Tuesday, March 5, 2013

I am, at best, a mediocre cook

You know, back when I was icing these cookies, I caught myself thinking "why does every mom think she has to make pretty cookies?"

Well, the truth is not every mom does. This is a goal I set for myself.

One of my favorite traditions growing up was making Christmas cookies with my mom. And maybe they wouldn't win any artistic awards, but they were cute.

The ones I make with Jena? Not so much.

I want to make Christmas cookies with my kid, and I want them to be cute. And that's the extent of my reasoning behind this goal.

But fast forward another month, to my blender mishap, and a similar thought came to mind.

Why does our society tell us that every woman is a good cook?
I started to write "should be", but that's not the case. Society teaches us that every woman is a good cook, thereby inflating the "failure" of those who are not good in the kitchen.

I know I said some of this in my earlier post, but I am re-stating it here.

I am not naturally talented in the kitchen. Not in the least.

But I manage. I can feed my family.

My husband is a far better cook than I. Far better.

And I am okay with not being a good cook.

But I am not okay with being looked down on because I am not a good cook.

Being a mom, does not suddenly endow a woman with the ability to create a delicious meal from scratch.

Walking down the aisle does not include with it the ability to create taste titillating meals on a regular basis.

Being born with a vagina does not mean that I have some innate ability to cook.

And to assume so is incredibly sexist.

I cannot think of a single person in my circle who would disagree that every one of us is born with different talents, abilities, gifts, skills.

And yet we expect women, without exception, to be good in the kitchen.

When it comes to my struggles in the kitchen I have been told I just need to work harder. I have been laughed at. I have been told that a monkey can follow a recipe. I have been mocked. I have been made fun of. I have been teased.

I have been made to feel stupid, inadequate, and lacking as a wife &  mother... as a woman... because I do not happen to possess this one particular skill.

And I am here to say that it needs to stop.

The truth is that we all have been born with different talents, different gifts. And thru our lives we develop different skills for different reasons.

And that's okay.
They are are valuable in their own right, and every person should be admired & respected for the things they can do, not mocked & ridiculed for what they can't.

And so I am here, saying loudly for all to hear, that I am, at best, a mediocre cook.

But I am an awesome wife. A fantastic mother. A woman with a bevy of other talents, skills, and abilities that serve me well.

Tonight I will feed my family a quick & easy meal. Perhaps some pre-packaged goodness. Or a crock pot dish. Or maybe my husband will cook tonight. And they will eat well. And we will be happy. Even though I can't cook.

As always, thanks for checking in!


'Yellow Rose' Jasmine said...

Amen to this post!
For me I will add that as a woman who IS good at most things that society says women should do well domestically, that doesn't mean I automatically also should have a brood of kids to go along with those skills. Yes, even though I spent 17 years working with kids...
As you say we all have different talents and skills and they should ALL be celebrated, just as most men are celebrated for their innate talents- no matter what they are.

areyoukiddingme said...

And yet, all the most celebrated chefs are men...funny how that works, isn't it?

I'm an excellent cook...when I feel like it. I can read a recipe, and come up with an idea of how it will taste. And because I am also a biochemist, I can follow the instructions properly and succeed. But my husband is a creative cook - he will put a bunch of things together in a pot and make things that are sometimes delicious and sometimes revolting. Gender has nothing to do with cooking ability.

Melissa said...

Oh, Jodi, I don't know the kind of people you been hanging around, but you need to stay away from them.

I never really got the idea that women are supposed to be good cooks. Maybe because two of my Aunts aren't good cooks, and never have been.
Maybe because I just don't give a darn what other people think.

Funny, I also thought getting married and starting my home would make me a good cook, like my Mom and Grannie.

I was wrong, but no body made fun of me or made me feel bad about it.

Turned out, my Mom and Grannie's weren't as great of Cooks as I'd always thought, either.
I seriously thought the things they cooked had been handed down through the family for generations.

Nope. Turned out they just read recipes.
My Grannie's Famous Banana Pudding was the recipe from the side of the Nilla Wafer box.

My Mom used to fix a Special Birthday Lasagna. Only on Birthdays, never any other day/occasion. When I got out on my own and wanted to cook my hubby a Special Birthday Lasagna, I called my Mom to tell me her Special Birthday Lasagna recipe. She said, it's on the side of the Lasagna noodle box.

Whaaaat? So much for special!

Oh, and just last year when I wanted to make some blackberry jelly, called up Mom to ask her how to make jelly: "Read the Sure-jell box".

I read the Sure-jell instructions, but not correctly, somehow. But amazingly the jelly turned out good anyway. Pure luck.

I'll never be a great cook, mostly because I don't love food that much. I eat to live, that's about it.
Except dessert. I like dessert, so I'm better at baking than cooking. But nothing fancy.

But some things I have been determined to master, like making Grannie's biscuits, milk gravy, and Canning.
It took me a long time, many years, of perseverance and practice and mess ups. Mainly it was just don't give up.

My son's fiancee' didn't inherit the "Cook Good" thing, either. She thinks I cook good, HA!

When she tells me she "can't" make something, I say oh honey, if I can, anyone can. If it's something you really want to be able to make, don't say "I can't", say "I can't yet" and keep trying.

I can't make cute, pretty cookies, either, but I wasn't really interested enough to keep trying to master it. If that's what you want to be able to master, then keep trying, practicing, and eventually, you will be able to.

I thought I couldn't make Grannie's biscuits, either, so I quit trying. But at some point (probably when my Mom moved to Florida) I decided I really wanted some of Grannie's biscuits, and knew there wasn't going to be one way I was getting any (ok, two, but I wasn't able to drive to Florida at that point). I made some messes, but finally I turned out a batch of biscuits that were dee-lish-us. After probably 20 years, I could finally make biscuits.

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