Saturday, June 28, 2008

Yes, I love to cook...so?

I intended to link to this post a long time ago. I kept putting it off until I decided it was too late to link to. But, something happened this afternoon that made me blog it (rant?) with a vengeance. I was at Alliance francaise. That's not unusual. But, someone I knew a long time ago came up to me and said hi. I was not exactly thrilled to see this person, but I said hello nevertheless. I was trying to fight tiredness and sleep, and get home soon, when she started talking.
"So, what did you do in France?", she asked.
I explained that I did my Masters in International Affairs. She rants for some time about being away for long, touring the world with her sailor-husband, and then asks me how I managed being a vegetarian.
"I cooked", I said.
She looked at me with stunned disbelief.
"You cooked?"
"Well, yes...I did."
"You still do?"
"Of course I do."
Then she launches into this tirade about how women are forced to cook for their gluttunous husbands and how they normally hate the job. She then looks at me, and in a rather patronising voice states,
"I think you should refuse to do such nonsense. You are a post-graduate after all."
Eh? Pardon me if I am being ignorant, but just what does being a post-graduate have to do with cooking. What irked me even more was that she cloaked her general inability/unwillingness to cook in the garb of feminism and free will. I have said it before and will say it again. I am not a feminist if this is what feminism means. I believe in equality of the sexes but that's it. And yes, surprising as it may seem, I actually like cooking. Just as I like teaching, listening to music or reading. It's a hobby, a passionate interst and an essential survival tool.

Nita talks about the devaluation of cooking, and I see it happening everywhere. Today's incident reminded me that cooking is not just devalued but actively scorned and criticised as useless and as a waste of time. I disagree. Cooking can be therapeutic for someone who likes to do it. There is nothing more satisfying that a well-cooked meal. To me, it is a labour of love. I don't cook for every passer-by. I only cook for those I love. And if I have cooked for any of you at any point in life, it probably means we share a lasting friendship, at the least. Lastly, I cook. But that does not mean I am incapable of doing other things. Conversely, the fact that I am capable of doing other things does not render my ability to cook meaningless. I love to cook. Period.

8 comments:

Ms Cris said...

Before I talk about cooking, let me say you write beautifully :-)

Ok now about what you wrote! One more I-share-your-thought here cause I too am an equalist (am sure there is no such word, but you get the point :D) and not a feminist.

But I cannot share your interest in cooking. When people press me to try it, I say I am not interested and end the matter there. But it only had to do with my non-interest! I am surprised people find cooking demeaning for a post graduate!

Cooking is esentially an art and like all arts, it takes an artist to do it well. I watch my mother in admiration when she is at it.

I only hate the part when people give me hours of lecture on why girls should learn cooking. If one word in that line changed so it read 'why humans should learn to cook', it would have made so much more sense. Not that it would still spring an interest in me.

But you are right. It is a need more than an art sometimes. Well for survival, I know bread n jam, Magi and lime juice. I will live (yeah right!)
Hope you'd cook me something some day! I could use some long lasting friendship :-)

Ms Cris said...

Hey I mentioned your blog in my blog for book and blog reviews; in case you want to take a look - here!

Keep writing :-)

Amrutha said...

Thanks Ms. Cris. I completely understand. I hate needlework too. And I was never forced to do it, because I studied in a co-ed school and somehow got myself into non-craft activities. Being forced to do something you hate is always unpleasant....cooking or others...

PS: I would love to cook for you if I ever get the opportunity... :-) And thanks again for reviewing my blog. It was very encouraging...

Nita writes said...

Amri,

I guess you just can't understand some people... can I just say; that I'm a post-graduate too... live in a foreign country where red-meat is sold in plenty; but despite being a white-meat eater and randomly adjusting of the eating lifestyle here in Australia, I don't cook much because...I'M PLAIN LAZY. Being educated has absolutely nothing to do with it and frankly the ones who talk about cooking being demeaning and not in line with what "Post-graduates" do are the ones who're badly in need of some basic education.

I did like needle-work and I still do, LOL and if my migraines weren't an issue, I'd still pursue it.

By the way, what will you cook for me when I come down in December ? ;-)

Nithin Rajan said...

Came here from Cris' blog. Great posts:)

Amrutha said...

Nita: I will cook anything you want me to...that's vegetarian. And I KNOW you're lazy. You don't have to remind me... :-P

Nitin: Thank you so much. :-)

@lankr1ta said...

Cooking is a skill- and a value add if you have it. Like Math, science, an engineering degree- its a plus.

I have a Bachelors in Science, an MBA, a Masters in HR and am working for a Phd- and I cook well, also knit, sew, crochet and keep a good house- just ads to the list of things I can do- anyone who devalues it, is well, very very confused.

Next they will say that cleaning is demeaning-

Indian Home Maker said...

Cooking is a useful skill, and quite an art and passion for those who love cooking. I love finding healthier ways to cook most of our daily meals...less oil, more whole grains and sprouts, more greens...and still tasty. (I am a veg too) I haven't yet faced the kind of reaction you did, at least not for cooking - but for being a homemaker. "You are working or do you just sit at home?" and "How do you pass your time?" I just think I am very lucky to be able to do what I like to do.