The other day, our family was perusing a local grocery store when I spotted a package of kale chips for sale. I immediately commented to my bm: “Hey look, kale chips! Just like I saw on that NYC Dads Group trip to the Martha Stewart show.” Another woman, who was paying at the cash register, overheard my comment and immediately started glancing over, giggling (or snickering!) “oh you’re one of those boys, a Martha Stewart boy.” She and my bm immediately launched into a conversation about this and that as it was obvious this woman is a mother. But throughout the conversation, the “oh a Martha Stewart boy” comment kept coming up again and again. All I could do was smile and shrug because I really didn’t have much to say about it. My bm was singing my praises and the woman left with a compliment about how great it was that I am a “Martha Stewart boy.”
Little did this woman know that there are in fact two “Martha Stewart boys” living at our home. Or should I say we also live with a “Giada DeLaurentiis boy”? My 3-yr old son is patently obsessed with Giada. He requires and demands a fix of watching Giada videos every day. He has shown an undeniable interest in cooking. When he received the gift of a workbench for Christmas, he used the top as a stove and the cabinets as an oven. He followed that up by begging us to buy him some toy pots and pans to go along with it. Whenever I cook, he asks to squeeze the lemons and cut the vegetables. Baking cookies and cupcakes is one of his favorite activities and he even memorizes the recipes and tells me when “Giada did it differently”. We finally obliged him with a toy kitchen set to go next to his workbench, further cluttering our living room!
My son’s interest in cooking does not come as much of a surprise to me. After all, his dad is a “Martha Stewart boy” that handles the majority of our home’s cooking duties. The fact is, the kitchen is the center of our household and we emphasize mealtime as a family activity where we can all sit down and spend time together. I also like to keep him involved with the cooking process because I hope that it will encourage him to eat the food. It doesn’t bother me that he prefers to play with a pot instead of throwing a ball. He’s demonstrated a clear interest in cooking and if being a chef turns out to be his passion in life, we will nurture it. Social pressures may dictate that men don’t belong in the kitchen, but we won’t let that, nor any other social norm that we disagree with, influence the way that we raise our son. After all, 15 minutes on the Food Network would dispel that notion rather quickly.
Edward Yau is a geek dad that writes code for his kid. You can see his projects at Dendro Kids and Guess Your Baby. Follow Ed on twitter @daddycoder. You can read about his school search in gory detail at: http://art.guessyourbaby.com/general/school/ and see how he totally geeked out by writing a mobile website called Sage, which helps parents search for a Pre-K or elementary school wisely. Punch in your address and it gives you the school you’re zoned for (but call 3-1-1 to confirm!) as well as the schools nearby. Progress grades are put out front so you have something more to go on. It’s been submitted into the NYC Big Apps competition, so check it out and cast a vote starting on February 8th! The app lives at http://nysage.com/ and you can check it out on your Android or iPhone device, or Chrome and Safari on your desktop.
Originally appeared at NYC Dads Group.