Studies on aging tend to apply a traditional approach to gender roles. This is especially evident in studies of widowhood, as responses to this life transition tend to be shaped by gender. Studies on food and widowhood in old age suggest that men and women differ when it comes to food related life after the loss of a spouse. As the traditionalist story goes, men face practical challenges because they lack cooking skills whereas women face emotional challenges because they are no longer the food provider. However, this research often overlooks that married couples may have had non-traditional ways of dividing domestic household tasks, and that this division of labor is likely to have affected the way in which widows and widowers experience and handle food related challenges. Applying a life course perspective to 31 qualitative interviews, I show that the way older men and women adjust to food activities in widowhood is shaped by the way these activities were shared in their marriage rather than by gender per se.
Journal of Aging Studies, Volume 59, December 2021,