I’m going to feel Deprived if my Husband doesn’t Cook

Pot roast

Pot roast (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m going to feel deprived if my husband doesn’t cook.  In my head is this fantasy that I have, and I just laughed as I wrote that, because in this fantasy my (future) husband likes to cook.  Steak.  Mashed potatoes.  Chicken.  Pot roast.  Tacos.  You get my drift.  Oh, but my future husband doesn’t mind baking, either.  Chocolate cake.  Brownies.  Cookies.  Banana nut Muffins.  I laugh to myself again.  You are probably laughing at me, too.  Or, perhaps you are outraged.  Actually, that is kind of the mood I am in.   I feel like pushing the envelope a bit.  I’m not outraged, but actually I just want to set gender expectations on their head.

So I was just eating dinner tonight and thinking about how I feel like a “bad” female, because honestly I don’t really like to cook.  I was always too busy reading to help my Mom in the kitchen, and she would have to push and prod me.  So, I really don’t know how to cook.  That is part of the problem.  Also, I hate dishes.  But, I have a dish washer now, so you ask what is my excuse?  Truth be told, my Mom even recently subscribed me to Rachel Ray’s magazine, but I find myself flipping through it thinking that certain foods look good, but then I stumble at the action point where I need to go out and buy the needed ingredients to make the meal.  My observation is that if you don’t have basic ingredients to start with, then your grocery bill can burst your budget and be a major detriment into your foray into cooking.

I fear my future husband will feel deprived with my lack of domesticity.  Here is what “gets me.”  Women are expected to work full-time.  Be thin (and I must say that the older I become, the harder that is, especially with the genetic predisposition of the women in my family).  Be beautiful.  Be sweet.  Love children.  Do the bulk (if not all) of the cleaning in your home.  And, finally, be a domestic “goddess.”  But what happens when you don’t wear the red polka-dot apron and make an amazing pot roast?

Society likes to play it both ways.  Women need to work outside the home, but they need to shine in the home sphere, too.  If you don’t, then you deprive your husband (thus goes the logic).  Your husband deserves a good home cooked meal.  And why would a woman want to “waste” a college education if she decides she wants to raise her children and stay at home?  Is that not a noble profession, or does she have to be climbing the corporate or academic ladder to get applauded?  I think many women get burned out running from full-time work to PTA meetings to kid’s soccer practice, and trying to be home in time to make a five course meal may be an unfair burden that society places on women.  Women can juggle many things successfully, but I think fairness and equality is a standard to be obtained in both the work and home sphere.  Why can’t husbands cook, too?  While I definitely will not feel deprived if my future husband doesn’t cook (FYI, I was just stirring the pot), I do hope that my husband will at least like to grill out, or he will enjoy cooking with me as we learn to cook together.  A girl can dream.

 

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Women, Cooking, and Body Image: A Slippery Slope

Sweet Corn

Sweet Corn (Photo credit: baysmom3)

Tonight I started pondering about women and body image after I looked up “how to cook sweet corn” on ehow, and then a bit after that I queried to find out how many calories a cob of corn had.  My patience was waning, and I quickly gave up on my caloric question when one promising website slowed me down by mentioning about  giving me a free subscription when all I wanted was to answer one simple question and get on to my cooking.  However, as I looked through my pots and pans repeatedly, it dawned on my that I did not have the big cooking pot that ehow said that I would need to cook sweet corn.  Quite disappointing, and since I just cook for one, perhaps that is the reason I never noticed my lack of a big pot before.  All was not lost, however, because I wondered super important questions such as, “why do I need THREE Pyrex casserole dishes?”, and I also found a hidden plastic bag for steaming vegetables in the microwave.  However, the microwave felt like cheating when I was actually planning to cook ON THE STOVE the sweet corn that I purchased recently for 25 cents an ear.

I wish I could honestly say that I am a cook like Rachel Ray, but the honest truth is that when I was young my mom would try to get me to help cook dinner, but I often had my nose stuck in a book and was disinterested in doing the whole cooking thing.   Fast forward to today, and while I can go through spurts with cooking, more often than not I find it tedious when cooking solo, and often I cannot afford the staple ingredients that cooking requires.  Food prices have skyrocketed, and I find myself substituting convenience for healthy.  Honestly, I wish my budget was not as tight as it is, but with student loan bills that seem like I will be paying off until I am 70 (yes, of course I am being melodramatic), I can wish for more income to purchase fruits, vegetables, and healthy foods with low sodium.

Avril Lavigne + Rachel Ray

Society should not pigeon-hole women into having to be a “good cook” in order to be a “good female” or a “good wife.”  The old saying goes “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”, but if that is true then I don’t really want to ponder about that.  Even in our progressive times, men are often seldom expected to cook for their wives (unless a grill is involved), but my step-dad cooks more often than my mom.  My mom is a decent to fair cook, but I have always thought it is great how her and my step-dad cook together or how sometimes he just cooks for her.  I like the idea of cooking together with a boyfriend or spouse.  It makes the whole cooking thing much more fun and is more egalitarian.

As far as body image goes, I must say that it completely FRUSTRATES me that the media and society tell women that they have to be stick thin in order to be considered attractive and beautiful.  That is one of the prime reasons that so many women struggle with eating disorders.  In the past week, I kept stumbling upon media that was harping on celebrity women who recently had a baby.  The articles were all centered around the women and their pregnancy weight that they have not lost, post-delivery.  The resulting message from the media seems to be that these women need to bounce right back to their previous lower weights, and they are viewed harshly if this is not the case.  I think that this is completely unfair.  Both society and the media in the United States unfairly thrust harmful expectations on women in terms of their weight and body image.  There is only one message that is heard loud and clear: to be beautiful means to be thin.  There are no exceptions.  These harsh expectations often cause women to struggle with low self-esteem and thoughts of only being valued for being thin or how they look in a bikini.

Finally, I want to end on a personal note.  Currently I am the heaviest weight that I have ever been, and it is a frustration for me.  I never struggled with my weight when I was younger nor did the whole diet thing.  Most of the women in my family (especially later in life) struggle with being overweight, and I have unhappily observed how I presently have a much harder time with my metabolism and losing weight than I did in my teens and twenties.  I have tried to make some lifestyle changes, but I know I need to do more.  Also, there are some sacrifices that I am not quite yet willing to make (i.e. giving up my soda- I seriously think that I could be addicted to the sugar and caffeine).  Regardless of society’s view of women’s body images and the resulting horrible pressure to be thin, I want to be happy with myself regardless of my weight while I work to be more fit and healthy.  Being healthy really is better than being thin, when you think about it.