“Yes. I can prepare just about any meal, so I don’t need somebody to cook for me. But in a long-term partnership, it’s nice to know we would be able to support each other. We should both share all the domestic responsibilities in the household—that includes cooking.”
—Jose E., 35, artistic director
“Yes. Meals are part of our family traditions. I like that my wife keeps that going. Seeing that she could cook was how I knew she was The One. I don’t mind rolling up my sleeves in the kitchen, but the family bonding happens when she takes charge.”
—Richard W., 50, retired detective
“No. There are more important qualities that I look for in a woman. In fact, I prefer to cook for her. Food is a means of nurturing, and I love watching others enjoy meals I create. I would teach her, but I’d never pressure her about it.”
—Anthony B., 30, actor
MICHAEL ERIC DYSON BREAKS IT DOWN
Back in the day, a woman knew she had to be able to cook in order to catch a man. But times have changed. Women who might have burned their bras in the 1960’s didn’t want to worry about burning the food. And women who bring home the bacon now don’t mind if their man fries it up once in a while.
Unfortunately, superwoman strength works against Black women as much as it works for them at times. Your ability to do it all leads to the expectation that you will—from soup to nuts. In fairness, though, brothers should find ways to reciprocate the loving act of preparing a home-cooked meal. If we’re not all up to the caliber of G. Garvin, those of us who can’t create magic with pots or pans can treat our women to a restaurant meal or takeout, or offer to help in the kitchen. The brother who steps up to the (hot) plate has a better chance of keeping the home fires burning with his woman.
Michael Eric Dyson is the Avalon Foundation Professor in the Humanities at the University of Pennsylvania.