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I can't cook.

I didn't make that post card, but I could have (well, I could have two years ago. I'm 40 now, going on 41). It appears on this week's PostSecret post, and I am horrified by how many people have already leapt up to say that looking down on people who can't cook is absolutely A-OK.

You know what? Fuck you, that's what.

As I said in the one non-judgmental thread, growing up, my Mom worked full time, and my Dad didn't cook. We had Stouffer's and Lean Cuisine for every meal. My Mom makes Lean Cuisine spaghetti for crying out loud. It wasn't until college that I even knew that not everyone lived like that. I thought making meals from scratch was something that only fake moms like Carol Brady and Shirley Partridge did. In college, I saw people making meals from ingredients and I was floored. I seriously didn't know that people really did that. Not on a daily basis, at any rate (my Mom could make a fancy recipe for a holiday dinner, but that was a Special Occasion).

So here I am, 20 years later. Yes, I can cook some things. I can do grilled cheese, and various egg things (scrambled, fried, et al). But if you gave me tomatoes and onions and a bunch of other similar ingredients, the only thing I could reliably create would be a sandwich of some sort. And I am beyond horrified that apparently that means I'm worthy of ridicule. I'm sure there are lots of people who don't know how to do certain things because they were never taught as children, whether cooking or sewing or whatever. But if there's one thing I've learned from everything I've read about being fat, it's that it's NEVER OK to judge somebody else for their food choices, and that you should NEVER allow anybody to do it to you.

So to everyone in that post who wants to judge others for eating processed foods: FUCK YOU.


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 30th, 2011 02:41 pm (UTC)
Yeah, internet, sorry that my single mother was presumably too exhausted all the time to cook properly herself, let alone teach me. She was kind of busy working and stuff, and I ate out of boxes and cans until I was in my late teens.

I did eventually teach myself to cook, but some basic things that people with parents who taught them how to cook and bake take for granted are all things that I had to learn as an adult.

Oh, and I still don't cook very much now, even though I like to. I have an average of three hours a night between when I get home from work and when I have to go to bed in order to get enough sleep. So while I don't eat out of boxes and cans, a lot of what I eat is thrown together—salads, yogurts, stir-fries, and so on—because I need those three hours to wind down, do more work, and so on.

Edited at 2011-10-30 02:43 pm (UTC)
Oct. 30th, 2011 03:04 pm (UTC)
Hope, I feel lucky that I can cook and that I had the necessary skills to cook when I left home. I'm not one to criticise people for not cooking or knowing how to cook. I've taught my fiance how to cook. I don't blame anyone for not knowing how to cook, cooking is NOT something that comes naturally to people either. Also, yes, cooking is work...especially since I'm a single mum and work as well. I'm lucky that I finish work early so I can take the time to cook because cooking can be time consuming.

I think I had the opposite reaction to most people that I was shocked by how many people don't cook. I think I always took it for granted that most parents cooked for their children. Actually, Hope, the majority of parents don't cook for their families any more...these days it seems like most parents both work and are exhausted maintaining a household, holding down a career and looking after family. Cooking from scratch is not high on their priority list. It isn't really surprising. For me, I would rather cook than clean house. I hate house keeping passionately.
Oct. 30th, 2011 03:30 pm (UTC)
Oh yes, Hope...I meant to mention I'm lucky that I have had a lot of "domestic skills" passed down to me. My mum taught me how to cast on, knit and purl and cast off for knitting...I taught myself everything else. I had sewing lessons when I was 12/13 one summer. I learnt how to economise and plan meals...but some of that is something that comes from my family coming from another country. My mum was born in poverty in the slums of Bradford during WW2 and rationing existed for YEARS after the war ended. My mum was never a career woman and when she did work, it was part time so she had time to do these things. I was the opposite to you when I went to Antioch, that I was surprised some people didn't know how to cook. Antioch was a real eye opener to me as well in a different way.
Oct. 30th, 2011 03:37 pm (UTC)
I don't know how to drive. I can barely swim (My family didn't go to pools very much, and I was never taught because I don't think my parents can swim. But, they had my brother take lessons as a kid. Not me. Whatever.) I get more crap for the swimming than the driving, but I still get surprised looks about the driving. I don't know how to crochet or knit, and I have no desire to learn.

I also cannot wear high heels and walk properly in them no matter how much I try, so I guess I'll never be a sexy ultra-female sex goddess.

I can cook, but it's a rare occasion when I make an entire meal from scratch. I have to be in the right mood. The idea of having and hosting a dinner party where I do all of the cooking causes a lot of anxiety for me. Some people just love doing that stuff, and that's cool, but it's not for me. When I have holiday dinners at my house, I do the potluck thing to minimize the stress.

