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Feminine Women Can Cook

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And in a fancy dress too.

"Is this the kind of wife you want, Ben? Not someone to help you, not a wife to cook and sew and cry and need, but this kind. Selfish, vain, useless. Is this what you really want?"

If a female character is feminine, she will be able to cook. If she isn't, then any and all attempts to cook will end in failure or poison the consumer. Thus the Girly Girl will be a better cook than the Tomboy.

By feminine, we mean traditional domestically-focused wife-like roles. Being sexy isn't enough to qualify. You can also lose femininity by becoming overly childish and cute. We are talking about a traditionalist grown woman femininity here; The Wife of The Three Faces of Eve.

Keep in mind that this trope refers to home cooking, not professional cookery. (Although working in a restaurant may still be counted as one of the Acceptable Feminine Goals and Traits depending on how it's presented.) Younger tropers might be surprised to learn that before the 1980s, women were generally not allowed to work as professional chefs.note  The excuse usually given was that the work was "too physically hard" for women, but in reality, the common belief was that although a woman could make an adequate home cook, she could never be a real chef, because being a chef took a certain genius that no woman could possibly ever, ever have. The resistance to women working as professional chefs was so strong that some women who tried ended up having to leave the profession to protect themselves from sexual harassment and violence. Thus Colette in Ratatouille can cook and be a fiery feminist heroine at the same time - as she points out, she has to be a fiery cook in order to become a chef at all.

This trope is fairly recent, as before the arrival of electric and gas ranges (and of packaged meat) cookery was dirty, hard work that if anything sharply detracted from a woman’s perceived femininity, especially in a time when ‘true’ femininity was considered to be possessed only by the genteel. A proper lady living in the 18th or 19th century might make preserves or distill perfumes or medicines - and would have a stillroom in which to do so - but (as Mrs. Bennet rightly points out in Pride & Prejudice) would not be caught dead even so much as walking into her own kitchen, let alone cooking in it.

Compare the male equivalent Manly Men Can Hunt for traditionally male activities in which modern successful men lose the ability to perform manly abilities as a function of their "sacrifices" for success. Fishing, car repair, hunting, plumbing, carpentry, etc.

Compare also Harp of Femininity, an alternative and somewhat more refined way to emphasize a woman's femininity. Also compare Textile Work Is Feminine, which is similar but has fallen more victim to the Industrial Revolution. Also see Through His Stomach for one use a feminine woman can put it to — whether in a romantic or maternal situation.

Not to be confused with Stay in the Kitchen, which, despite its name, isn't exactly related to this trope, although they can overlap. Inverted with Dads Can't Cook or Real Men Cook, depending on your perspective.


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  • American food companies in the 1950s tried to wrap up their mixes and other convenience foods as an easier way to cook because otherwise women resisted them, fearing they would fall afoul of this trope if they used them. (They still resisted even with it, just not so much.)

