband would rather eat pork pie. But how is it that food is now divided along gender lines? My Dad would have eaten anything as long as it tasted good. Gender was only an issue when it came to the size of the portions. My Dad and brothers always got the larger portions. As a child it never occurred to me to question it. When my boyfriend (now husband) joined the household they teased him for his bird-like appetite. Mum never got over the fact that he ate less than me and never took ‘seconds’. That was unheard of as the rest of us vied to get the leftovers.
A friend at lunch today, telling us how his friend’s girlfriend has moved into their flat, described her as ‘Not a real woman … She doesn’t cook…’. I nearly choked on my roast! Does this mean that every man still expects his tea on the table, irrespective of talent, availability and fairness?
I have to admit that I do most of the cooking because my husband ‘eats to live’ and would happily live on a diet of fry-ups, roasts and pork chops. It’s fuel for the body in his opinion. Not much more. Whereas I regard feeding people as an act of love. We manage the situation and he will eat most things – except couscous. That’s not for men either, apparently. We’ll all eat cake though.
I wanted one life
You wanted another
We couldn’t have our cake
So we ate each other.
By Roger McGough.