Three-quarters of women still do most of the cooking and food shopping for their partner and family, suggests new research that will help health promotion policies to be targeted more effectively
The study of nearly 200 British men and women in their early 30s found that, although half of the women worked full time, they still shouldered most of the responsibility for making sure their household was fed.
The rise of celebrity chefs like Jamie Oliver has made cooking more acceptable a pastime to the modern man, say researchers from Newcastle Universitys Human Nutrition Research Centre, who carried out the study.
But whereas some of the men surveyed saw cooking as a hobby and a chance to be creative, women had a more practical approach and were largely relied upon to do the day-to-day cooking and shopping tasks.
The study, funded by the Wellcome Trust, is published in the British Food Journal. The results, which highlight how important women continue to be in influencing food choices, could help shape health intervention policies.
Lead author, Dr Amelia Lake, a Newcastle University research fellow, commented: "Women have made great progress in terms of equal opportunities over the last few decades so it surprised us to find that many women, even in this relatively young age group, assumed the traditional female role of chief cook and food shopper.
"Celebrity chefs like Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay have helped change the image of cooking as womens work and many cook books are aimed at men. Yet our research suggested men like to use cooking as a chance to show off occasionally, while women are left with the day-to-day chores.
"Some of the men we surveyed viewed cooking as more of a hobby - and indeed its usual to find meals like barbeques, Sunday lunches and speciality dishes like curries are a mans culinary showpieces."