Men who cook used to be called….nothing. They were just men. Who
cooked. But these days everything needs a name or market researchers
become unemployed. Enter the Gastrosexual. When I first heard this
word, I thought it referred to the way many men still want to have sex
with their partners even when suffering from an upset stomach. But no,
although sex is sometimes involved – more about that shortly.
Trend spotters have turned their attention to blokes who cook.
Metrosexuals, it’s time to put down your exfoliant and pick up a whisk.
The Gastrosexuals are coming to cut your grass. With lemongrass.
In a study into the changing kitchen habits of men, market researchers
The Future Foundation have identified the Gastrosexual as: “masculine,
upwardly mobile men, aged 25-44, who are passionate about cooking and
the rewards it might bring – pleasure, praise and potential seduction.”
Did you catch the word “rewards” in there? This is key. Because there
are two types of cooking. One involves the daily preparation of meals
for yourself or your family. The other type is motivated by personal
gratification, either to impress others or to wallow in the novel
pleasure of the act itself. Like a hobby.
So while the majority of women cook out of necessity, the Gastrosexual cooks for acclaim. And sometimes? For sex.
Apparently, 23 percent of 18-34 year old men say they cook to potentially seduce a partner. These single Gastrosexuals are getting busy in the kitchen in the hope it will help them get busy in the bedroom. In a modification of the old cliché “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”, these blokes believe “the way into a woman’s pants is through cooking her a tasty risotto.”
And they may well be right. 48 percent of people say being able to cook makes a person more attractive.
Now that macho chefs like Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay have injected testosterone into the kitchen, there’s a new alternative to oestrogen-rich food celebrities like Nigella. Shows like Iron Chef and Hell’s Kitchen have turned the preparation of a meal into a high-pressure, competitive sport. Extreme cooking. Suddenly, discussing the relative merits of fresh versus farmed salmon is starting to look a whole lot more manly.
Perhaps that’s why 25 percent of women under 34 say their partner is the better cook. “There’s nothing sexier than a guy inviting you over for a meal and watching him cook it,” agrees a single 30-year-old friend whose current boyfriend did exactly that on their first date. “My idea of cooking is adding milk to some cereal and eating it in bed after work so the fact he can make real meals is a huge bonus.”