    Anime and Manga 
  • Ranma ½:
    • Akane Tendo's utter inability to cook symbolizes her tomboy inner nature, despite her preference for feminine garb. The fact that she desperately wants to learn to cook is a way of showing that she wants to be more feminine like her idolized older sister Kasumi. Ironically, Wholesome Crossdresser Ukyo's superlative cooking ability (she's a professional chef) is one indication that her inner nature is actually more feminine than dress-loving Akane. The only thing they have in common is martial arts.
    • It's hinted that Nabiki Tendo can't cook, and can't be bothered to try, and prefers extremely expensive takeout instead. Since she is described as lacking a maiden's heart, the lack of cooking ability follows.
    • Ranma is also able to cook basic meals, despite being a boy who hates being cursed to turn into a girl. His mother (unaware that the redheaded girl is the same person as her son) once compliments "her" cooking and immediately follows up with "You'll make a wonderful wife!" simply because of this skill. Needless to say, Ranma was not amused.
  • Inverted in D.N.Angel: the tomboyish Riku Harada can cook while her girly-girl sister Risa is a bonafide Lethal Chef. This is justified by their personalities: Riku is more hardworking and responsible while Risa is more spoiled and childish (she gets better in the manga).
  • Aoba in Cross Game is the Tomboy category, while her feminine sister Wakaba can cook quite well.
  • Inverted in Lyrical Nanoha. Nanoha, Fate, and Hayate, who are independent, highly destructive Action Girls with glowing military careers, are all revealed in supplementary material to be good cooks in their own right. The Lethal Chef of the series? Why, it's the Team Mom and White Magician Girl, Shamal!note 
    • Dieci is also revealed to be one of the more feminine Numbers, and being one of the best cooks. However, her sisters Subaru and Sein are also excellent cooks, the latter at least fits the excellent parts, the former is known for cooking massive amounts of food.
  • Orihime Inoue from Bleach has both tomboyish (likes sci-fi, wears track pants and T-shirts in the Soul Society arc) and girlish (nurturing personality, Barrier Warrior powers, wears her hair VERY long) traits and can cook. Being a Cloud Cuckoo Lander and an Extreme Omnivore, her meals consist of so many strange combinations, most people aren't willing to try her food to discover this. The few who do (such as Tessai and Rangiku), discover that there is genius in the madness and that her meals are well-cooked and taste good. She also holds down a part-time job in a bakery.
  • In Angelic Layer, the anime in particular, cute lead character Misaki is an excellent cook and is told that she'll make a good bride someday. Her tomboyish and violent best friend, Kizaki Tamayo, begins to get jealous of her ability when it looks like Misaki will win the boy they both like, Koutarou: he loves Misaki's food, but Tamayo can't even crack an egg right. In an odd twist, this is expanded upon much more in the version in which Tamayo *does* win, and barely glossed over in the one where she loses.
  • Parodied in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, where the girly girl Nia becomes a sort-of The Minnesota Fats for the local Cool Big Sis Yoko since she's good at almost everything...until the Beach Episode shows that Nia is a horrid cook: whatever she cooks looks delicious, but it knocks out most people who taste it (poor Rossiu spent a whole episode out of commission!). Although her Love Interest Simon genuinely likes her cooking, even if no one else does. In one of the spin-off manga, it's shown Kamina would have loved her food too. So who knows, maybe its food fit for only the manliest of men/women.
  • In Sailor Moon, tomboy Makoto (AKA Sailor Jupiter) is easily the best cook of the group. A manga side story that focuses on her shows she cooks and does housework when stressed or depressed, even if it stops her from doing more important things, like studying for entrance exams. Because of suggestions it ultimately relates to her femininity complex, this aspect is reinterpreted in some adaptations as having a professional interest in running restaurants.
  • Rosetta Passel from Kaleido Star is shown as an absolute disaster at the kitchen and housekeeping, since she's practically lived on tour her whole life and has rarely had the chance to experience what a true home life is. She gets a bit better with Sora's help. On the other hand, the initially very childish and immature May Wong is an excellent chef...and is both tomboyish (VERY pushy and straightforward) and girlish (very feminine looks).
  • Subverted with Tokine from Kekkaishi. Despite being publicly known as a Yamato Nadeshiko and having a mother who knows how to cook well, her attempts at cooking have all ended in failure. This probably falls under that note for type 2s, as her Love Interest is a baking otaku, and is probably at least competent at cooking non-sweet foods.
  • Revolutionary Girl Utena subverted this as well - Anthy Himemiya, despite being extremely feminine, is a Lethal Chef whose cooking is so terrible, it actually explodes. Then causes people to switch bodies. It's pretty obvious she did that one on purpose to mess with people - under that demure exterior is enough frustration and broken, passive-aggressive malice to power a small town, due to her horrifying past and her current role as the Rose Bride that forces her into a passive Damsel in Distress role — whether she wants to be or not. Normally she fulfills this trope to a tee, being essentially in charge of cooking and cleaning in Utena's dorm and despite only two people living there, repeatedly producing veritable feasts for dinner.
  • In Paradise Kiss, Isabella is constantly feeding everyone her exquisite traditional Japanese dishes. Coupled with her extremely feminine, motherly, and caring demeanor, she's the closest the series gets to a Yamato Nadeshiko... apart from some embarrassing biological details.
  • In Tori Koro, Yae is the only one of the three main girls who can cook (and the only thing she can do well; she's bad at both physically (except baseball) and academically), provoking ire from others that she's more feminine than them.
  • Hell Teacher Nube: Yukime dreams of cooking delicious meals for her love interest, Nube, and when he can't enjoy them (since they're frozen solid, her being a Yuki-onna and all), she's upset at her own lack of skill more than his own refusal.
  • In Chrono Crusade, the Hot-Blooded Rosette can't cook. In a flashback, Chrono is shown foaming at the mouth when he first tries one of Rosette's cookies. Later, she's shown to have improved enough that her food is edible, but it still looks disgusting. In comparison, Fiore's cooking is to die for, and in the anime, Azmaria and Chrono (of all people!) are both shown to be good cooks, as well.
  • The Wallflower: Sunako is an excellent cook, at least with Japanese food, and it's one of the big signs that she really is Beautiful All Along and Feminine All Along.
  • Shimura Tae from Gintama can be considered a subversion of the Type 3 variant of this trope. She definitely fits the bill character-wise, although she capriciously vaults back and forth between feminine innocence and tomboyish wrath whenever somebody offends her or infringes upon her privacy. She has been repeatedly stated to only know how to boil eggs, and the resulting product is always a blackened and inedible pulp much to the chagrin of the people she was cooking for. As a result of this Running Gag, her younger brother Shinpachi usually does the cooking in their household.
  • Hayate the Combat Butler:
    • Hinagiku is shown as a wonderful cook despite her Tomboy exterior. Her attempts to bring attention to her ability symbolizes her trying to show her feminine side more.
    • Hayate is a great cook and is continually shown to be so feminine a boy he can be mistaken for a girl. Hayate is shown to be hyper-qualified at everything he does.
    • Maria is depicted as skilled at everything. So good cooking ability plays into that as well.
    • Nagi is shown to be a Lethal Chef- another clue that she's a Tomboy and still too immature to be a woman (and therefore at a disadvantage in her romantic pursuits).
  • In The Story of Saiunkoku, Shuurei, the protagonist, is the first ever woman politician in her country, and she is an excellent cook. Her red bean buns in particular are much loved by the other characters.
  • In Ai Kora, one of the signs that Ninja girl Kirino is actually a Tomboy with a Girly Streak is that she's an excellent cook.
  • As seen above, Sumire from Venus Versus Virus. The slightly older Gothic Loli Lucia however could not cook well until Sumire taught her. Another variation that appears is that Sumire has a liking for flower arrangement.
  • In one episode of Nerima Daikon Brothers, Mako goes to see a famous fortune-teller, who asks her to make something from a plate of cocktail weenies. She then rejects Mako's Weenie Eiffel Tower, telling her that "a girl who can't even do a lick of cooking will die tomorrow," and that she'll only become a woman when she can cook, clean, and do the laundry. The character was based on Kazuko Hosoki, an actual famous fortune teller, who had very conservative views on gender roles.
  • Wandering Son's protagonist Nitori is quite good at baking, though she's not shown to do any other sort of cooking besides that; she identifies as a girl despite her boy body, and is pretty girlish as well. Her female peers aren't nearly as good at baking.
  • Sorcerer Hunters has a fun example that fits with Tira's being somewhat offbeat: she's clumsy when she has to cook by conventional means, cutting her fingers and turning vegetables into rubble. But when she's allowed to "transform" and do it her own way, her prep is flawless.
  • A Rare Male Example occurs in Saint Beast where an already very effeminate character has his effeminacy further established by being the natural cook in his circle of friends.
  • Real Bout High School (the anime version) has an episode where Ryoko and another girl compete to make lunch for the boy they have a crush on.
  • Toyed with in Dear Brother. On one hand, the Yamato Nadeshiko-in-training Nanako is a Supreme Chef and The Lad-ette Kaoru is a Lethal Chef. (Which gets a lampshade in the fourth episode of the anime, with Kaoru epically failing to separate egg whites and yolks and Nanako teaching her to do so). On the other, the other local tomboy Tomoko is just as good of a cook as Nanako is.
  • Subverted in The Prince of Tennis, where the Supreme Chef among Tomoka and Sakuno is… the tomboyish Tomoka. It's not that Sakuno is bad in the kitchen, but Tomoka is specifically mentioned to be the best of the two. (Somewhat justified since Tomoka has a partial Promotion to Parent to deal with: she learned to cook out of the necessity to take care of her two much younger brothers while their parents are at work.)
  • Played for Drama in Spy X Family. Yor is an assassin who got married to seem less suspicious, but due to her Bunny-Ears Lawyer nature (only being good at killing-related things), she is constantly worried about not seeming normal enough. She's good at cleaning (because of her experience in taking care of crime scenes), but she is a Lethal Chef (and good with poisons; it's unknown which came first). She tries to get her coworkers at her cover job to teach her to cook, and she eventually learns one recipe.
