Please Pass the Apron: Quirky Holiday Celebrates Men in the Kitchen
TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KLIX) – Is your man an expert at clicking the remote control, but is confused by the knobs on the kitchen stove? Has he melted your favorite Tupperware dish in the oven? Does he run away when you ask him to do the grocery shopping?
OK, so cooking isn’t his thing.
You may want to let him know what today is: National Men Make Dinner Day.
Celebrated on the first Thursday of November, the day aims to celebrate at least one meal prepared by the man of the house. It all started back in 2001 in Ottawa – but now is celebrated in the U.S. – when resident Sandy Sharkey felt misplaced amongst her friends because all of their husbands cooked but hers didn’t.
I acknowledge that most men do cook on a regular basis,” says Sandy Sharkey, who created National Men Make Dinner Day. “This is a day for men who never, ever, ever cook. And who have a sense of humor.
“For years, my non-cooking husband, Rob, was a source of hilarity for me,” she told News Radio 1310. “On the rare occasion that he stepped into the kitchen, something was always melted onto something else.
“At one point many years ago, all my girlfriends had boyfriends or husbands that would cook on a regular basis. I felt left out of the club, so I created National Men Make Dinner Day. … It began as a joke, just to get Rob to put a bit of effort into cooking ONE meal.
“It is now officially one day a year … set aside for non-cooking men who are like my husband. They are fantastic guys, they do their share of chores around the house, but they are completely lost in the kitchen.”
Sharkey, who over the past 15 years has received responses from men and women in several parts of the globe who tell her how much they enjoy celebrating the day, decided to put her idea to the test.
“I thought it would be fun to see what would happen if Rob did it all – found a recipe, bought the ingredients, made the meal, even cleaned up,” she said, noting his first meal didn’t turn out as well as she had hoped but it brought more laughs into the kitchen.
“On the very first NMMDD – Nov. 1, 2001 – Rob made a poached salmon that overflowed inside the oven. He had a pot of rice on the stove that did the same thing. Everything that could overflow was overflowing.”
Rob may not have bested the kitchen, but his efforts had a happy ending. He became the poster boy for the national holiday and still participates to this day.
“That’s not on my calendar,” said Donna Okarma, store manager of Rudy’s—A Cook’s Paradise in downtown Twin Falls. “I’ll have to put it on there.”
Fortunately, Okarma has a man in her life who regularly cooks.
“We agreed that whoever gets home first will do the cooking for that day,” she said. “He’s been doing it for a while.”
The store, which sells all kinds of cooking and baking gear and hosts cooking classes, has many customers who are men.
For years, my non-cooking husband, Rob, was a source of hilarity for me,” Sharkey says. “On the rare occasion that he stepped into the kitchen, something was always melted onto something else.
“We see the married man, the single man, and the recently divorced man who doesn’t understand why all of a sudden he has do all of his cooking,” Okarma said. Some men come into the store to buy gifts for their wives or girlfriends, but many of them are buying for themselves, including even some teenagers who are leaving home and want to cook for themselves.
Men aren’t always as versed about kitchenware as are women, Okarma said. Men will often ask how a product works or why multiple items are needed for a cooking task. That’s OK, she said – at least they’re trying.
National Men Make Dinner Day isn’t meant to belittle men, Sharkey says. Instead, it’s a day to change things up in the kitchen and pass the apron to the man of the house.
“I acknowledge that most men do cook on a regular basis,” she said. “This is a day for men who never, ever, ever cook. And who have a sense of humor."
She does offer one piece of advice before letting your man near the stove: “Keep a fire extinguisher handy!”
EDITOR'S NOTE: Reporter Andrew Weeks is a self-proclaimed wanna-be cook.