Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Taste of Victory

When I was growing up, my mother refused to teach me and my sisters how to cook. She insisted that if we learned how to cook, particularly at a young age, we would grow up having to serve people and always at the stove. She said that if we focused on studying, we would make enough money one day to hire somebody to cook for us.

I appreciate her attempt at breaking down the notion that women are more than housewives, but I don't think she fully realized that not knowing how to cook for anybody else meant we also wouldn't know how to cook for ourselves. Fast forward to a decade or so later and there we were, not able to afford the chef she imagined us hiring and barely knowing how to boil water. I have often heard people express their surprise -- sometimes outright shock -- at the fact that three twenty-something Dominican women don't know how to cook.

In college, I became addicted to the Food Network, which simplified cooking for me. I got my hands on a few easy cookbooks and gave the recipes a shot. Most of these ended up failing miserably, but it made me more comfortable being in the kitchen. After a few years of doing that, the kitchen is now one of my favorite places. My cooking skills are still not the best, but I love finding recipes, putting all the ingredients together, and getting the instant gratification that comes from cooking a great meal. Baking, although more time consuming, is even more fun. There's nothing like the sweet taste of victory when you finally bite into the dessert you started hours earlier.

I guess you can say my mother's plan might have backfired a bit, but I don't think so. I think she just wanted us to figure out how to do it when we really needed the skill, not when we should have been focusing on our studies. But I certainly hope my sisters figure it out sooner rather than later or we're all doomed come holiday season.


KellieS said...

Hi, I wanted to introduce myself. I'm Kellie, a blogger over at womenslifelink.com. I'm actually working my way through the blogging women's directory in search of good blogs. I came across yours and really liked your "empowering women" crusade. I too feel that women need to first find out who they are and what they are supposed to be doing and take steps to get there.

I liked your article on your mom not teaching you to cook. That must have felt odd for you not to grow up with those needed skills. I taught and am still teaching my children to cook when I can get them to stay in the kitchen long enough to learn something. My son actually wants to be a chef.

Please stop by my site and take a peek around. Good luck with everything you are doing for women. I will be back.

sally said...

Thanks for stopping by Kellie! It's great that your son wants to be a chef. I love being in the kitchen, so I wonder if I had started earlier if I might have gone down that road myself.


I just finished reading Anthony Bourdain's book "Kitchen Confidential" and he's completely inspired me (and this post, of course!) to try more cooking for myself. I would, naturally, prefer having my own chef do it for me, but I think this will make me appreciate all the ingredients and time it takes into making a great meal. Infact, I'm going to cook salmon tonight!

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