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It is well known that most of the Indian women use to cook for family and is really a great opportunity for a woman.

It is mentioned in Mahabharata that Nala, Bhimasena could cook food and performed their skill during hard times. Bhimasena cooked during agnatha vasa at Virata kingdom. Nala cooked food at Rituparna kingdom. But I never come across any mention of men cooking for wife and family under normal conditions.

Are there any scriptural references of men cooking food for wife and family? Or is it mandatory for women to do so?

Note: I want answer only from scriptures, as I told, not from the opinions or books by historians, archeologists, modern experts etc.,

  • this is just a comment. I don't know about past scriptures but if we start writing a new scripture today there would be volumes on Men cooking for Wife and family :--) – Gopal Anantharaman Sep 29 at 22:08
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    I think it is mentioned somewhere that only women should cook but I do not the specific scripture. – Wikash_ Sep 30 at 6:07
  • @Wikash_ - absolutely not. Men can, must, and do cook - because when the wife is in ritu-asoucha (3 days), she must NOT cook, so the husband has to, in cast of nuclear family. – ram Sep 30 at 16:33
  • @ram maybe you are right. I verbally heard it during a katha. I have to look it up. – Wikash_ Oct 1 at 8:46
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    Nala not only cooked in time of distress, but Mahabharata says that he even cooked daily for his wife because he knew the art of cooking. This is how Damayanti knew that she could use his unmatched skill to discover him when he was cursed and disguised under Rituparna. She knew from their past happy life about his unmatched cooking skills. – RamAbloh Oct 1 at 22:31
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Married men can also cook. It is not prohibited for them to do so.

For example, see the following verses:


1 Arya men who are pure should cook offering to All-gods. 2 The cook should refrain from speaking, coughing, or sneezing while facing the food. 3 Should he touch his hair, body, or garment, he should wash himself with water. 4 Alternatively, Sudra men under the supervision of an Arya may do the cooking. 5 They are to follow the identical procedure of sipping, 6 with the additional requirement that every day they should shave the hair of their heads, bodies, and beards; clip their nails; 7 and bathe with their clothes on. 8

Dharmasutras of Apasthambha 2.3.1-8

These all-god (or Viswadeva) offering being talked about here are to be done by householders.


On the eighth day off the month of Phalguna, one should himself, or make his wife, cook vegetable-leaves. Where a Homa with vegetable-leaves is to be performed, it must be done accordding to the rules of an Ashtaka S'rdddha where sweet-barley-cakes [are offered], (23)

Katyayana Smriti, Chapter 17, Verse 23.


However, generally it is regarded as the wife's duty to cook.


Pure in her thought, speech and action, and obedient to the dictates of her lord, she should follow him (in life) like his own shadow, seek his good like a trusted friend, and minister /to his desires like a servant. 26 27)

Then having finished cooking, she should report of it to her husband saying, " the rice is cooked." The husband having made offerings therewith to the Vishvadevas, she should first feed the children, and ithen serve out the morning meal to her lord. (28)

Vyasa Smriti, Chapter 2, Verses 26-28.

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    Men can, must, and do cook - because when the wife is in ritu-asoucha (3 days), she must NOT cook, so the husband has to, in cast of nuclear family – ram Sep 30 at 16:34
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But I never come across any mention of men cooking for wife and family under normal conditions.

Manusmṛti explains why this is the case:

Discourse IX - Duties of the King (concluded) » Section I - Husband and Wife

No man can guard women forcibly; they can however be guarded by the employment of these expedients.—(9.10)

He shall employ her in the accumulation and disbursement of wealth, as also in cleanliness, in religious acts, in the cooking of food and in taking care of the household furniture.—(9.11)


Or is it that only women must do the cooking?

Śukranīti has detailed instructions on how a wife should begin and end her day. So under normal conditions, cooking & feeding the husband seems to be one of her main duties:

Śukranīti (4.4.12-32).—‘She should get up before her husband and purify her body, then raise the beddings and clean the house by sweeping and washing...should then cleanse the vessels used in sacrifices and keep them at the proper places; empty out the vessels and fill them with water; should wash the cooking utensils, cleanse the hearth and place therein fire with fuel;—should scrutinise the vessels to be used and the various articles of food...She should then dress and cook the food, inform her husband and feed those who have to be fed with the offerings made to gods and Pitṛs;—again in the evening, as in the morning, she should clean the house, cook the food and feed her husband and the servants.’

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  • I mean the question is is it mandatory for only women to do so? – hanugm Oct 1 at 7:14
  • You also say, "But I never come across any mention of men cooking for wife and family under normal conditions." My answer explains why this is the case. @hanugm – sv. Oct 1 at 20:44
  • See if my edits make sense. @hanugm – sv. Oct 1 at 21:11

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