Tuesday, May 22, 2007

More thoughts on the kitchen

In my last post, I mentioned that I'm not a natural cook. It's taken years for me to feel comfortable in the kitchen, but I keep reflecting on the past and I still marvel at how I somehow managed to grow up and learn all kinds of things except how to find my way around a kitchen. Well, I've been reading Plenty: One Man, One Woman and a Raucous Year of Eating Locally and one of the authors, Alisa Smith hit on something that I thought pertained to my recent thoughts.
Here's what she says, "...she had us wash dishes, vacuum, tidy, take out the garbage, clean the bathroom- but never peel potatoes, slice carrots, or knead dough...Wherever I go now, I am surrounded by women like me who did not learn the household arts. It may have been a feminist act by our mothers to save us from a life of drudgery..." Now, I don't think my mother did not teach me to cook because of some feminist rebellion. My sister and I just did the household work. I have certainly no gaps in my education when it comes to a clean house. Maybe my mom just preferred being in the kitchen alone. I really don't know. Sometimes, she would say that we needed to learn to cook, but it was always half-hearted and we never really took her that seriously. At least I didn't. I had more important things to accomplish. Somehow, I had gotten the idea that cooking skills were just not a priority. It wasn't political, but, I do live in a post-feminist world where pretty much any other skill is more praise-worthy than being a good cook, but I think the tide is slowly starting to change.

I do believe that there is something of a revival of the home arts today. Why would Martha Stewart be so popular? Why have the Food Network chefs become celebrities? Well, for one thing, they portray cooking as exciting and not as drudgery.

By the way, the orange cake was delicious!

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