Sarcasm Alert: The Kitchen Has a Feminine Feel in the Bible

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biblical feminine kitchenIf you don’t know what this is based on, I apologize in advance for the insanity that follows…

You don’t have to eat the butchered French Toast I’ve tried to make or gnaw on my half-raw hash browns to know God never intended me to cook. However, did you know that there is a biblical precedent against men ever cooking?

It’s true.

God wants men to stay out of the kitchen. Women are the unquestioned authorities in the kitchen.

Who baked the bread when the three strangers stopped by Abraham’s tent? It wasn’t the father of our faith. He didn’t kneed to make the bread since Sarah was around.

Who made the meal when Jesus needed to take a load off? Not that dead beat Lazarus. It was Mary.

The only time Jesus let his disciples prepare dinner, one of them ended up turning him over to be killed. Not exactly the way you want to end a successful dinner party.

The only time we see a guy capably cook a meal is when Jesus cooks a few fish, but that’s post-Resurrection. When you’re God, you can cook. When you’re just a man, it’s impossible.

In the Bible, the kitchen has a very feminine feel.

I don’t know about you, but I’m thrilled about this biblical precedent that bans men from the kitchen. My wife is way better at following recipes and improvising. Life is way better when I’m obedient to the Bible—especially that clear precedent about keeping out of the kitchen.

Some men may whine and complain, “But I like cooking! It’s fun to cook with my wife in the kitchen.” Well, that’s too bad. The Bible is authoritative, and you can’t just ignore the clear precedent that every time we see someone in the kitchen, it’s not a dude.

There are other cases that may be tough, but obedience is the key here. Some delusional, rebellious men may threaten the exclusive role of women in the kitchen by claiming that God called them to cook. That’s surely just the sinful nature trying to disrupt our homes by threatening the authority and power of women. These men need to submit to their wives, handing over the oven mitts, spatulas, and pans.

Personally, grinding coffee is still a struggle for me. What should I do if my wife is still asleep and I can’t find a capable woman to grind my morning coffee for me? In such an urgent case, I think God is willing to make an exception since a proper female authority can’t be found.

However, there is a cost to our obedience. Some single men will need to munch on raw carrots. They may ask for leniency for the sake of their rumbling stomachs. I admit, it’s certainly difficult to know what the Bible would make of our modern ways of cooking with so little effort.

I suppose a microwave could be permitted for single men, but we’ll probably need to decide whether “nuking” something is technically cooking it. And then there are salads and sandwiches. A man could technically “assemble” these things without cooking them, but he should probably make them in the dining room or living room. The kitchen is the sole domain of the woman.

Perhaps the best lesson we can learn here is that God wants women to be the sole authorities in the kitchen.

Of course men and women are totally equal before God. Men are just not capable of handling the kitchen. I mean, give a guy a recipe for a cake and he’ll end up burning the house down. Despite their unquestioned equality with women, men have a different calling that is far away from the nurturing, life-giving domain of the kitchen. They are only capable of going to jobs where they need to either make stuff or sell stuff.

For the single men, I would say that the best thing for you is to marry and marry quick. You don’t want to unwittingly violate the clear commands of the Bible by accidentally assuming authority that you are incapable of handling in the kitchen? It may start out as a piece of bread in the toaster oven, but soon you may start adding cheese and sardines and corn chips and then who knows what you’ll end up eating.

This feminine feel to the kitchen is rooted in the Bible and consistent throughout scripture. Wouldn’t we feel silly if we ignored the clear commands of the Bible and actually let men have a place in the kitchen?

UPDATE: I just wanted to add that I hope this post helps us think about the complexity of interpreting the cultural aspects of the Bible. I admit the post is over the top, but sometimes hyperbole can be an effective way of seeing where our ideas take us.

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71 thoughts on “Sarcasm Alert: The Kitchen Has a Feminine Feel in the Bible

  1. Alise

    “When you’re God, you can cook. When you’re just a man, it’s impossible.”

    This = one of my top 5 favorite lines of this year. I’m calling it now.

    Of course, the “totally equal” paragraph is awesome, but in the real way. That was by far the most puzzling thing about Piper’s statements. When we start talking about character in terms of feminine/masculine, you absolutely lose me. It just doesn’t make sense.

    Great piece – absolutely love it!

    1. ed Post author

      Thanks Alise. I was concerned that it could be a little too over the top, but I’m glad it worked for you!

    1. ed Post author

      Oh no! My whole theological system could break down thanks to you! Ha! Yes, we need to differentiate between ceremonial and home cooking.

      1. PRT

        Better, you simply need to separate between cooking meat on a grill (ie, on an “altar”) and cooking in the kitchen. Men are clearly qualified for the former (but not women–they’re prevented from entering the priesthood!) but never, ever the latter.

  2. Ray Hollenbach

    I’ve checked with the Biblical experts, and I respect their interpretation SO MUCH that from now on I will not even venture into the kitchen to get a beer. I will just sit in my easy chair and shout to my wife, “Woman, thou art loosed–to bring me a Bud!”

