Family meal planning stereotypically falls on the shoulders of women; however an increasing number of men are working in the kitchen. In 1965, dad helmed the stove only about 5 percent of the time. By 2005, at least according to statistics presented in the book Changing Rhythms of American Family Life, that figure had grown substantially: the paternal unit was responsible for a third of a family’s time spent cooking. (Some sources point to the increasing number of women in the out-of-home workforce, others see that having cooking know-how is a means of making a man more attractive to a potential romantic interest.) And with websites such as Man Tested Recipes and television programming like “Top Chef” that put a highly competitive spin on cooking, our 21st century culture is encouraging men to dispense with old gender roles and crack out the pots and pans. If the father figure in your life is already master of the kitchen—or if you’re trying to encourage one to expand his cooking abilities beyond the occasional bit of grilling—here are a few Father’s Day book ideas that we hope will get his creative gears turning.
Man With a Pan: New Yorker editor John Donahoe offers this collection of essays—and yes, a few recipes—in which notable personalities from author Stephen King to chef Mario Batali open up about their foibles and triumphs in the kitchen. If nothing else, it reinforces the idea that learning how to make meals for loved ones is a wonderful way to provide for one’s family. Donahoe caught the cooking bug after he and his wife had their first child and he realized that, if he was going to have satisfying dining experiences, he was better off making meals at home than dining out. “Night after night,” Donohue says in his introduction, “when I whipped up something delicious that pleased Sarah and fed Aurora and Isis, I felt like I was doing something so right that I couldn’t possibly go wrong.” For those of you looking to go beyond the book, Donahoe tracks his culinary escapades by way of his blog.