The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Men bread makers

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berryblondeboys's picture
berryblondeboys

Men bread makers

I think it is great to see a lot of men bakers here and it gets me to wondering - are the men folk here also the main cook at home? or is this just a passion that developed? and how did that happen?

I always wonder about men and grilling too... why is that a stereotyped man's job?

I told my husband that a lot of men bake and he said he's a lost cause - food prep and that man do not go hand in hand. HOWEVER, he eats whatever I put in front of him without complaint and appreciates the home cooked meals and is LOVING the homemade breads now on a DAILY basis versus special ocassions only.

But it made me curious!

Melissa

CountryBoy's picture
CountryBoy

I too have noted the gender specific makeup of this forum and my theory is that more women are not here because they are too busy with family and getting on with life.

I live in northern Westchester County in southern NY state and we are surrounded by reservoirs.  99% of the people we see fishing on those reservoirs are men.  I often wonder who it is that does the chores back home and taking care of the children while these men are out fishing.

I am retired so I have the time.

 

fancypantalons's picture
fancypantalons

Wow... so many bakers are male because they aren't "getting on with life".

Nice.

fancypantalons's picture
fancypantalons

"are the men folk here also the main cook at home? or is this just a passion that developed? and how did that happen?"

Definitely the primary cook in our household... my wife is, shall we say, less than enthusiastic about cooking. :)

As for how it came about, really, I've always enjoyed cooking, and more or less grew up helping out in the kitchen.  In fact, aside from Computing, Home Ec was probably my favorite option in high school, and at the risk of tooting my own horn, I've always had a pretty good feel for the process (although my true home ec masterpiece, cream filled pastry swans, were ruined by an accidental substitution of salted butter for unsalted butter *sigh*).

As an adult, I find cooking a great addition to my normal set of life skills.  I'm a programmer by trade, and so having an activity that emphasizes feel and sensation helps to keep me well-rounded(-ish).  At the same time, cooking is as much about proper technique and precision, as it is about "feel", and so it appeals to the logical side of my brain.

"I always wonder about men and grilling too... why is that a stereotyped man's job?"

ROFL, I honestly have no idea.  Probably because it could potentially involve explosions.

Personally, I chalk it up to yet one more gender stereotype... then again, I'm constantly baffled by the stereotypical male archetype, so I'm probably not one to judge. :)

"I told my husband that a lot of men bake and he said he's a lost cause - food prep and that man do not go hand in hand."

Meh, my wife says the same thing.  Honestly, I think it has more to do with interest and passion than anything else.  While it's probably true, just as it is with other skills, that innate talent plays it's part, I think the *desire* to learn is every bit as important.  And some people simply couldn't care less about the art of cooking. :)

That and my wife is, quite knowingly, spoiled rotten... why would she want to ruin that?? :)

berryblondeboys's picture
berryblondeboys

Fancypantalons your entire post cracked me up! LOL My husband is spoiled too. So is my oldest son. He better learn to cook (and he does show "some" interest because he'll be hard pressed to find a girlfriend/wife who will cater to his tastebuds which is what he wants of me (leftovers? he is always annoyed with eating the same meal two days in a row even if it is a favorite of is).

He's 12 years old (just turned) and since he was about 6 his favorite holiday is Thanksgiving because of the food.. so he's a foodie! LOL

And to countryboy. I don't think it DOES have to do with women being tied up with kids and life any more than a man. I defintely have more time than my husband does. I'm a stay at home mom while he's working to support us all day long... And the fishing comment. I had to laugh. I will push DH out to do something fun so that he's not a grump. Better to have him gone for a bit and come back all happy and refreshed and ready to help than to have a sour puss all weekend long who gripes about helping out imo.

Now, if I worked too, I would probably bake/cook on weekends only, but would still do it as I have a passion for preparing good foods. My husband? He likes to eat good foods, but wouldn't do it himself.