  • Tenchi Muyo! series:
    • Sasami's the usual cook for the household, mostly out of a desire to pay back for staying at Tenchi's house. However, there are times where both Ryoko (very much The Lad-ette) and Ayeka (The Ojou, meaning she's very girlish) attempt to cook, mostly to win Tenchi over. One issue of the manga series had Tenchi fall ill after one of Ryoko and Ayeka's fights knocked him into the lake, leading to both girls trying to cook for him. Both girls are horrible cooks, but where Ryoko plows through trying to cook (with disastrous results, Ayeka ends up swallowing her pride and Sasami aids her. It's all for naught, though - by the time Ayeka's done cooking, Tenchi's feeling much better and it's Mihoshi who's sick (she got that way trying her own idea to cure Tenchi).
    • Ayeka takes after her mother Misaki, who, being an Action Girl par excellence, couldn't be bothered to learn, while Sasami chose to follow their grandmother Seto who is the best chef in the whole damn Galaxy. Which is ironic, because Seto is probably even a greater Action Girl than Misaki and still finds the time to teach her cooking to everyone who asks, despite being busy with running the empire and upholding her "Demon Princess Of Jurai" nickname and screwing with everyone around.
  • Pretty Cure:
    • Subverted in Yes! Pretty Cure 5 as the girlier girls of the team, Komachi and Karen, can't cook worth a hill of beans. Neither can the tomboyish Rin or the star of the series Nozomi.
    • In Fresh Pretty Cure!, the very feminine Love was taught to cook at a young age by her mother.
    • In Suite Pretty Cure ♪, Kanade, the Girly Girl to Hibiki's tomboy, is an excellent pastry chef.
    • In Smile PreCure!, this is played straight with Yayoi, who's a good cook and very feminine (aside from being a big fan of tokusatsu and wanting to be a manga artist). However, it's averted with Akane and Nao, who are both Tomboys but still good at cooking (Akane's family runs an okonomiyaki restaurant, and Nao comes from a large family so she often has to help out).
    • Zigzagged in Doki Doki! PreCure: The feminina Mana and Ayumi are good cooks, running a restaurant, but Makoto, who is even more feminine, is comically bad at cooking.
    • In HappinessCharge Pretty Cure!, the adorable Ribbon cooks for Hime, because Hime doesn't know how.
    • KiraKira★Pretty Cure à la Mode: Zigzagged. The very feminine Ichika, Yukari, and Ciel are all fantastic cooks, but so is the shy Himari, and tomboyish Aoi and Akira.
    • Subverted in HuGtto! Pretty Cure: Despite being cast in a cooking show, Saaya's famous actress mother can't cook very well.
    • Inverted in Tropical-Rouge! Pretty Cure, where it's the tomboyish Asuka who likes to cook.
    • Delicious Party♡Pretty Cure: Like Kira Kira above, the Cures are all very girly, and excellent cooks. The same goes for Yui and Ran's mothers, and Yui's grandmother. Some male characters (ex. Rosemary) are shown to be good at cooking, but for the most part, the women are in charge of the kitchen.
    • Hirogaru Sky! Pretty Cure: The feminine Mashiro makes delicious bread that looks like clouds, which the tomboyish Sora loves.
  • Cooking Papa: Araiwa's wife is a reporter without the time (or skills) to cook her family's meals. Fortunately her husband's workplace is at only five minutes from home.
  • Referenced in A Certain Magical Index. After Touma nearly kills himself helping Mikoto and the Sisters clones, she buys him some cookies as thanks. He protests that the reward would usually be homemade cookies, and Mikoto (a textbook tomboy) demands to know exactly what kind of girl he thinks she is. A Certain Scientific Railgun, however, shows that she afterward did bake him some cookies herself (with Saten's help), but was too embarrassed to give them to him.
  • Miya from Sekirei is an interesting example. Her cooking is noted to be incredible, and she seems to be the very ideal of a housewife. However, it turns out that Seo was the one who taught her everything she knows about cooking and keeping house. When she first married, she was horrible at anything related to keeping house — ruining clothes, breaking the panels out of the shoji screens, and cooking food so horrific that her husband couldn't even swallow it while trying to insist it wasn't that bad.
  • Subverted like everything else in Rebuild of Evangelion: Rei thinks up the idea to cook for everyone, and try and get Shinji and his father together. There's just one problem, from the number of cuts she has it seems she used that large kitchen knife she was waving around more on her hands than on the food. Further subverted in that the dinner doesn't even eventuate.
  • Gender Bender mangas Maomarimo and Sekainohate de Aimashou both use this trope as partial justification for the Third Law of Gender-Bending, which carries the rather… unfortunate implication that a boy with a feminine interest is not manly enough and is better off as a girl.
  • In Pokémon, Dawn was good at baking Poffins and Serena is an excellent patisserie. May subverts it despite her coordinator status by being a Lethal Chef.
  • In Fate/Prototype, the very girlish-looking Manaka Sajyou took care of the housework after her and Ayaka's mother either died or disappeared. That certainly included handling the family kitchen.
  • Invoked in I Can't Understand What My Husband Is Saying when Kaoru goes to her father (who is a professional chef) to learn how to cook so she can be a better wife. Although her husband is perfectly fine with her burnt-rice-with-chunks-of-raw-carrot.
  • In Gourmet Girl Graffiti, Ryou's grandmother taught Ryou to cook exactly for this reason. This is why Ryou wondered if she'll become a bad housewife at the beginning of the series as she found she hasn't been tasting as food lately (which is more because of loneliness than her cooking skills).
  • Blue Exorcist averts this completely, as no woman of the main cast is shown capable of cooking. Shiemi certainly tries, but it always tastes awful and is stuffed full of herbs though that comes in handy once, and the one time Izumo is seen about to cook she looks incredibly lost. The one person who can cook? The resident Anti Anti Christ Rin, who, admittedly, is a fairly girly guy (or rather gender-neutral), who, to add insult to injury to any poor girl around trying to attract his twin brother Yukio via Through His Stomach, is also a Supreme Chef with a 100% success rate.
  • Miia in Monster Musume believes this trope and keeps trying to prove her suitability to be the girl Kimihito marries. Unfortunately, between being a lamia meaning that she has only 1/25th to 1/50th the taste buds of a human and her tendency to simply add ingredients to a dish because they look or sound like what's being made (for example, when trying to make white rice gruel she added white onions and white fish because they're all white), she's an exceptionally skilled Lethal Chef.
  • In Otomen, one's cooking skill is apparently correlated to femininity. Tomboy Ryo is a Lethal Chef, but when she briefly turned feminine due to a Heroic BSoD, she suddenly becomes a good cook. She loses her skills once she pulled herself together.
  • Inverted in Three Leaves, Three Colors. Youko, the girliest of the three friends, can't cook to save her life, while resident Big Eater Futaba (who's slightly boyish) can.
  • The protagonist Ryousuke in Blue Wars plays with this trope in an interesting way because he is a heavily muscled marital artist with the heart of a maiden in love and the feminine interests to match. His cooking skills (good enough to get a compliment from his crush) are evidence of how he fits this trope to a T—except for the fact that he isn't actually a feminine woman, he just really badly wants to be one.
  • Thoroughly played with in Food Wars! whenever the topic comes up.
    • First, it's subverted in an omake when girls try to appeal to guys by making them food, only for Nikumi's tsundere 'I just made too much' excuse to fall flat when she sees that everyone in the Polar Star Dorm really did make too much food because they cook constantly and are having trouble getting through it all. Then we see two fangirls of the Aldinis try to share lunches with them, only for Takumi and Isami's food to be much better, leaving all three girls depressed. Then it's inverted when the extremely masculine and popular Jouichirou had female classmates begging for his failure dishes, showing lovestruck eyes after a BDSM-themed foodgasm. His food still makes pretty girls swoon even in the present.
    • More seriously, it's acknowledged at multiple points that the field of professional cooking is dominated by men and that women only rarely manage to reach great success and acknowledgement. For example, at least one student feels she needs the prestige of the First Seat to be acknowledged at her family's restaurant by the sexist male staff and we have yet to see a single female student who either has or has had the position of First Seat of the Elite Ten at Tootsuki.
    • Particularly played with when it comes to Megumi. She's extremely feminine and supportive in a 'girl next door' sort of way, which has great influence on her cooking. Rather than emphasize technical perfection or ingenuity like her male or more aggressive female counterparts, she prefers to use simple ingredients with painstaking care put into thinking about who is going to eat it. However, while this does make her the most girly girl in the cast, it's also nearly gotten her expelled on at least three different points throughout the story and also causes her to be overlooked in favor of students like Alice or Miyoko, even if she actually scores higher than the latter and makes much more enjoyable and comfortable food than the former.
  • Played with and somewhat reversed in Made in Abyss. The only clearly-female main character, Riko, can make delicious meals out of practically anything, but she isn't feminine. Nanachi is resolutely gender-ambiguous and terrible at cooking, seemingly due to an atrophied sense of taste. Reg, despite being male, is probably the most feminine of the three, but he's even worse than Nanachi.
  • Naruto:
    • Hinata Hyuga in a filler episode of Part I Naruto and in an omake of Naruto Shippuden is shown to be an exceptional cook. And in Boruto she is shown as a Supreme Chef with her son, Boruto, commenting once how she went overboard, and her husband Naruto mentioning how her food is delicious.
    • Sakura Haruno on the other hand, is shown in the aforementioned omake as Lethal Chef, being a medical ninja and her insistence on preparing "healthy" meals having something to do with it. By the time of Boruto, she has improved her cooking skills considerably, after having been a housewife raising her daughter Sarada.
  • Princess Ann from Samurai 8: The Tale of Hachimaru, as part of an attempt to connect with her Samurai Lord, Hachimaru, she decides to make lunch for everyone. The meal is delicious... just not very appealing to the eye.

