From Anthony Bourdain's Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook:
[T]he idea that basic cooking skills are a virtue, that the ability to feed yourself and a few others with proficiency should be taught to every young man and woman as a fundamental skill, should become as vital to growing up as learning to wipe one’s own ass, cross the street by oneself, or be trusted with money.
Back in the dark ages, young women and girls were automatically segregated off to home-economics classes, where they were indoctrinated with the belief that cooking was one of the essential skill sets for responsible citizenry—or, more to the point, useful housewifery. When they began asking the obvious question—“Why me and not him?”—it signaled the beginning of the end of any institutionalized teaching of cooking skills. Women rejected the idea that they should be designated, simply by virtue of their gender, to perform what would be called, in a professional situation, service jobs, and rightly refused to submit. “Home ec” became the most glaring illustration of everything wrong with the gender politics of the time. Quickly identified as an instrument of subjugation, it became an instant anachronism. Knowing how to cook, or visibly enjoying it, became an embarrassment for an enlightened young woman, a reminder of prior servitude.
Males were hardly leaping to pick up the slack, as cooking had been so wrong-headedly portrayed as “for girls”—or, equally as bad, “for queers.”
What this meant, though, is that by the end of the ’60s, nobody was cooking. And soon, as Gordon Ramsay has pointed out rather less delicately a while back, no one even remembered how.
Maybe we missed an important moment in history there. When we finally closed down home ec, maybe we missed an opportunity. Instead of shutting down compulsory cooking classes for young women, maybe we would have been far better off simply demanding that the men learn how to cook, too.