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.