    Asian Animation 

    Comic Books 
  • Averted in an issue of JLA Classified written by Gail Simone, where Wonder Woman presents the other members of the JLA with a traditional Themyscrian pastry. Flash and Green Lantern are more than a little panicked at the thought that Wonder Woman bakes... and shocked by the tasty results.
  • A weird subversion in Young Justice, in which Artemis, Diana's counterpart from the violent Amazon faction, reveals she can cook during Wonder Girl's Training from Hell. There's nothing feminine about it though...
    Artemis: We eventually proved ourselves to our elders by making them a feast from the eighteen eyes of a slain hydra.
    Cassie: Oh, perfect. I can't even reheat mac and cheese.
  • Superman: Depending on the Writer, Lois Lane.
  • In Archie Comics, Veronica subverts this by being a notoriously bad cook who couldn't boil water in a blast furnace. Furthermore, any boy who is pressured to eat what she prepares is usually convinced they are about to commit suicide. A spoiled rich girl like Veronica has no doubt never needed to learn to do such "menial" tasks, which are for the servants to do. By contrast, the more tomboyish Betty is a Supreme Chef.
  • While Red Tornado (Abigail "Ma" Hunkel) is more known for being rather rough-and-tumble and looking like a linebacker than being feminine, she is a caring mother/grandmother and excellent chef whose meals the Justice Society of America are quite appreciative of.

