“Daal mai namak kam tha toh abbu ne ammi ka haath tordia!”
Food holds a special place in Pakistani culture, with its diverse and rich culinary traditions. However, there is an intriguing phenomenon that deserves attention – the tendency of Pakistani men to passionately express their opinions on the food they rarely, if ever, cook themselves. I believe that just because a man is earning and a woman is responsible for cooking and housework, it doesn’t give the man the right to be excessively angry or overly critical about any shortcomings in the food.
In many Pakistani households, it is commonly observed that men assume the role of spectators rather than active participants in the kitchen. It’s partly because of the desi household that they’re raised in. They watch their moms work and their dads eat. They may not have extensive culinary knowledge or practical experience, yet they readily offer unsolicited opinions on the flavors, textures, and overall quality of the dishes prepared by women, I mean agar itna masla hai toh khud pakalo! You will still be called a “man.”
Traditionally, women have been assigned the primary responsibility of cooking, while men have been positioned as consumers. This dynamic has unintentionally created a dichotomy where men feel entitled to pass judgment on the meals without actively engaging in the cooking process. And God forbid, if the food isn’t up to the standards, then either there is a fight or there is abuse.
Societal norms and expectations play a significant role in perpetuating this behavior. From a young age, Pakistani men are often conditioned to believe that their opinion carries weight in matters of food, even if they lack hands-on experience, or any other thing. We often see men mansplaining women about women’s jobs only. This ingrained sense of authority can result in a culture of criticism, where men freely express their preferences and judgments without considering the effort and skill invested by the cooks, while the woman feels discouraged for doing everything and yet, she is not good enough.
The phenomenon of Pakistani men critiquing food they rarely cook reflects larger societal dynamics and cultural expectations. By recognizing the impact of such behavior, we can work towards promoting inclusivity, understanding, and appreciation for the culinary efforts of all individuals. However, dear Pakistani men, if you still think “daal mai namak kam hai” then go to the kitchen, get the namak and pour it yourself because kitchen mai janay se tumhari “mardangi nahi chin jayegi.”