 

                                   Sweet Melissa's
Custom cakes made from scratch using organic ingredients
http://www.sweetmelissas.net/     http://sweetmelissas.blogspot.com/

hansjoakim's picture
hansjoakim

well, being in charge of a single person household, i'm the main cook too ;-)

when someone says the word "baker" or "bakery" to me, i instantly picture a plump, middle aged man in a rustic, french village, going about his baguettes in the early morning sunshine. i'd be interested in knowing how the ratio between male/female bakers breaks down. i've never thought of bread baking as a typically gender specific occupation or hobby, at least not in the same way as say grilling.

berryblondeboys's picture
berryblondeboys

 That's why I asked if people were also the main cook at home or just the bread baker? I think its' great either way, but wondered if there was something inherent with baking bread that attracted some men to it whereas they aren't drawn to other parts of cooking (besides the stereotyped grilling - which as a female I do, not DH).

                                     Sweet Melissa's
Custom cakes made from scratch using organic ingredients
http://www.sweetmelissas.net/     http://sweetmelissas.blogspot.com/

fancypantalons's picture
fancypantalons

Forget baking.  Men are strongly represented in the professional food prep world, in general... heck, consider all the famous chefs you can think of.  How many were men and how many were women?

berryblondeboys's picture
berryblondeboys

Wah! I lost my post!

Basically the gist was that more men are represented because more men are driven to be "the best" with cooking. I think it's in most men's genetic make up to be competive. So a man who likes to cook isn't going to be as satisfied just doing it for his family necessarily. It's like that most things - music, business, sports, etc. It's a SUPER generalization, but men are more driven and competitive and dare I say it "passionate" about SINGLE things. Whereas women tend to be more generalists - they tend to like this for awhile, then that and move around in their "mini" passions. This is a SUPER generalization, but...

I have to share this story though. In my home I'm the cook, yet I encourage both my boys to be in the kitchen and what kid DOESN'T like playing in a kitchen real or pretend? So, when my son was turning three I found on craigslist a pottery barn kitchen for cheap and went to get it. The lady was selling it because her older son (he was 6-8) had outgrown it and she wanted to get a pink one for daugher as she thought the blue, silver and red one was too 'boyish". So... it's set up in my house and my MIL sees it. She's appalled and her words were, "You got Henry a kitchen? I've never HEARD of a boy having a kitchen! What are you trying to do, turn him into a girl?" Well, I know my MIL quite well and despite her being a well-educated woman, she's from central Europe and of a different generation. So, I said, "Well, most top chefs are men and besides all kids love to play in kitchens." She snidely said, "Well, I bought some little girl is going to miss her kitchen" and I was so happy to say, "Actually, I bought it from a little boy. The mom wanted a pink one for the girl." Such satisfaction in annoying my MIL then.! LOL

 

                                 Sweet Melissa's
Custom cakes made from scratch using organic ingredients
http://www.sweetmelissas.net/     http://sweetmelissas.blogspot.com/

CountryBoy's picture
CountryBoy

Yes to everything you said and in particular your quote that men are

'dare I say it "passionate" about SINGLE things. Whereas women tend to be more generalists'

That and the point of men being very competitive is also correct.  During the first 2 years that I was a member here I noticed that it was always the men that got into cat fights over a topic or went ballistic over this or that.  In fact it was so apparent that it was embarrasing.

That competitive and aggressive predisposition certainly does take a lot of the joy and pleasure out of life.

fancypantalons's picture
fancypantalons

"That competitive and aggressive predisposition certainly does take a lot of the joy and pleasure out of life."

Yes, you're right, being a man, I find no joy in life because I have a competative disposition. ::rollseyes:

Personally, I look at friendly competition as a great way to encourage excellent.  'course, I'm a chronic perfectionist, so in the end, I find I'm competing with myself more often than not.  Still, I see nothing wrong with a deep focus and a drive to excel.

berryblondeboys's picture
berryblondeboys

"Personally, I look at friendly competition as a great way to encourage excellent.  'course, I'm a chronic perfectionist, so in the end, I find I'm competing with myself more often than not.  Still, I see nothing wrong with a deep focus and a drive to excel."

Well said.

                                Sweet Melissa's
Custom cakes made from scratch using organic ingredients
http://www.sweetmelissas.net/     http://sweetmelissas.blogspot.com/

dstroy's picture
dstroy

Floyd likes to cook more than I do - and hes the bread baker here. He actually wooed me with lovely meals when we first met :) When he started the site, he hadn't had much luck online finding any community forums which didn't require you to pay dues to be part of their "exclusive club" or which wasn't, as he put it, "all girly with frouffy pastries and cookies dominating the forums" haha. 

