My darling child, who, given the choice, would rather eat raisins than anything I cook for him.
I read this sensitive, intelligent piece last week by a woman who doesn't like to cook or, perhaps more accurately, doesn't like how cooking makes her feel, and it really stuck with me. What she wrote was funny and touching and and interesting, because it made me really stop and think about how I feel about cooking and specifically how I feel about cooking for other people like my husband, my child or my friends these days. Like most of us here, I imagine, cooking is a pleasure for me, not a chore, so I feel differently than she does on a lot of the points. (As far as I understand, she doesn't have children to cook for, so writes more about her memories as the child of a mother who felt obligated to cook and slightly oppressed by it.) But the truth is that in my current role as the resident cook for a picky toddler and a man who really doesn't have the time to share the chore, I have recently found myself having more moments of resentment about cooking each week and it was sort of eye-opening to read a daughter's perspective on the whole thing.
And because it seems to be in the zeitgeist right now, along came Virginia Heffernan's caustic piece on a similar subject, namely what to do if, in this day and age where the family dinner is held up as a glowing signpost of successful motherhood, you simply hate to cook. I say caustic because it felt sort of gratuitously cruel towards the writers and books it was skewering, as if it was easier for her to accuse these women of sanctimony instead of just accepting that she just doesn't dig the same things they do and that that's okay. I found myself rolling my eyes at her, even though the previous article really touched me, and I guess I wonder what that's about. Why did one piece strike such a chord with me and the other piece seem so curmudgeonly? She does also make some good points and, as the comments show, her feelings really resonate with a lot of people.
Have you read the pieces? Did you have a strong reaction to either? I would absolutely love to know what you think, not just on the pieces, but on the subject of the duty of cooking in general, especially if you happen to be the cook in the family.
Happily, I'm abandoning my cooking duties this weekend and spending a few days with a couple of my best friends in town for the book fair. Oh man, girlfriends make the world go round. I can't wait.
But before I go, one more thing. Max introduced me to the band London Grammar a couple weeks ago (Max is my music guru - if I lived alone I'd just listen to the same three classical CDs plus The Weavers because Pete Seeger's voice completes me) and I kind of can't get enough of it, especially this song:
I hope you have a great weekend, folks.