    Fairy Tales 
  • In "The Frog Princess", cooking a loaf of bread is one of the brides' tests.
    • In "The Frog Maiden"', the frog makes rice and meat.
    • In "The Prince and the Tortoise", the tortoise cooks a meal for the king.
    • In "The Frog's Skin", the frog secretly cooks for her husband before he learns it is her.
      In a short time the frog leaped out of the fireplace, jumped over to the doors, and all around the room. Seeing no one there, it went back and took off the frog's skin, put it near the fire, and came forth a beautiful maiden, fair as the sun; so lovely was she that the man could not imagine anything prettier. In the twinkling of an eye she had tidied everything, prepared the food, and cooked it. When everything was ready, she went to the fire, put on the skin again, and began to croak.
  • In "The Fish and the Ring", the heroine swings a job in the kitchen, which is how she happens to cook the fish that has the ring — and so make her father-in-law give up his persecution.
  • In "All Kind of Fur", she can cook a marvelous soup, and she also slips the ring he gave her into it.
  • In "Cap o' Rushes", she makes gruel for the sick young man, which gives her a chance to put the ring in it.

    Fan Works 

    Film — Animation 
  • Disney heroines have gone through a particular evolution over the years:
    • Snow White's ability to cook is one of her defining traits and what ultimately convinces the dwarfs to let her stay with them. Within the film we see her cook a pot of soup and later gooseberry pies for the dwarfs; she also mentions that she can make apple dumplings and plum pudding.
    • Colette from Ratatouille twists this trope around by being strong, feminine, and an outstanding chef at one of Paris' top restaurants all at once. She makes a speech partway through the film which is a Take That! to the notion that women can only cook within the home, which is clearly a Berserk Button.
      • It's also Averted in the food industry as a whole- there's a lot of ingrained sexism and it's very hard for a woman to get into haute cuisine. Colette managed it because she was willing to go through hell for it.
    • Pictured above: In The Princess and the Frog, the heroine, Tiana, loves to cook, and from the age of six shows off her prodigious gumbo skills. Her dream is to own a beautiful, community-nurturing restaurant where she herself is the head chief. Her skills were honed in her home kitchen but, like Collette, she is a professional chef who's worked her whole life to get where she is.
    • While just a minor character, Mirabel's mother in Encanto is the most feminine (and stable) woman of the family. Her Gift is making food with magical healing powers.

    Film — Live Action 
  • Woman of the Year spends much of the movie showing how Katharine Hepburn's female reporter is the intellectual equal (or even superior) of Spencer Tracy's male reporter. The last scene in the movie is of Hepburn trying to make waffles but failing spectacularly, indicating that by being so successful in the "man's world" (the movie was released in 1942), she's rendered helpless in the "woman's world."
  • Film Always. Air-traffic controller Dorinda Durston wants to have a man over for dinner. She has to buy a pre-cooked meal and pretends that she prepared it herself.
  • Lara Croft in Tomb Raider even screws up reheating a ready meal in a microwave. She's of noble blood, and her butler does all the cooking. She's also most definitely not feminine. The one time she puts on an elegant dress, her butler nearly has a heart attack (he's been trying to get her to act like a proper lady for years) and quickly corrects the situation by serving her guns on a tray.
  • Éowyn in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers is shown to be a horrible cook by Aragorn's wordless expression when she attempts to make stew for him (matching at least two trope variants, since Éowyn is not at all happy in a medieval woman's role and she has an unrequited crush on Aragorn). It probably helps that she's highborn, so she probably has servants for cooking, and she's traveling with minimal equipment.
  • In the 1984 film Runaway, it's 20 Minutes into the Future and robots do a lot of the routine work. Tom Selleck plays Ramsay, a policeman who hunts down rogue Killer Robots. He's assisted by a strong and capable female officer, Karen Thompson, who in fact is more competent than he is because he's acrophobic. By the end they're falling in love, and how does he ask her to have a relationship with him? He says "Can you cook?", causing the woman to melt adoringly into his arms as the sparks fly.
  • Lee Leander in Remember the Night cooks some muffins, and is told by Aunt Emma that the way into a man's love is by cooking for him. Lee doesn't really believe this and throws muffins right in front of Sargent out of anger.

