The food that we concocted usually involved some sort of white sauce (powdered milk and flour)
and did not resemble any food that we ate in our home. The treadle sewing machines were impossible for a clumsy teen-ager to use.
I dreamt of walking down the Champs Elysées, writing a great work of Canadian fiction (mini Margaret Atwood complete with the curls) not of feeding a brood of children with wallpaper paste.
Years passed. I learned to prepare the fish, chicken and vegetables that I like to eat. My only child (she's 40+ and lives on her own) now prepares her own meals. My husband, forced into Woodworking and Power Mechanics, does not prepare meals. Like many men of his age, Monsieur grew up in a household where the breadwinner and housewife functions were clearly differentiated.
Cooking can be an enjoyable hobby where one combines ingredients to prepare a new or a favourite dish. Or it can be drudgery...It can be meditative or creative or it can be a chore.
Since I have returned to work, I find meal planning and preparation a nuisance. I am capable of cooking a simple, healthy meal...but do I want to? Monsieur is home with Tilde every day yet how often I hear the question"What's for dinner?"
|tasty but not worth $11|
This week, I tried a food service and after two meals, I'm ready to call it an unsatisfactory, expensive failure. The ingredients for three meals (that I selected) arrived in an insulated box. The recipes were included. The cost (although I got a discount for the first week) is approximately $11.00 a person and the packaging is not environmentally friendly.
Our first meal was spaghetti with meat sauce. Monsieur remarked that my sauce was better. I use ground turkey rather than ground beef. Truthfully, sometimes I use the vegetarian substitute. The sauce was "too meaty" for Monsieur.
Our second meal was couscous with slices of sautéed chicken breasts with mushroom sauce. I had to slice the mushrooms and the chicken breasts so there was no time saving. Monsieur remarked "too much chicken" but I added some of the leftover chicken to my next day's salad.
Besides being expensive, the meals were larger than our typical servings. I was hoping that perhaps mon mari might feel inspired to cook but it's not likely. Monsieur is not very interested in food and favours 1950's British homestyle cooking (canned peas, corn or beans, potatoes/rice and meat).
When I am away from home, I live on "woman food". Fruit and yogurt for breakfast (very cheap in Mexico), occasional omelettes or scrambled eggs and salad with chicken or seafood. A quesadilla, some Oaxacan cheese melted in a tortilla is Mexican comfort food. Add quantities of wine (less than in earlier days) and that's my regime. Markets abound with fresh avocados, tomatoes, cucumbers and lettuce. Picking up groceries or popping into a inexpensive local restaurant is easy.
As I get older, I question how society has divided the tasks in a family. For the past 40 years, many women have held responsible jobs outside of the home. In my adult life, I have lived mostly in townhomes or apartments where "yard work" or exterior maintenance by the homeowner has been unnecessary. Meals, laundry and cleaning chores, however, are still with us on a regular basis.
Because of my conditioning, I feel responsible for these tasks although Monsieur would clean (some)
or do the laundry. Could I give up control?
Are there still "pink" and "blue" jobs in your family? Do you feel responsible for home keeping and meals? What role does upbringing play in changing or maintaining traditional roles?