    1. ed Post author

      I’m glad this connects with you. As you can see, both are completely equal. They just fill different roles… ;)

  3. Kim

    There is biblical evidence for men doing the dishes:
    “…and I will wipe Jerusalem as a man wipeth a dish, wiping it, and turning it upside down.” 2 Kings 21:13 KJV :-)

    1. ed Post author

      Yes, men can have a role in the kitchen. They just can’t cook in the kitchen. So dishes are an acceptable way for them to express their special, unique gifts in ways that both glorify God without questioning the authority of women in the kitchen. Good point Kim!

  4. Tony J. Alicea

    It all comes back to our task-based interpretation of gender roles. Men do this and women do that.

    I see this as first addressing the fact that male and women don’t boil down to tasks. Once we get past that, we can begin to look at the issue in a redemptive way. We can start asking what it looks like to be a woman and to be a man.

    Too many times we interpret Biblical stories as instruction. It was done like this in the Bible, so we need to do it like this today. That’s just poor interpretation.

    I pray that collectively we can seek God’s heart for this topic and not just trying to prove our point. It will take more than arguing a point to redeem what was broken by disobedience from the beginning of time.

    But I do believe there is hope. We just have to ask the right questions and have the right conversations.

    1. ed Post author

      Thanks Tony. I agree with a lot of what you say here. I think we all do something like this, using biblical stories as blueprints, etc. So it’s my hope that this hyperbole reminds us all that our interpretations are perceived through a mirror dimly.

      I’m not sure that this all boils down to how we define gender roles. There is a lot of truth to what you say. However, the limitations and roles that are assigned often come from theological grounds. The role assignments are were our theologies of inequality hurt and are demonstrated, but the theology is what needs to be addressed.

      I used to think like this post about men and women, but the roles were rooted in theology first. So the foundational idea was that women are somehow inferior to men. The roles flow from there, applying the theological inequality. My posts yesterday and today are aimed at people who are on the fence here, taking a certain theological system to its extreme in order to demonstrate that theology and culture is really difficult to sort out. Of course I’m also making a case for the full equality of men and women before God on theological grounds, but that is just one example from a larger picture.

      I do agree that a post like this won’t change anyone’s mind. That’s why I’m committed to telling stories through the Women in Ministry Series.

      Thanks for your comments. They always challenge me in the best ways!

  5. Sandra

    The rest of the coffeeshop is looking at me strangely for having busted out with a full, ongoing, belly-laughing. No mere chuckle here, gut-busting, wipe-the-tears-from-my-eyes, almost-spit-my-coffee-at-the-screen guffaws.

    Nothing shows up absurdity about our prejudices and presumptions than putting the shoe on the other foot!

    Thanks!

    1. ed Post author

      That’s the collateral damage of countering silly theology with insane theology. That’s a chance I’m willing to take… ;)

  6. brambonius

    So what about Jacob, who liked to be in the kitchen with his mother? I guess he must be some kind of man, since he has at least 13 children with 4 women…

    1. ed Post author

      But the context of the story takes place in tents and cooking around camp fires. So there is no authority structure such as what we may find in the kitchen today. So while Jacob could boil a mean pot of stew, his actions don’t apply to us. ;)

      (On a personal note, these challenges are getting really fun. Keep ‘em coming!)

      1. brambonius

        Okay, I have another one for you then, you wicked kitchenarian! what about the weird kitchen experiment in Ezekiel 4:12?

        And oh, where do you find a modern kitchen in the bible? Shouldn’t we shun our electric fires and microwaves and gas ovens and go back to baking on wood if we want to be truly faithful?

        1. ed Post author

          Ha! OK, I can do this…

          The OT stories are before the office of the kitchen was established in NT times. So we can’t say that God’s work with one prophet on one occasion gave him authority in a kitchen. For all we know he was cooking his food outside anyway. The NT stories all show women in places of authority in the kitchen, and therefore that trumps anything we read in the OT. ;)

  7. Brother Maynard

    Love this, Ed – very well done!

    Further to the priests doing sacrificial cooking, I think it bears mentioning that those were *burnt* offerings, which clearly supports the thesis that men should not be cooking. Besides, those were outdoor barbecues, and I think that in most situations, that’s the realm (extent?) of male cookery anyhow.

    1. ed Post author

      Yes! This is brilliant. Look what happens when men are put in charge of the sacrifices: burnt offerings. If women were in charge they’d be “well done”!

  8. Jeanne

    Thank you so much for bringing some levity into the topic. I love to laugh and this did it for me today, including some of the comments. Love It!

  9. Matt

    You non-cook-letarians are always picking and choosing scriptures. So sad. Jacob cooked stew and traded it for Esau’s birthright when he was famished. Then later Esau cooked a meal for Issac after Jacob’s deception. But I guess you just say that this was a figurative dinner, since it was all about birthrights and such. No good American would trade a meal for a birthright, so obviously Esau wouldn’t, either. You are on the slippery slope to heresy mister!

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  12. Debbie J

    Ok Love all this with one exception??
    Can I let him in to help with DISHES?
    So glad we grill a LOT ( out in back yard)

    1. ed Post author

      We worked this out in the above comments. Men can have a separate dish ministry led by men provided it is under the authority of the women and the men never actually cook when in the kitchen. However, the men need to be careful that they don’t use water that is too hot, lest they accidentally “cook” any of the food scraps in the sink.

