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Why Should Men Be Served Food First Always?

I read this highly interesting article on this very forum in which the author queries as to why hot food should be the prerogative of men? I am on the same page with her and pose a more intense query - why should men always be served first?

I read this highly interesting article on this very forum in which the author queries as to why hot food should be the prerogative of men? I am on the same page with her and pose a more intense query – why should men always be served first?

As far as I can recall (and also observe) during these 55 years of my life on this planet, it has always been that way in our Indian society irrespective of faith, affluence and social status. I recall how, in my mother’s parental home, my own father along with a multitude of his co-brothers (my mausas/uncles) were invariably served first, whatever the occasion might have been. After all they were damaads/jamais/sons in law! Weren’t they?

My grandpa, his siblings, my mom’s brother and males cousins (if present) too joined the bandwagon. Even when some of the boys were not really hungry, one could hear some among womenfolk holler from the kitchen: “Hurry up don’t dilly-dally… don’t waste our time; after you guys are fed we’ll have ours… it’s already late and blah blah…”

I would be puzzled (I still am befuddled) as to why despite the presence of a maid or two and a cook why were the ladies reluctant to eat alongside men? When there was no dearth of helping hands why the delay? The picture was almost identical in my father’s family home. Mom along with her co-sister, dad’s sisters with grannie in tow would always choose eat later.

Coincidentally, in both households shortage of food, or men not having their fill was ruled out. If a dish had turned cold it would be re-heated in a jiffy. A haandi of soaked rice grains was kept as a standby to prevent shortage of rice any point of time. Ditto for the ladies when they sat down to eat. Yet…

So finally I decided to confront both my grandmothers with the question. They vociferously opined that “Men” being the linchpin, pivot point, and lifeline of every household it was but natural and very much the “In” thing that they get priority.

Fine but why can’t domestic helps serve them I argued. “they can, but (little one) you can’t imagine the immense satisfaction and contentment most women derive through this gesture” they concluded. After this I had nothing to say.

Personally speaking, I am a staunch supporter of what is familiarly termed as the videshi/western dining style wherein all diners are served initially by the hostess or domestic help. The bulk containers are generously refilled and retained centrestage.

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Each diner is welcome to help him/herself as many times as he or she feels like. This makes it convenient for the hostess/ ladies of the house to join the rest of the party at the meal.

An appeal to my fellow country women: Please for heaven’s sake tear down this imaginary purdah that often prevents members of both sexes from having their meals together. I am not sure if there exist certain scriptures or Gospel advocating this kind of segregation. So why not do away with this mindless practice for good?

Image source: A still from The Great Indian Kitchen

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About the Author

RUCHIRA GHOSH

Am a trained and experienced features writer with 25 plus years of experience .My favourite subjects are women's issues, food travel, art,culture ,literature et all.Am a true feminist at heart. An iconoclast read more...

59 Posts | 293,404 Views

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