Cooking is the way to a man’s heart – myth or reality?

For many decades, girls and young women have been taught that cooking food for a man is a good way to win his affections. It’s simple as, do anything to please him. We have also been socialized to believe that men are simple creatures, that they only want sex and food.

I once had a chat with a few friends about this, and we were divided on the subject. I wonder if cooking is the way to a man’s heart because men genuinely enjoy hearty meals as we have been made to believe, or it’s an opportune time for the woman to put korobela, a love potion in his food!

Food is an intimate experience. Good food creates memories, forges friendships and makes for good dinner table conversations. 

A few years ago, I was enrolled in a cooking school because I wanted to be a chef with my own company but I eventually realised that I didn’t want to cook for a living. I’m not fond of physical labour and prefer to cook and bake only when I’m a good mood. However, to this day, I’m a gourmet cook of note. I have found it interesting that a lot of men take culinary skills important.


The fact that I’m plump has also made boyfriends and potential suitors assume I’m always slaving away barefoot behind a stove, preparing hearty meals like dumplings and oxtail or pap and stew, which I find quite funny because I don’t even cook those dissipating food stuffs.

I have always preferred health conscious gents who appreciate simple dishes of vegetables and meat. But not all men, particularly our African brothers appreciate such meals… I recall one gentleman once asked me if I think he is a goat, when I served him a garden salad with chicken strips! In all fairness, I always prefer a man who can cook because I never want to hear, “Baby ne mma o kae, ke tshwerwe ke tlala!” 

I don’t think modern ladies cook as much as women of yesteryears because they have a lot more on their plate – work demands, hobbies, social life etc… I consume light meals or apaa ka lenao on weekdays, and only cook on Sundays because that’s usually when I have the time.

Cooking is therapeutic, especially when you invite other people to enjoy your labour of love. Preparing and sharing food is a personal and intimate experience. I only cook for close family and friends. Even with the opposite sex, I prefer to cook for special friends, not any Tom, Dick and Harry.

A man has to be really worthy – respectful, loving, decent and sophisticated to enjoy a woman’s culinary skills. Cooking and eating is an extension of good conversation, laughter and affection and those are things one enjoys with loved ones, and hence preparing a meal for someone is a significant act of love.

As a feminist, I still enjoy preparing meals contrary to false perceptions that women who proclaim to be feminists shun domestic duties. I however dislike the expectation aspect. I’m not a maid, so I shouldn’t be “expected” to cook, but do it because I want to, and can… 

On the flipside, as much as cooking is one of the ways you can show someone that you care for them, does food really have the power to be the deciding factor of the future course of a relationship? I think a person has to like so many aspects of their love interest before falling in love.  Things like cooking could be the cherry on top, not the important aspect…

The adage that ‘cooking is a way to man’s heart’ reflects men in a negative light, as if feeding a guy all the time will make him “behave and be nice to you”. This statement is almost as ignorant and offensive as the one that, Men always have sex on their minds.  It’s also suggesting in a way that men are shallow and seek no real qualities in the women they wish to date, or spend their lives with, except her cooking abilities. 

If we believe that this archaic adage is true, does it mean that the day the meal is not up to the mark, the man will shun his partner? Are you aware that there are many women who are married, but cannot cook never mind fry an egg? If food were of paramount importance to most men, then more women would be married, including the mmaseapei ladies littered across the city.

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