I have always figured bread is more guy-ish though - even the language used in the books is very manly - "Rustic Breads" and all that - whereas petit-fours and pastries were more likely to be areas the gals would tend to excel in. Not that there aren't always exceptions or that there's any specific reason why it should be male or female dominated - but it does seem to scratch the same itch, for example, that brewing beer does - another pasttime that is often shared by the bread bakers.  (And one which Floyd has already been working on preparing me for, since it means our house is going to smell like malt this winter! ;) )

 

Oddly enough, I think I prefer to grill more than he does though. 

berryblondeboys's picture
berryblondeboys

 What a great post! and I completely agree!

 Being a cake decorator too, I SOOOO know what you mean about the cake/pastry sites and honestly, I've always been a very analytical gal, so I tend to get annoyed with those mostly women sites and LOVE this site is more gender neutral.

BTW... I love to grill and am happy my husband doesn't. Growing up I was the grill master too (not my mom or brothers)

 

                                 Sweet Melissa's
Custom cakes made from scratch using organic ingredients
http://www.sweetmelissas.net/     http://sweetmelissas.blogspot.com/

Pablo's picture
Pablo

Same-sex, vegetarian household here.  If anybody cooks, they will be male.  Not much grilling without the steaks, although veggies certainly do well on the grill.

I got bit by the bread bug in the hippie days.  Bare feet, long hair, and home made chow.  Not a lot of science in it in those days, though.  Life progressed, things got complex and after a long hiatus I turned to the bread machine.  I didin't like the bake, but the dough cycle was so convenient.  Santa brought me a baking stone about 15 years ago and I started doing the bread machine dough on the stone about 10 years ago.  Still with VERY little understanding of what I was doing.  At least I would take a piece of dough from the last batch and move it to the next.

Then came thefreshloaf.com.  Wow.  I have found my hobby.  It even gives me somthing to talk (preach, babble, etc.) about with other people.  No more shy little uncomfortable flower at parties.  Once the basic introduction is over, I'm off into bread talk.  It's great.

:-Paul

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I am the main cook at home. My brothers are both the main cooks in their families. (My married sister is a good cook, but her husband is the main cook in their family.) I have two married sons. Both are the main cooks in their families.

Growing up, my father barbequed, but my mother did the rest of the cooking. All 5 of her children helped in the kitchen, especially around holiday food preparation. All of us are series foodies.

I think we cook for the same kinds of reasons expressed in the "Why do you bake?" (or something like that) thread. For me, it's a combination of loving food, enjoying the art and craft of cooking, and the rewards of nurturing.


David

fancypantalons's picture
fancypantalons

"it's a combination of loving food, enjoying the art and craft of cooking, and the rewards of nurturing."

'course, it's also pretty nice watching people oooh and aaah over your creations. :)

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

It's art for art's sake, of course!


David

PaddyL's picture
PaddyL

This is a fascinating thread.  I live with my sister and her son and have done so for the past 21 years.  I don't know how it evolved, but my sister does all the meals, except breakfast, and I make all the bread, cakes, all the baked goods in general.  We both cooked meals when we were younger and living with our parents, but now it's accepted that I generally stay away from the meal cooking.  We did the same thing when we had our own little home-catering business.  When my father retired, though, he took up bread-baking with a vengeance!

ehanner's picture
ehanner

My wife was the primary cook all the while I was busy running all over the world earning a living for our family. She is a pretty good day to day cook but I have always enjoyed the gourmet type meals I consumed in the far reaches of the Earth and would try to  duplicate them at home.

I was never attracted to baking for some reason. I would go out of my way to buy good bread and I actually looked at buying a Great Harvest Bread Company franchise at one point back 15 or so years ago. It wasn't because I wanted to learn to bake, I was looking for another business to get involved in and bread seemed like an upward moving trend. We didn't do that but I wonder now.

When I retired from aviation for medical reasons, I started to take over the cooking more regularly. My wife had cooked and cleaned and raised the 3 kids for a long time all by her self mostly. Cooking was my way to give her some time to follow her interests in the arts.