Cooking for me is trial and error. I'm still learning how to work with meat properly (that doesn't help you, but it's frustrating to buy some expensive cut of meat and overcook it no matter how much you follow the suggested cooking directions). I have an electric oven, and apparently that's a big no-no in the foodie world. I'm sorry, assholes, but that's what I have and that's what I use to cook. I can't afford to have a gas line installed in the kitchen-thath-was-never-originally-a-kitchen in my 115yr old house, and I can't afford the fucking bazillion dollar top of the line ovens every foodie jerkoff says you MUST cook on.

Oct. 30th, 2011 03:56 pm (UTC)
If you ever decide that you want to learn to swim, I remember that the Oliver Bath House had Adult Learn To Swim classes. It was something like $30 individual/$50 family for the yearly pool passes -- not sure if the class cost anything on top of that, but I suspect it would be in the same price range if it does.

I know how to swim, ride a bike, and drive, but I learned all of those things later in life than the average bear (and all with no help -- and some hindrance -- from my parents, if memory serves). And from what I understand about high heels, it's all about practice. Buy an $8 pair at Payless and wear them around the house. If, you know, you have any inclination to do that sort of thing.

It's funny -- I can still remember the not being able to swim thing vividly. My first swimming memory is of being on vacation with my parents, and my Dad saying he was going to teach me to swim. I'm sure he was right there with his hands on or under me, but all I remember was the terror of feeling like I was alone and drowning. I was probably still a baby, or maybe a toddler. Then I remember summer camp, and that there were numbered groups around the pool. Group 1 was hold your breath for 10 seconds and open your eyes underwater. I could hold my breath but it took me for-fucking-ever to do the "how many fingers am I holding up?" thing. And you know what? I would NEVER ask anyone to do that. Chlorine in your eyes? Bah! Goggles, people!

I learned to ride a bike when I was around 12, and I got my drivers license when I was 23. My friend Brian learned how to drive maybe 5 years ago, when he was 35, give or take. And if you want to have LOTS of company in the "I'm over 30 and don't know how to drive" department, move to New York City!
Oct. 30th, 2011 04:06 pm (UTC)
Not being comfortable in water is what stopped me from learning how to scuba dive on our vacation in April. I do regret that. A lot of people told me it was nothing like swimming and that I should do it, but I didn't want to explain how I really didn't know how to swim at all and had extreme fears of deep water around a bunch of people who basically grew up with the ocean as their backyard.

I rode a bike all throughout my childhood and stopped during my teen years. You know how they say you never forget how to ride one? That isn't true! I picked a bike up at 19 when I lived in Highland Park with a boyfriend - we had plans to ride bikes around and do cute couple bike things - I couldn't stay on the damn thing. I was crashing and falling off constantly. It was very frustrating.
Oct. 30th, 2011 04:10 pm (UTC)
The heels thing: I wear chunky heels - you know, the ones that were popular in the 90's and came in awesome "Witch Boot" styles. I'm OK with those heels, but they're not really heels according to some. I've tried to learn how to walk in the "adult big girl heels", but it's so godawful and uncomfortable. I work on my feet all day, and I want to keep them comfortable. I'm tall anyway, I don't care about heels. But, I do feel...I don't know, "not feminine enough" if I go out to some social function and notice that every woman is wearing heels or "fuck me" pumps, and I have flats on. It's something I need to get over and accept about myself: I ain't no high heels girl.
Oct. 30th, 2011 04:16 pm (UTC)
I remember those "hippie witch" shoes with the utmost fondness.

For formal wear, I'm partial to the Earth Solar shoe. I actually really need a new pair -- I've worn mine to near-nubs. They may not be "adult big girl heels" but to me they're very European, and European trumps feminine anyday. In my book, at least.
Oct. 30th, 2011 05:17 pm (UTC)
I love the shoes you linked to. That's my kind of shoe!

I have a great pair of chunky heeled shoes with square toes. I've had them since 1998, and have taken care of them. I don't see shoes like that anymore. I call them my "Witch Shoes".

Back to cooking, even though I like to experiment and cook things when I'm in a good mood and I'm not exhausted from working all day, if I had it my way I would eat sandwiches all of the time.
Oct. 31st, 2011 06:39 pm (UTC)
I don't know how to drive either. I can't walk in heels either. I walk most places so to me, its pointless to spend money on shoes I can't walk in. I get weird looks when I say I don't know how to drive as well.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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