  • Double subverted in Dragon Bones: While they're roasting meat over open fire, Ward tells his sister Ciarra that she's doing it wrong. In the end, though, his piece of meat is burned, while hers is okay. He was very distracted and irritable at the time.
  • In Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan series, Cathy Ryan — wife of the titular protagonist — is a good example. A full-time doctor, a professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins, and an award-winning researcher, she still nonetheless takes great pride in her gourmet chef abilities (her potato salad is apparently to die for). It has been suggested within the books themselves that the reason she is so good at it is that cooking, being the application of proper ingredients, time, and preparation, appeals to her meticulous nature.
  • Though she's not portrayed as particularly gifted, Catti-brie Battlehammer of The Legend of Drizzt novels, for much of her life a tomboyish Action Girl, can at least make enjoyable road stew. Though it's implied that, like many other of her useful skills beyond "sharp wit", Drizzt, a ranger used to surviving in the wild, taught her how.
  • Subversion: From Robert A. Heinlein's Time Enough for Love, specifically from the entries in "The Notebooks of Lazarus Long":
    "A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."note 
    • This is Heinlein's "Competent Man/Competent Woman" concept.
  • The Belgariad:
    • Polgara. She can cook, masterfully, and she at least pays lip service to the idea that she, as a woman, is better off manipulating events subtly and behind the scenes. The events of Polgara the Sorceress, however, prove that she's just as willing as her father Belgarath to flat-out strongarm people (or a nation) into doing what she wants, and she's almost as proficient as him at it, to boot.
    • The "Rich people can't cook" variant is Ce'Nedra. She's not quite a Lethal Chef, but almost.
    • Garion, the protagonist, is probably a passable cook, just by virtue of being raised in a kitchen and watching his aunt Pol at work. He knows how to cook bacon over an open flame and not burn it, at least.
  • In the Star Wars Expanded Universe, Mara Jade tries to give Luke a taste of home by cooking a Tatooine dish. She screws it up. Luke, perhaps for the sake of her feelings (or just to escape her rage), tells her that it smells just like he remembers; and that he really wanted to leave Tatooine because of the food.
  • Parodied in the Discworld novel Jingo, where confused crossdresser Nobby Nobbs believes he's expected to do the cooking because he's a woman. To make it even sillier, there is an actual woman present, but Sergeant Angua "doesn't do cookery" (She's an Independent Career Woman. She's also a vegetarian werewolf, who prefers to avoid the smell of meat in human form.)
  • Louisa May Alcott was very fond of this trope. The scenes in Little Women putting Jo March through the 'feminine redemption for the tomboy' version were repeated in several other of Alcott's novels and short stories, as her heroines contemplate taking up a profession and are firmly told that the most honourable profession for any woman is to make a happy, comfortable home for her family. Which doesn't mean they always follow it, anyway.
  • Eight Cousins, also by Louisa May Alcott, subverts it. The small heroine Rose learns to bake the perfect loaf of bread, but it's presented as only one aspect of a pretty well-rounded education that also involves learning to sail, ride and generally become 'strong-minded', right alongside her seven boy cousins.
    • One of whom takes up knitting while laid up from an injury, reminding himself that Scotsmen all through history have "clicked the pricks" but hiding his work from his brothers because he knows they'll call him "Granny".
  • Molly Carpenter from The Dresden Files is committed to getting Harry Dresden healthier, by cooking healthy meals for him. Unfortunately, though she can make a mean cup of coffee, a chef she ain't.
    Harry: Once she burned my egg. My boiled egg. I have no idea how.
  • In Belisarius Series, Lady Sanga is so good a cook that the absence of onions at the place she was supposedly murdered makes her husband wonder if she really was murdered. In her case, she was an aristocrat and didn't need to cook or even do much of anything. She just loved cooking.
  • In John C. Wright's Chronicles of Chaos, Vanity (the more feminine of the two girls), can barely make coffee, and the less said about her "hamburger" the better. However, Amelia notes that whatever she does make tends to taste delicious anyway.
  • In the Mercy Thompson novels, Mercy is a Volkswagon mechanic who dresses in grubby T-shirts, snarks off incessantly to every macho-male she encounters, and devours small furry animals when she turns into a coyote. The one "girly" thing she does is to bake lots of cookies or brownies.
  • In L. M. Montgomery's Jane of Lantern Hill, Jane takes to cooking like a duck to water, feeding both herself and her father though she was never allowed to cook before. She does prudently buy a cookbook first, and donuts defeat her.
  • An Invoked Trope in Someone Else's War, where the very sexist Lord's Resistance Army leaves cooking up to the girls and lets the boys do everything else.
  • In Poul Anderson's "Break", Cleonie — previously noted by the captain as a feminine woman — is the sole passenger among the survivors of The Mutiny. When the (male) crew desperately work to save themselves in a damaged crew, she feels helpless, but the captain counters that she keeps the meals coming.
  • A Brother's Price is a world in which, due to the sheer rarity of males, most gender roles are Stereotype Flipped and twisted about a little. As such the ability to cook for a large family is seen as a very good skill for a man to have. Jerin, staying out of the kitchen to avoid tempting visiting women, finds that one of his sisters has prepared only potatoes for their guest's dinner and has to recruit siblings to help him make it into a full meal.
  • In C. S. Lewis's The Four Loves, part of Mrs. Fidget's control techniques was to cook for her family.
  • Kahlan from the Sword of Truth series. A ruler of the Midlands, with powerful Mind Control powers, a brilliant tactician and an excellent fighter...really loves cooking. A cook who knew her since childhood claimed Kahlan scared everyone whenever she came into her kitchen and asked for some pots (a normal reaction to a Confessor. Nothing to do with her skills).
  • Iria Gai from Alice, Girl from the Future. She was raised as an ultimate tomboy and was known to live for years on sandwiches. Then she fell in love and married...
  • In Redeeming Love, this trope is averted with former prostitute Angel, who is very good at looking and behaving like a lady, but has next to no domestic skills because she’s never needed them before getting married. This is a source of angst and frustration once she reaches a point where she wants to do something appropriately wifely for Michael like make him dinner. Played straight when she gets enough practice that she actually becomes quite skilled in the kitchen, and acquires a job as a cook later on in the novel.
  • In Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, the trope gets brushed on, because cooking is also a matter of low class.
    • Mrs. Bennet informs the company at one point that Charlotte Lucas was probably wanted home to help with the mince pies; she brings up her daughters differently, and has the servants do their own work.
    • Mr. Collins makes the mistake of thinking one of the Bennett daughters helped with the meal. Mrs. Bennet corrects him; after all, that's what they have servants for.
  • In Patricia C. Wrede's Enchanted Forest Chronicles story "Utensile Strength", one woman breaks her engagement on discovering her fiance can bake better than she does. (Four others get engaged on the spot, thinking this might be useful.)
    • Princess Cimorene rebels against all the girly things that princesses are supposed to do, but part of that rebellion was learning to cook. She can even cook for DRAGONS.
  • In Sarah Addison Allen's The Girl Who Chased The Moon, Julia became an obsessive cook while pregnant. Sawyer's mother also cooked, habitually for him.
  • In John Hemry's Burden Of Proof, Carl talks of how Paul and Jen have settled down since they started to date; he expects Jen to knit and cook and stuff. Paul observes that she does nothing more than microwave meals — but there's nothing like a home-microwaved meal.
  • Invoked in Summers at Castle Auburn when Roderick says this. Corie points out to him that's stupid because most noblewomen can't cook.
  • In The Black Company, this appears in the form of "Non-Feminine Women Can't Cook". The Lady, Sleepy, and the Radisha, all powerful and formidable women, can't cook at all. The male narrator says at one point that he doesn't think any of them could boil water without burning it.
  • In The Bible, this is one of the traits of the ideal wife in Proverbs 31. "She is like a merchant fleet, bringing her food from afar. She rises while it is still night, and supplies provisions for her household, the daily fare of her maids." She's also pretty handy with a spindle. (It's part of a very big list; being able to do any of it is seen as a good thing. That said, if she CAN cook, it means another skill that doesn't need to be outsourced.)
  • A massive subversion in Shakugan no Shana comes when it turns out that Ninja Maid Wilhelmina, loyal servant and Parental Substitute to Shana, can't cook to save her life.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Buffyverse: Cordelia Chase is a Type 2. Her brownies could qualify as nuclear waste.
  • Invoked by allusion in Game of Thrones, where Shae demurs on preparing any food for Tyrion, recalling how one of her previous customers had, after sampling some of her concoctions, told her that for a cook, she was a pretty good whore.
  • Gilmore Girls:
    • Lorelai Gilmore and her teenage daughter Rory subsist on junk food, diner food, and takeout. Lorelai ended the series with Luke, a diner owner. (While she is an incompetent cook, she is an excellent seamstress and can whip up a fancy dress in under a week.)
    • Rory is shown cooking twice in the whole series and both times a larger point about how either she is becoming adrift in a sea of privilege or showing how unfitting a life of domesticity would be for her.
    • Lorelai's best friend Sookie works as a chef, but she's also shown as a feminine woman who loves cooking and happily feeds her husband and children. And occasionally Lorelai and Rory.
  • Sex and the City: Carrie Bradshaw is lucky if she can brew a pot of coffee. Thankfully all her major love interests know their way around the kitchen.
  • Tyler, Wendy's new boyfriend on The Middleman, cooks for her. She returns the favor to him in "The Palindrome Reversal Palindrome" when she cooks a few...Hot Pockets.
    "Lacey let me in. Don't worry, I only spent the first ten minutes digging through your underwear drawer. Now I'm testing your oven."
    "We have an oven?"
    "It's the big metal box where you keep the extra paint."
  • Lois in Lois & Clark can't cook... as shown in one episode, at the end of which she inherits cookery talent from the ghost of a disgruntled housewife who possessed her. Cookery is never mentioned again.
  • In 30 Rock, Liz is generally depicted as the independent-career-gal-living-off-fast-food type, but there was one episode ("The C Word") in which she baked cupcakes for the writers (and they apparently turned out all right).
  • Friends:
    • Inverted with Rachel. She's the most girly Girly Girl from their group and she's very feminine, fashionable, and sexy of the girls but she is a terrible cook (including once putting beef in the trifle).
    • Monica is a domestic beauty who longs to have a family. She is a professional chef but she also feeds the gang for the whole series. She loves to play the role of a perfect hostess and loves cooking for her friends. She is also very competitive, strong-willed and gutsy and something of a Girly Girl with a Tomboy Streak.
  • Kitty Forman in That '70s Show. It's so much that Eric and Red are helpless when she is angry with them and refuses to cook, leading them to eat processed simple foods like potato chips and pop tarts.
  • Debra of Everybody Loves Raymond; she's a traditional stay-at-home mom who happens to cook badly. It's probably not quite as bad as her mother-in-law makes it out to be, but it's pretty bad.
  • Former Borg drone Seven of Nine takes up cooking in the final season of Star Trek: Voyager as a symbol of her progression towards humanity. Captain Janeway on the other hand can never get the hang of her food replicator, even to make a decent cup of much-beloved coffee.
  • Zigzagged a little on Chef! (1993). Since it's a sitcom about a high-class restaurant, most of the characters, male or female, can cook, with the notable exception of Janice Blackstock, who is written as a perfectly feminine, albeit career-oriented, woman. But it's okay because she's married to the best chef in the world (just ask him). She manages the restaurant, and at no point is her inability to cook seen as negating her femininity (although Gareth makes fun of her for it once). The third season inverts this with the Rich Bitch character Renee, who loves the colour pink and is completely useless at cooking when introduced, although it's implied she gets better toward the end of the season. Prim and proper Lucinda and slightly masculine Savannah are both brilliant cooks.
  • Battlestar Galactica (2003): Starbuck can cook, as seen in "Daybreak".
  • Ria, in seventies Brit Com Butterflies. She's very feminine, alright. But an atrocious cook.
  • Lisa Douglas from Green Acres, a socialite who has never cooked a decent (or edible) meal, yet is oblivious to her lack of culinary prowess.
  • On one episode of Just Shoot Me!, Nina is asked to cook a meal for a congressman she's dating. (She was auditioning for a stuffing commercial, long story.) An aging former model who's never been in a kitchen in her adult life, she has to ask Maya for help over the phone. Maya has been seen hosting a dinner in at least one episode, and although no comments, good or bad, are ever made about her cooking, it can be assumed that she's at least a competent cook.
  • Played with in Firefly. In "Our Mrs. Reynolds", Mal's almost painfully submissive new wife Saffron turns out to be a fabulous cook. Zoe is not amused when Saffron suggests she cook for her husband, and is even less amused when Wash drools over Saffron's cooking. However, in "War Stories", a rather touching scene has Zoe cooking for Wash after he leads the charge to rescue Mal.
    "Mmmmmm. Wife soup."
  • In Legend of the Seeker, Cara is chopping wood while Kahlan gathers it, and she chides Zedd and Richard for fussing over the food while the women chop and gather wood. Zedd answers that on a team, every member of the team should perform according to their abilities... and considering Cara's last attempt at cooking, she should stick to chopping.
  • Used to a remarkable extent in Kyle XY, despite both parents working. During a period when the mother of the family Nicole isn't cooking the rest of them don't even seem to consider the possibility that maybe someone else could cook, subsisting on takeout food.
  • Peg Bundy from Married... with Children is a pretty decent cook; she just never actually wants to and is so lazy that a packet of Jiffy Pop (that expired 3 years prior) is what she uses to celebrate. On the odd occasion that she actually puts any effort into it, she cranks out some world-class meals.
  • Averted and lampshaded on Frasier. Daphne, the sweet, caring, maternal, capable, very feminine Heart is, surprisingly, such an appalling cook that the badness of her cooking and the repulsiveness of her recipes is a Running Gag and transcends mere badness and becomes a kind of awesomeness. However, Daphne believes she is this trope and is oblivious to her lack of talent until Niles, as part of an effort to prove how much he loves her, kicks off his list of her flaws with a gleeful "To be honest, I don't much care for your cooking. In fact, you can't cook at all." which strikes her dumb with astonishment. This could also be an American joke on British cuisine.
  • Ellie May of The Beverly Hillbillies may be as down-to-earth country as any of the Clampetts, but she can't cook for nuthin'.
  • In the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Mudd's Women", cooking is one skill that ought to be considered above looks.
    Eve: Is this the kind of wife you want, Ben? Not someone to help you, not a wife to cook and sew and cry and need, but this kind. Selfish, vain, useless. Is this what you really want?
  • Veronica Mars isn't traditionally feminine in her behavior (mostly just badass), and her cooking skills seem to be average for someone who often prepares dinner for herself and her dad. However, her friend Wallace suspects that deep down inside, there's a girl who's "just dying to bake [him] something". In a way, he's right - she later prepares packages of "spirit cookies" for him on game days. She does so anonymously until he catches her baking.
  • How I Met Your Mother:
    • Lily is the girly girl and feminine woman of the group. Some episodes mention that Lily is a great cook and bakes excellent cakes or cookies. For instance, she prepared the very delicious Thanksgiving dinner.
    • Sweet Baker Victoria, Ted's girlfriend, is a very pretty and sweet woman, and a professional baker who met Ted at one wedding. She often bakes cupcakes for Ted.
  • Cases of the 1st Department:
    • Subverted when major Kozak's daughter wants to appease her father (who got angry because of a clogged bathtub) by telling him she will cook schnitzels. He says ok and she says she's gonna download the recipe.
    • Captain Prazak's wife makes him a sandwich when he's called to a case in the middle of the night.
  • Marnie Madden from The Hour gets her own cooking show in the second series, where she acts as a stereotypical fifties wife. Shame her actual life is a bit more complicated.
  • Barney Fife of The Andy Griffith Show feels this way, and initially is dead set against Andy dating Helen Crump because she doesn't know how to cook very well. Andy, however, doesn't really care when she says she and any man she marries would have to make do with TV dinners. Barney is horrified, but all Andy says is that he likes TV dinners.
  • Averted in NCIS with Ziva David. No one would ever accuse her of being overly girly; a Mossad-trained assassin, accomplished field agent, and more often than not the toughest person in any room she happens to be in. And she has cooked on occasion for her friends and fellow agents, much to their delight. Abby Scuito is quoted as saying "Her cooking rocks!"
  • Schitt's Creek has Joceyln and Moira. The motherly Joceyln knows how to cook and bakes for people, but Moira used to pass off her housekeeper's enchiladas as her own cooking, a fact that is revealed when Moira borrows Joceyln's kitchen to make them. The show has a gender-flipped version later with their spouses. The lunkheaded but masculine Roland knows how to grill, but Johnny doesn't because he always hires a chef to do the grilling.
  • The Outpost: Averted. Though very feminine, Gwynn's a terrible cook. This isn't that surprising-as a noblewoman, she didn't have to learn.
  • Subverted on Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, where Michaela, a highly educated and competent doctor, cannot cook at all. This plays into a few different aspects of her personality, including the fact that she decided to become a Frontier Doctor rather than marry, after a childhood spent with a father who made her his protégé despite not being the son he wanted. While not masculine, Michaela is definitely more practical than the other women she interacts with, which translates into being less overtly feminine. Although even if she had married, it's implied it's unlikely she'd be expected to know how to cook anyway, as she was raised in privilege and this is another demonstration of her Fish out of Water experience on the frontier.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Traveller: In the Sword Worlds the "Hearthfire" is a sacred Archetype and a symbol of security and domesticity. A proud male warrior or worker "guards" the Hearthfire, but his wife Tends it. In a way, they hold this to mean she is a quasi-priestess merely by being a woman.

