Woman Cooks 67-Item Meal For Son-In-Law! Is Damaad Pampering Justified?

Andhra Woman Cooks 67-Item Meal

A woman from Andhra Pradesh became an instantaneous internet sensation after she cooked a sumptuous five-course meal for her son-in-law. A video of the woman, in which she can be seen skimming over the 67 items, is being circulated on Twitter. Do such lavish customs still hold contemporary relevance? In almost all households, why is the son-in-law placed on a pedestal? And why are women continuing to abide by such traditions?

The video showcases all the food items splayed on a banana leaf and the woman reveals every preparation made by her. If  67 items were not enough there is a gold coin placed near the dessert, symbolic of a present for her son-in-law. The woman can also be heard singing as the camera focuses on the decadent eatables. The video has gone viral on the microblogging platform and has also gained over one lakh views. With more than 4,600 likes and thousands of comments, netizens have deemed the feast drool-worthy. However, do such cultural practices still hold value? Shouldn’t we actively attempt to dismantle such patriarchal customs?

The humongous a 67-item feast comprised of a welcome drink, starters, chaat, main course, desserts and a number of pickles and pachadis to accompany the meal for her visiting son-in-law. How does she expect him to consume such a colossal amount of food? Is it constructive to conduct such rituals?

The adage of “damaad khush to beti khush” (if the son-in-law is happy, the daughter is happy) is continually reinforced. Why is the son-in-law placed on a pedestal? It’s a place which most Indian daughters-in-law can’t even fathom reaching. Can she?

Internalisation Of Patriarchy

While the video elicited a flurry of positive reactions, the unquestioned acceptance of the seemingly innocuous convention is potentially dangerous.

The gendered division of tasks traditionally allots the domestic sphere to women and the public one to the man. This ideology is ingrained early into young minds who observe the gender roles play out at their own households. Consequently, certain values are covertly internalised.  The child considers them an innate component of the society and unquestioningly attempts to imbibe the characteristics.

Women are conditioned to believe that they are supposed to unassumingly occupy the domestic sphere of the societal milieu and perform gendered tasks such as housework. Therefore, patriarchal patterns of thinking are perpetuated. The unpaid and unacknowledged nature of those tasks has been normalised as patriarchy doesn’t assign a high value to them.

Instances Of Patriarchy In Pop Culture

The Malayalam show, Annie’s Kitchen  has been called out from perpetuating such stereotypes. The culinary show  included a section wherein the host, interviewed a celebrity from the field of cinema, TV, art and politics. In the show, she reportedly questioned accomplished female celebrities about their cooking skills. She also stated that there was no requirement for feminism in the society.

The 1900s advertisements for Campbell Soup that relied heavily on male authority showcase instances of internalised patriarchy too. The advertisements never portrayed women as chefs although they insisted that women be solely responsible for cooking. Furthermore, the stereotype that women must cook to gratify men, who are free to criticise it, has been reinforced there.

Yes, food connects people, eating together definitely helps build relationships, but cooking 67-item to appease one person is a bit too much.  It is about time that we question such norms before we accept them.

Also Read: Does Patriarchy Want Us In Kitchens Only When It Suits Its Agenda?

Ria Chakraborty is an intern with SheThePeople.TV. Views expressed are the author’s own.