Raising Señorita: The kitchen trauma #2. Pleasing and Cooking.

I am really puzzled of how in my culture so much importance is place on a woman’s ability to cook… I am lying, I am not puzzled… A lot has to do with pleasing others and for me, the problem is how I learned this. If I ever loved the idea of being a good cook at some point in my life, that love was beaten out of me courtesy of my family.

I respect and adore my mother and my family. It hurts me to recognize they are so traditionalists and that they often place the value of the señoritas of the family in the wrong places. During my teenage years, more than once I was made feel less by family members simply because I did not know how to peel a plantain. Like my life depended on that! Like we were all gonna die because I did not peeled a plantain! Like I worked on a restaurant! More than once I was told I was useless (“tu no sirve pa’ na’ “) or uselessness predictions (“tu no va a servir pa’ na’ “) just based on my peeling food skills.

More than once I overheard judgments of the aunts… evil aunts talking about another unsuspecting and absent cousin… It seems like we were all being groomed to cook and please. The señoritas of my family were expected to cook and if we failed to know how to, both the mother of the young girl in question and the teen herself were mercilessly shamed and made fun of by the rest of the family. Male and female. The family dynamic was very poisonous and unhealthy. To me, since I hated cooking, it felt like a witch hunt and I was definitively a witch.

I learned to cook.

Personally I have nothing against learning things, let’s say, learning how to cook. I have nothing against cooking. What I resent is the meaning given by my family to the act of cooking: They turned a nurturing action into a sexist act, deviated from the fact that food is meant to nourish the human body.

Then, one day I kind of grew up. I was a señorita no more. For some reason the cook-food-plaser theory of my family did not worked. For some reason, every time I felt domestic and decided to cook dinner for some dude… it has happened that they were the least deserving and the ones I had to run away from at the fastest speed possible. I don’t cook for no one unless I really feel like cooking for both of us. I don’t cook to impress, to seduce or to prove my value or to gain someones grace. I cook only when I am hungry.

I guess I should feel like a hypocritical bitch for holding double standards but at this point in my life, I stress how a main can gain points when he cooks for me.

So, the moral of the story is that my family was wrong, I did not turned into a cook and I did not needed to rely on cooking to survive. I don’t even rely on food to please anyone. I feel kind of good because I think I have won by #1, proving my point that cooking for a male does not means fidelity, marriage, love or stability and that I will cook for a male just when I feel like it,,, and #2, my worth is not tied to my cooking skills and sorry tias, tios, aunts and uncles and family, most of you single, lonely, bitter and many times divorced, you were all wrong. You made me go trough culinary torture and humiliation without a reasonable reason.


Raising up La Señorita: The kitchen Trauma. Episode #1.

Lately I have being looking for the reasons of why I turned out into such a deviant and screwed adult. Naturally I will blame my parents. Most of all my mother for being there, for my father was a kind of imaginary figure (another reason to turned out to be kind of screwed).

So. I still remember vividly that conversation with my mother. I must have being around 12 or 13 years of age. Adolescence. Boiling hormones, defiance rising, sexuality rising. Expectations of life rising  as well as my family’s expectation of what I was supposed to be. Anyways… back to the conversation with the mother… I cannot recall the place or the context but there we were, dictator mother and me. Mami tells me: “Do you know why Antonio fell in love of me and has stayed with me?  Because I know how to cook. I cooked for him. He tested me. He asked me to cook him an Asopao (super tasty rice & chicken stew, one of the main Dominican dishes) but he requested that in order to test me, to know if I was a good cook. I showed him I could and I made a kick-ass Asopao. I proved him I can cook”.

Now, that was the only time those bizarre cautionary tales kept on coming from my mother. They kept coming back! She would be back to the attack and say things like: “You know fulanita?? Jose Doe tested her to see if she was a KEEPER. He made her cook X or Y dish and she did”.

I can recall those cautionary tales from my mother. I grow tense and angry when I think about it. Paradoxically, the tales ended having a moral quite distant for what mother intended to convey. So the ladies had to prove themselves as worthy mates trough proving they could cook some dish for a male that probably did not even deserved the effort on the first place. Culinary deliciousness for men ultimately for better or for worse ended up leaving.

I guess that is my kitchen trauma #1.

Thank you very much for reading and stay tuned for more.