  • In Of Thee I Sing, Wintergreen isn't too keen on marrying Diana Devereaux or any of the other Beauty Contest girls, since he doubts their ability to cook: "Why, the average girl today can't cook—she can't even broil an egg." Mary insists that she can cook, and introduces him to her corn muffins, which go Through His Stomach straight to his heart.
  • In On the Town, Hildy claims she can cook, but the bill of fare she presents to Chip consists of Double Entendres served up in a List Song. She does, with great effort, manage to prepare one specialty: a peeled banana.
  • In The Golden Apple, Miss Minerva bakes a seven-layer cake for the fair "just to prove I'm feminine." But Lovey Mars takes along her mincemeat pie and Mrs. Juniper brings her prize-winning angel food cake. And then old Mother Hare appears and offers her Apple of Discord to the most feminine of them all, for confectionery values of femininity.
  • Implied/Downplayed in the female version of The Odd Couple. Florence (genderbent Felix) is a prissy former housewife who loves cooking, prides herself on her cooking, and is noted for her cooking skills. Olive (genderbent Oscar), meanwhile, is a sport-loving career lady (this version of the play's set in the mid-1980s) who late in the second act doesn't remember or even look to remove Florence's roast capon from the oven before it burns up past being saveable.

    Video Games 
  • Tales Series:
    • Tales of Symphonia:
      • Raine Sage is a teacher, the sole parental figure for her kid brother, and a notoriously bad cook.
      • Subversion with Sheena who is one of the best cooks the party has, especially regarding familial recipes (she gets this as a title: "the culinary master who raised home-style cooking to the highest level"), yet she's a Tsundere tomboyish Action Girl. However, the deviation from the trope is lampshaded in one scene where Handsome Lech Zelos calls her on it:
      Sheena: Oh, well. It's fun to cook every now and then. I wouldn't want to get out of practice.
      Zelos: Oh, Sheena, what does that mean? You practicing your cooking for when you get married? I didn't expect to hear that from you of all people!
      Sheena:, it's not that! Sheesh!
      • It turns out that in the sequel, Dawn of the New World, Marta can't cook either. In fact, when Sheena joins the party, a skit shows Emil crying from happiness because he never found a woman who could cook before Sheena.
    • Emil is a wonderful cook (and has a habit of sculpting food into intricate shapes), and he's easily the most (or second most, after Colette) effeminate character in the game. Partly subverted, since Ratatosk Emil cooks just as well (though his food looks worse).
      • In the first Tales of Symphonia, there is actually a skit that lampshades the aversion. Lloyd notices that Regal is a vastly superior cook to Raine, and Regal says that more men are good at cooking because of their physical strength. In the same skit, he says women are more equipped to fighting.
    • This is a habit in the Tales series. The main character is always good at cooking. The main heroine is almost always a bad cook. Then the second woman in the party (like Sheena) is either good at cooking, or neutral. It's usually done to get some laughs at how bad the heroine's cooking is.
    • In Tales of the Abyss, this trope is tendency is played around with. Luke is a mediocre to bad cook with a somewhat exotic taste, while Tear (the main heroine) is a good cook (albeit she cooks roughly like a guy would as she was taught by her brother Van). Anise is the best cook in the game and is the second woman to join you. Natalia, meanwhile, is quite possibly the worst cook in the party, as there is a skit in which she tries to heal a burning soup and she repeatedly burns her dishes beyond recognition. Asch is noted to be a surprisingly good chef, in contrast to Luke.
    • In Tales of Phantasia, the heroine Mint is a wonderful cook and quite praised for her skills. Arche, on the other hand, has made people faint with her cooking in multiple games. The main girl of Tales of Eternia is also a wonderful cook, though she's not quite as feminine as Mint.
    • In Tales of Graces Cheria is the one usually cooking for the group and is the most feminine party member, often lampshaded as the Team Mom.
    • In Tales of Legendia has Mimi the source of the recipes in the game.
  • Depending on the player, in Mass Effect 3's Citadel DLC a female Shepard romancing Kaidan can either avert this trope or play it straight depending on a dialogue choice made when Kaidan cooks for her (Shepard being a textbook Action Girl).
  • Metal Gear:
    • Played straight in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. Sunny is taught how to cook by Naomi, and it eventually becomes a plot point. Sunny uses Raiden to deliver a coded culinary message indicating she'd attacked the Patriots.
    • Exaggerated by Rose in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, who is the perfect girlfriend, but a terrible cook. However, she's a Patriot spy who modified her personality to fit Raiden's profile of the ideal woman, and her bad cooking is the one chink in her armour.
  • The Persona series plays with this in various ways, though a general rule of thumb is that the more traditionally "feminine" heroines are terrible chefs, while less "feminine" women tend to be at least competent.
    • Inverted in Persona 2; it's mentioned that compassionate and almost motherly Maya Amano is nonetheless incompetent at cooking, to the point that she'll eat nothing but canned crab every night if left to her own devices. Fortunately, her alcoholic boxer roommate Ulala Serizawa is a pretty capable cook.
    • Discussed in Persona 3; Fuuka Yamagishi, despite her gentle and supportive personality, perceives herself to lack femininity due to her talent at tinkering with computers and electronics, and wants to learn how to cook to make up for it. Unfortunately, her cooking is quite awful. However, the trope is played straight by Yukari Takeba and Persona 3 Portable's female protagonist, though the latter is more of a Tomboy with a Girly Streak; Portable's protagonist is such a Supreme Chef that she can actually teach Fuuka how to cook properly.
    • Persona 4 is a notable aversion; the two traditionally feminine girls Yukiko Amagi and Rise Kujikawa can't cook at all (well, Rise isn't unskilled, but her food's only edible if you're a fire eater like her). That said, the more tomboyish Chie Satonaka, who is insecure about her femininity, is an even worse chef than them. Just to give an idea of how bad these three are - when they gave Nanako (The Hero's cousin) cooking suggestions on how to make chocolate (telling her to put coffee, spices, and fish), they ended up by proxy creating an Eldritch Abomination!! The MC is immediately hit with the Fear status effect as a result! In contrast, Bifauxnen detective Naoto Shirogane is a competent cook, though it's mostly because she's actually capable of following cooking instructions. At the end, Yukiko, Rise, and Chie are only able to bake an edible cake by getting the help of Naoto, and Naoto notes that it still took them three tries. It's also implied highly feminine Ai cannot cook either when she remarks that it would be nice to end up with a guy who can cook after eating food prepared by The Hero.
    • Persona 5 doesn't really address this like prior games do, but it's noted that, in her confidant, Makoto (who is somewhat tomboyish, but also demure) can generally cook well, mostly because her workaholic sister and caretaker Sae infrequently comes home. Dummied Out dialogue suggests that the girly Ann cannot cook at all, and all that Futaba knows how to make is instant noodles. The delicate Haru doesn't know how to fully cook at present, but she's fantastic at harvesting vegetables and wants to learn how to cook in the future, what with her aspiration to open her own organic-friendly cafe. Sojiro Sakura, on the other hand, is a firm proponent of Real Men Cook, although we don't see him cook anything other than a curry that his old flame Wakaba perfected and carefully-crafted cups of coffee. The protagonist can learn how to make both from him...and only both of those things.
  • Harvest Moon:
  • Living up to her first name, Flora Reinhold of the Professor Layton series is about as feminine as you can get: always wearing dresses, being polite and soft-spoken, and being a Damsel in Distress at one point. And, according to the games' ending credits, she cannot cook but seems to like to anyway.
  • Rune Factory Oceans:
    • You start the game as the male protagonist Aden but have the choice of switching to the female protagonist Sonja once you've restored her body. Sonja will inherit all of Adel's skills with the exception of cooking, which will automatically be bumped up to 40 if Aden had any less than that.
    • Inverted with Lily and Odette. The former is the most feminine out of the three sisters, but she is a horrendously bad cook that can easily cause fainting spells and uses things like recovery potions in her dishes. Her younger sister Odette is more tomboy-ish, but the best at cooking and is even the main chef of their inn.
  • Fire Emblem: Awakening:
    • Sumia is very girlish and tries to use her cooking to win over Chrom's affections. She also attempts to help Gaius gather good ingredients, with disastrous results. Some of Sumia's Event Tiles conversations have her saying she has made lunch for any of her love interests... and that she tripped over the lunchbox. Twice.
    • Noire, the Shrinking Violet archer with a Split Personality, is very girly as well and she's great at baking.
    • Lissa is a Tomboy Princess who tries to bake for Kellam. She fails. She also attempts to cook for the aforementioned Gaius, and that goes a little better... since this time he's watching over her and giving her cooking lessons.
    • Sully and her daughter Kjelle are the tomboys of the army... and neither can cook. Ironically, two of Sully's potential husbands/Kjelle's prospect dads are Gaius and Stahl, who are supreme chefs.
    • Olivia is rather feminine in looks and personality, and according to her supports with Kellam she's pretty good at making sweets. And she can be paired up with almost all the aforementioned guys.
  • Final Fantasy:
  • BlazBlue inverts this trope. Not only are some competent chefs actually reasonably manly men like Ragna, Jubei and Valkenhayn, but only three girls' culinary skills have been reliably measured. Litchi Faye-Ling is known to make some good meatbuns, as Taokaka can attest. Also, during The Wheel of Fortune, Tsubaki entertains the notion of inviting Jin over for some of Makoto's home-made stew, something she probably wouldn't consider if Makoto wasn't competent. The other girl in question is the more feminine Noel, whose skills speak for themselves.
  • In Dragon Age: Origins, one of the first things that Alistair asks Morrigan when she joins the party is whether or not she can cook. She can, but is rather irritated at being made the party cook. She's also the least feminine of the female party members. Alistair only asks her because his cooking would kill them.
  • Completely inverted in RPG Shooter: Starwish. It's guys who are great at cooking, not girls. Resident Supreme Chef is Johnny, and Deuce while far from Johnny's skills is pretty decent cook himself, and cooking is his hobby. Ginny is the only girl to actually make something edible, Tessa is figurative Lethal Chef, while Deadeye is literal Lethal Chef'' (one of her meals actually sent Ginny to hospital).
  • In Xenoblade Chronicles 2, the very feminine Pyra's unique field skill is cooking, a skill that her less feminine "sister" Mythra lacks. The similarly feminine Vess also cooks dumplings that are famously delicious even though they're the only thing she can cook. The tomboyish Mòrag, in contrast, is a self-admitted poor cook, though this seems to be more directly related to her experiences with combat; when she's tasked with gutting a fish, she gets the impression that it's trying to shame her with its gaze for stabbing it in the heart, so she leaves the task to Brighid instead.