  13. erin a.

    I die laughing! this is hilarious. I read it out loud to my husband. reading through the comments brought even more laughing.
    (he feels very put down by the burnt offering talk. He is a master griller.) ;)
    In seriousness, this post helped me a lot. Really. It makes me feel like a bit of a dingle head to need such insanity to help me see clearer. But, I guess I did.

    1. ed Post author

      I’m glad your husband has a “Grill Ministry” where he can express his gifts in such a way that he doesn’t threaten your calling in the kitchen.

      And in seriousness, my lines of reasoning here actually make MORE sense to me than arguments about keeping women out of authority, etc. I just saw a smart person RT something about men having more spiritual authority than men, and I just got so pissed off. It’s all so convoluted and destructive toward women and scripture. I just can’t make sense of it anymore, which is why I need to stick to writing silly things like this rather than engaging in debates on Twitter.

  14. Amanda B.

    So what is a poor husband to do when his wife consistently ruins the meals and has been unresponsive to his humble, non-assertive suggestions on how to improve? Should he temporarily step into the kitchen for the sake of his family, but with the sense that the cooking should be properly done by his wife?

    (Genius post, by the way)

    1. ed Post author

      Your husband is not allowed by scripture to cook in the kitchen, so even if he thinks he can help, he’s just going to lead your family in an unbiblical direction. You don’t want to disrupt God’s moral order in society, do you? The only solution is to go to a conference run by the people who have the largest kitchens and who serve food to the largest numbers of people. Only a conference on cooking can get your kitchen back on track.

      Thanks for commenting. I’m always glad to help! ;)

  15. Revsimmy

    “I suppose a microwave could be permitted for single men.”

    Surely this would ONLY be permissible if the single man is under the “covering” of a competent woman, say, his mother or, if this is not an option, a married female member of the church could exercise this role.

  16. Corrie

    Thank you for the laughs!!! I agree that this brilliant post becomes even wittier with the dialogue that follows. And I’m so glad you affirm the ability of men to contribute in their unique and important role of washing dishes.

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  18. Elizabby

    Freaking brilliant! Love it!

    As a woman married to a non-Christian husband I don’t know how many times I’ve been grudgingly given permission to guide my own children’s spirituality – but only because my husband isn’t really the “spiritual head of the household” by reason of being an “unbeliever”. But I should still be careful to submit to him in all other areas!

    1. ed Post author

      For all of the silliness of this post, I will add in seriousness that I simply can’t talk about “submission” unless the word “Mutual” precedes it.

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  20. David

    Humor is only humor if an element of truth is involved. That’s why this illustrating with absurdity works so well. I laughed out loud so many times in the post and the comments because it so clearly illustrates the apparent ridiculousness of the situation, whether it’s the spoof here, or the reality of what it parodies.

    Loved the comment about the husband being “under the covering of his mother” or “another married woman at church” LOL!!!

  21. Mary Olson

    I always got a kick out of the fact that after Peter brought Jesus home to cure his mother-in-law, what did she do? She got up and served them. Most like the food she had previously prepared I’m sure!

    1. ed Post author

      We touched on that up above. Keep in mind, Jacob wasn’t in a kitchen. Outdoor cooking is apparently OK for men since the priests were allowed to burn offerings at the temple. Ha!

    2. BradinDC

      You non-culinarians always prooftext the story of Jacob, in order to feel what your itching apron strings wish to feel. By doing so you fail to see God’s larger plan for the kitchen.

      Yes, it is true that in Christ there is neither cook nor baker. No one believes that men may not receive our birthright. It is a gift, available to all, lest any cook should boast.

      However, blessing from God comes from following His established culinary order. Remember, Rebekah later commanded Jacob, “Now, my son, listen carefully and do what I tell you: Go out to the flock and bring me two choice young goats, so I can prepare some tasty food for your father, just the way he likes it” (Gen 27:8-9). Jacob submitted to his mother’s authority, and therefore could receive the blessing of his father.

      So too must we men submit to the culinary authority of women, if we desire to receive the blessing of our Father. We must not be wicked like Esau, who by preparing his own game usurped the chefship of his mother and thus received not a blessing, but a curse.

  22. David

    But Jacob dwelled in tents. He was an indoor fellow, so I am thinking he made this stew inside:)

  23. Leanne Shirtliffe (Ironic Mom)

    Reminds me of a debate my husband and I had had, newly married, after we realized my brother did all of the cooking in his marriage. I took this precedent to mean the men should do the cooking. He took it to mean the Shirtliffe should do the cooking…

  24. Andrew

    “They” should just start making special “man houses” for single men that come without kitchens. You know, remove the temptation.

  25. Tyanne

    OMG! This is the best. How did you ever come up with this Ed? Its perfect! And perfectly rediculous, which just proves the point. I love it! Well Done, Ed, Well Done!!! Bravo! Its olympic season right now, you’ve just earned yourself the gold.

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