When I was growing up, I used to hear about all my friends’ moms that cooked for the family at dinner time. This was a completely foreign concept for me because my mother rarely cooked. We used to joke that my mom was “allergic” to cooking, or at least that was what she said. My mom was a wizard at creating quick meals that did not involve pots and pans, they were called “reservations.” Sometimes it was a drive thru window. All in all, we did not starve. I can not tell you how many Kentucky Fried Chicken Snack Packs I had consumed before the age of 12.
I can remember being in the kitchen with my mother and placing myself between her and the stove. Since she was “allergic” to cooking, I did not want her to have some sort of ill reaction to coming into contact with any cooking devices, such as the stove. Conversely, she did not seem to have the same allergy to the toaster.
Now that I am married and a mom, I rarely cook either. I call it “assembling” a meal. This may involve a trip to the pre-made section at the grocery store that only requires me to remove a plastic wrapper and place it in the oven. Voila! Dinner is served. I am exceptional at take out! All I have to do is go home and put it on a plate. That is just how I roll!
I do have a great appreciation for those who can cook well. I rarely turn down an invitation for a home cooked meal, as long as it is not at my house. Besides, if I actually “cooked” a meal, you would probably not want to eat it. Just ask my husband.
When did it become the women’s role to do all of the cooking? I know, those “fantasy moms” on TV, June Clever and Donna Reed are responsible for this! Did you ever see a stain on their aprons? I bet they also went to the store, bought pre-made meals and just plated them for the family. Conniving witches. These two made the rest of us look bad. I always wondered how these two women could wear such fancy clothes with pearls around their necks and not a have spot on them. I later realized it was because this was TV and not real life. Besides, I do not own an apron or a pearl necklace!
Before I married my husband, we discussed the cooking issue. I made it very clear that I do not cook and probably would not in the future. I do not mind simple things, but Baked Alaskan was not in my repertoire. It just seemed to me that it took so much time to create a home cooked meal that took less than five minutes to eat. It made no sense that you had to find a recipe, make a shopping list, actually get into the car and go to the store, then come home and spend, who knows how long, dirtying up the kitchen. And for what?
Several years after we were married, our daughter was born. When she was six months old and started to eat solid food, my husband attempted to have the “cooking” conversation with me again. Here we go! He thought it was time for ME to start cooking for her to have better quality food. I pointed out that we had already had this discussion years ago. His point was that now I had motivation to cook, as we were trying to give our kid healthy choices. She was getting healthy foods, I just was not cooking it. How did the fact that HE wanted someone to cook and I was supposed to be the one to do it? Why don’t YOU cook it? I will feed it to her.
At the time, I was working full time and my job required travel. The LAST thing I wanted to do when I got home was touch pots and pan to cook. Besides, don’t you get some kind of metal poisoning if you touch a pot or pan? I will have to locate the medical research on that point.
I tried to gently remind my husband that neither of us cooks well. OK, maybe not so gently, but he got the point.
How did it become the “gospel” that women were the ones to do all the cooking for the family? I blame traditional ideals that were impressed upon us as children. As a kid, I would ask adults how is it that most of the moms did the cooking? Responses included, “well, that is just how it is done” or “my mother always did all the cooking, so I just continued the tradition.”
Well, if you have read more than one of my stories, you know that I often “buck” tradition. First reason, most traditions that are “for women” make absolutely no sense to me. Second, did you ever notice that “tradition” always involved more work for women? Ladies, how did we let this happen?
Currently, I work from home. Somehow, my husband has translated this to mean that while he is “away” at work, that I am at home, sitting on the couch watching soap operas and eating chocolate covered strawberries all day. I assure you this is not the case. Even if I did do this, cooking would still not happen.
So, how to we solve this dilemma about cooking? Honestly, I really have no idea. I just wanted to see if anyone else out there was having the same quandary.
Now, each workday at 4:00pm, I start stressing out over what to have for dinner. I try to mix it up and sometimes “assemble” new meals. My same pattern continues with no end in sight. When I make the “big buck”, the first thing I am going to do is hire a cook!
For those women that love to cook, I say rock on! Just please do me a favor and not make the rest of use women looks so bad. It is embarrassing.