    Visual Novels 
  • Played with Kotone in Cafe Enchante. While in the beginning, her coffee-making skills and cooking was mediocre, with practice, she is able to prepare coffee that the caffeine-loving Misyr enjoys and several dishes that Big Eater Ignis would always clean up.
  • Daughter for Dessert:
    • Downplayed with Amanda. She certainly knows her way around a kitchen, but that’s mainly due to her working in a diner.
    • Deconstructed with Lily. As she becomes more vulnerable, or more “feminine,” as it were, her cooking skills improve.
  • Lauren from Double Homework can learn to cook anything, sometimes with a minimum of “suitable” ingredients.
  • Fate/stay night:
    • Sakura learned to cook to appeal to Shirou. One of her primary goals seems to be to outdo him at cooking and she gets a little antsy if she fails. Her unpleasant backstory drove away most of her feminine traits, and also most of her human ones... But she's (a bit) better by the time the story starts. Except in Heaven's Feel where those quick flashes of insecurity or jealousy she had in the previous two routes, coupled with the shards of the corrupted Grail that Zouken's implanted into her, cause her to go insane (eventually). She recovered, fortunately. Interestingly enough, this actually originated as an Invoked Trope for her: she believed that being as close to a perfect House Wife would make her "worthy" of Shirou despite her internalized self-loathing over being Defiled Forever.
    • Saber takes the cake in terms of being successful in a "man's world" in addition to being one of the powerful characters in the series. It makes sense that she's doesn't know how to cook, in fact it would be more strange if she did know how to. As such she depends on Shirou to cook for her, made more noticeable by the fact that she's a Big Eater.
  • Arcueid from Tsukihime can count as a type 2 or arguably type 5. She is not brainless but she is an airhead due to her empirical ignorance about the modern world or the world in general. She also happens to be the strongest thing on the planet (ORT don't count). Regardless, she has perfectly good reasons why she can't cook and depends on her love interest Shiki to cook for her, who is not an amazing cook but is good enough. She probably enjoys the fact that he cooks for her more than the actual cooking themselves anyway.
  • Touko in Suika learned to cook specifically to appeal to Yoshikazu. Sayaka is also going for this and is apparently a competent cook, but Souji is just better.
  • Played with in Yuri Genre Visual Novel Akai Ito. The protagonist Kei is the most stereotypically feminine amongst the female cast, but her cooking can only be described as biohazard. The Lad-ette Sakuya usually ends up cooking for her.
  • And again its sequel Aoi Shiro. The Tomboy protagonist Syouko —the captain of the kendo team and the object of admiration of her underclassgirls— can cook as well as the very feminine Yasumi, who has a serious crush on her. Kind of making through-her-stomach strategy unviable.
  • Katawa Shoujo plays around with this:
    • Lilly Satou is an excellent cook and has been cooking for her older sister Akira since they were young. The thing is... Lilly has been completely blind since birth.
    • Hanako Ikezawa, Lilly's friend, is an interesting case. Main character Hisao finds her cooking to be very good, but Lilly mentions that Hanako likes to experiment, and says it in a way that implies some of those experiments produced unpleasant surprises.
    • Ironically, the best cook in the group is... the tomboyish Emi Ibarazaki. (Who likely learned from her very girly and beautiful mother, Meiko.) And the worst one is Shizune Hakamichi, the local Ms. Fanservice.
  • Subverted in CLANNAD. Tomboyish tsundere Kyou is a very good cook, while her Shrinking Violet twin sister Ryou is a Lethal Chef. Although this is hardly the only way in which the twins play with stereotypes, as Kyou's hair is long and Ryou's is short. Sanae Furukawa's bread is also horrible, but she's otherwise a very good cook, as are the other girls in the series.
  • Amnesia: Memories' fandisc Amnesia LATER: The feminine heroine does a lot of cooking in the various stories. Partly justified, as she lives alone and knowing how to cook is a worthy skill in such a case. In Ikki's story, he expresses amazement at how well she cooks and she admits that she kind of had to learn to cook for herself because her father was often going out on dates with various women.
  • Higurashi: When They Cry features Rena, Rika, Mion, and to a lesser extent Satoko, who are quite skilled in cooking. They all have their reasons though. The man of the group, on the other hand, is closer to a Lethal Chef when he tries to cook something more elaborate than instant noodles; Rena's father is also a dreadful cook, but he still tries. Actually, no man can cook in this series.
  • Subverted with Becca in Melody. When she cooks a meal for the protagonist to thank him for fixing her faucet, he notes that the meat must be overcooked.


    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Doug's best gal pal the tomboyish Patti was shown in one episode to not be a good cook, despite being The Ace in many other areas.
  • An episode of Kim Possible shows her as a disaster in the kitchen, getting by the end of the episode under the tutelage of her culinary genius sidekick Ron Stoppable.
  • Teen Titans:
    • Raven can't even cook pancakes.
    • Starfire's a straight example if you accept that Tamaranian cuisine is difficult for Earthlings to swallow at its best (unless you're Terra).
  • Total Drama: Lindsey averts this trope. While she is the most feminine of the girls in the original cast, her cooking skills lead to disastrous results.
  • In the episode "Johnny Daddy Day" from Johnny Test, it is shown that Johnny's super-busy working mom Lila and genius inventor sisters Mary and Susan have no experience in cooking whatsoever. They aren't even sure what a spatula is or does. Under the guidance of Johnny (who took a cooking class to get an easy A grade), they manage to make a meatloaf for Hugh for Father's Day, only for it to come alive and attack him.
    Mary and Susan: We... might have used too much DNA.
  • In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic Pinkie Pie and Sugar Belle are two of the girlier ponies, and Pinkie Pie is a sweet lover who works in Ponyville's cake shop, while Sugar Belle runs her very own bakery. Rarity, the girliest of ponies, has also been shown to be a decent cook.
    • On the flip side, tomboyish farm girl Applejack has proven to be good at cooking with her family's apples, which makes sense since that's one way her farm makes money.
  • Mrs Turner on The Fairly OddParents! apparently can't cook very well, having fed her family with live squid casserole, shoes, food items that have been so foul they started attacking the rest of the family...Cosmo also seems to imply that Wanda's cooking is bad as well.
  • Played very straight in Wild West C.O.W.-Boys of Moo Mesa. The tomboyish Cowlamity Kate is such a horrible cook that the others dread her recipe for rhubarb pie, while the more traditionally feminine Lilli Bovine's culinary skills are universally praised.
  • Claire from Trollhunters is able to whip up guacamole that impresses even Jim.
  • In Atomic Betty, Betty's grandmother is a Retired Badass and can't cook to save her life.
  • A running gag in The Simpsons is that Marge buys into this a lot, but is in fact a pretty bland cook. She claims her secret ingredient is salt and is flummoxed at the idea that a spice rack could hold as "many" as 8 spices, claiming some must be doubles and having never heard of oregano before.