I very much enjoy cooking and entertaining for friends. When we have people over for dinner or cocktails and apps, or even when I bring cookies to a friend's house, my male friends typically thank me and eat what I've made, sometimes making a comment that they enjoy it. However the women almost inevitably react with a combination of fawning over the cooking process, telling me that I make them feel inferior, and/or attempting to one-up me or each other with stories about recipes they've made lately.
I really hate that reaction; it makes me feel uncomfortable and ruins the enjoyment I otherwise get from feeding people. Furthermore, I just don't get it. Why is the ability to cook somehow a measure of one's worth as a woman?
Perhaps my upbringing influences my attitude toward cooking and femininity: I was raised on lean cuisines as a child and learned to cook from working in restaurants and watching television. Furthermore, I am very career-oriented and cook in my free time the way that other people go to movies or museums. Perhaps other women feel the legacy of their mothers' culinary abilities looming over them. Insights here would be appreciated.
More than anything, I wish I could learn how to make my female friends relax and enjoy themselves when home-cooked food is involved. It's enough to make me want to take up welding instead.