I've never considered my self competitive really. At least not in the sense that I was trying to win something or beat anyone else. My focus has always to be the best I could be at anything I did and work as hard as possible to learn as much as I could. As an aviator that meant that it wasn't enough to get a pilots license I had to become an instructor, in every type of aircraft flown, except balloons. (No interest in waiting for the wind to blow me out to sea.) Single-multi-seaplane-glider-jets-helicopter, you name it.

Now that I have taken up baking as a hobby, I live to find ways to create better and more flavorful breads of all kinds. I'm struck that it took me so long to discover baking. It's chemistry and biology, it's exciting and immediate gratification! What could be more fun? Early this morning, I baked 8 loaves. 4 Rye and 4 Italian. By noon they were all happily in the hands of family and friends. What could be more fulfilling?

I could go on and on about this, whoops I think I already did:>) Yes David it is art for art's sake. (and I hope he appreciates it)

Eric 

Pablo's picture
Pablo

What a great post, Eric.  You echo my own enthusiasm, although I'm still a newbie.

:-Paul

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

between the men and the women.  That alone says something.  I think as we get older we tend to relax the stereotypes and get on with what we like to do.   The great thing about bread is that we can be as general or as detailed as we want to be. 

Mini O

keesmees's picture
keesmees

as gourmet and epicurian, away from home as a student, started cooking for myself. my first wife was a very good cook and never baked. my second wife is a good baker of wiener apfelstrudel, but only a fair cook. So as pensionada I took over the cooking again and do the cooking every day since 11 y now.

started baking 3 years ago, after repeated vacations in france, where we got very good baguettes. but the quest for the top began 1.5y ago, after i tasted the pain au levain from the boulangerie in the centre of bourg en bresse. he makes an absolutely fabulous bread.

 

mammiesbaker's picture
mammiesbaker

and cooking is my thing.  My husband gives great encouragement and helps clean the kitchen sometimes, but I love baking and cooking, so that is my job.  Thank goodness he loves to vegetable garden as much as I do.  We set out two rows of broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and brussels sprouts this morning.  With his help outside, I now have the energy to work on my favorite thing...bread!

TroutEhCuss's picture
TroutEhCuss

I returned back to school to get licensed, so my wife mostly cooks now; however, I usually was the primary cook.  Cooking is the only way my artistic side comes out.  My wife cooks because she likes the praise from other people, my praise usually doesn't cut it for her -- praise is like the warming touch of sun and one person just giving praise is like a flashlight compared to stronger sources of light.

Wisecarver's picture
Wisecarver (not verified)

Interesting thread...

    My own facts
  • 47 year old Father of 3, lovely Brazilian wife.
  • Known as a Harley Biker to all, raced for 16 years.
  • Do 100% of the cooking, bake the very best breads.
  • Am a health nut and still run the mile under 6 minutes.
  • Do not drink or smoke
  • My tombstone will read: Here lays a healthy man.

Salute, Mark Wisecarver
OTRPU's picture
OTRPU

13th this month will be 40 for us. last 20 or so only "bread" Wifey is interested in takes place in the bedroom. I do most of what happens in the kitchen, (including dishes), the laundry, and I clean the turlets. . .Wifey works outside the home. Say's she needs 12 hrs sleep per day. When Wifey isn't sleepin or a workin. . .she plays with kids alot. I say you're not an adult, you don't act adult. . .Wifey pooches out her lower lip, and say's, "I'm an adult". . .turns around and walks away. Right. . .Wifey's 61 going on 3. Only myself to blame. . .40 years Wifey's been spoilt rotten. Every couple months or so Wifey pops some of those prefab tube cinnamon rolls in the oven, calls it a bakin. . .I say what. . .you trying to collect on my life insurance early? But what the hey. . .I got nuttin better to do.


Cheers,


otrpu

cordel's picture
cordel

I have been married for 45 years. For the first twenty, I did all the baking, cooking, cleaning, baby-caring, and cleaned out the bbque, though I did not use it. Then, I started taking a break, once a week or so. Now, I am the baker, and the cook now and then. We alternate breakfast duties, he does the lunches, and about 4/7 of the dinners.

I read all the posts here, bake, and even take pictures, but I rarely have energy to post the pictures and all my stories.