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Busboy

"The Woman Who Couldn't Boil Water"

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From The Washington Post Magazine:

LOTS OF PEOPLE DON'T COOK. They haven't learned yet, or they've cooked for their growing family but don't bother after the children are gone. They may eventually cook, or they may have once cooked, or they may cook only Sunday breakfast or company dinners.

But Francine never truly cooked -- not even when her children were young, not even when the housekeeper had the day off. And, nowadays, the only thing you could call a dish that she prepares is her annual kugel, made with noodles, raisins and pineapple, which she learned from her mother, Lily Gordon, and makes only for her Christmas party. She hates making it, but she bites the bullet and produces enough for 100 people because "I don't want it all to look so sterile." Even Francine admits, "It looks nice to have something homemade."

Phyllis is back. For now.


Edited by Busboy (log)

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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"Asked about other traditional women's hobbies, she laughs at the idea of her doing knitting or pottery. She's more the rollerblading or horseback-riding type. And she thrives on running things. She was president of the Metropolitan Police Boys and Girls Club for three years and is now on the board. She opened a lingerie shop and ran it for nine years. She co-founded the first women's bank of Maryland, serves on the Woodrow Wilson Council, chairs the board of Women of Washington. Somewhere along the way she went to acting school. Now she is co-authoring a book on female celebrities."

But can she type [cook]?

What an utterly obnoxious article.

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She gets up at 4:30 to exercise and doesn't eat until noon?

Let this woman bask in her popular-culture-induced food pathologies without her financial safety net and she'd starve real soon. The Washington Post should be censured for allowing this tripe on their pages.


I always attempt to have the ratio of my intelligence to weight ratio be greater than one. But, I am from the midwest. I am sure you can now understand my life's conundrum.

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Okay, this could be off-topic, but doesn't this nullify everything women's movement stands for. Why is this article even written?


Ya-Roo Yang aka "Bond Girl"

The Adventures of Bond Girl

I don't ask for much, but whatever you do give me, make it of the highest quality.

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Okay, this could be off-topic, but doesn't this nullify everything women's movement stands for.  Why is this article even written?

Elaborate, please.


I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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The Washington Post should be censured for allowing this tripe on their pages.

Sheesh! Censured by who, and for what reason? For pointing out that there are people who almost never cook?


"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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Okay, this could be off-topic, but doesn't this nullify everything women's movement stands for.  Why is this article even written?

Well, maybe if the article took an antagonistic stance on the issue of non-cooking types it could be so interpreted. But reading the article a second time just now, it doesn't seem at all antagonistic, just pointing out --without making any value judgement one way or the other -- the massive change that has occurred, where fewer people are cooking their own food, and some people essentially never cooking their own food.


"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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She may not be able to boil water, but she sounds pretty cool to me. Probably a great guest at dinner parties, and I'd be happy to cook for her.

The only other person I've ever known who really simply didn't cook was the woman from whom we bought our house. A pretty young mother of two young boys, worked full-time (very full-time, an executive), married to a nice guy who traveled a lot for work. The closest she came to cooking was microwaving frozen mac'n'cheese for her kids.

One of the nicest people I've ever met. After the closing on the house sale she had as all over for brunch, inviting our new neighbors as well. All of the food brought in, but it was certainly as good I'd generally expect to find at brunch at my friends' homes, much less a complete stranger's.


Can you pee in the ocean?

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I actually went through a several-year hiatus on cooking. I was living alone, the teenage kids were living with the ex and his wife. I was traveling ferociously. I was at a place in my career where it was all consuming. I didn't have room in my life to sustain another interest, or a pantry. I did a financial analysis and I was spending too much money trying to cook. When that unexpected trip gets extended for a week, that stuff you bought has to be thrown out.

Oh . . . I might help with a holiday dinner at my sister's or mom's house. But my housekeeper used to laugh about having to dust the stove. If friends had me over for dinner, I reciprocated by taking them out. Lunch was my main meal. I snacked for dinner, fruit, cheese or whatever. I might nuke a Lean Cuisine in an emergency. Breakfast on weekends was a bagel and cream cheese or kolaches from the kolache shop. It is doable and if you are careful, doable healthy. I really didn't miss cooking during that period.

Then my son moved back in to finish college. We sold the condo, bought the house, and I started cooking again. The best part of the scenario was that, having spent the time securing my career, I could now go nuts buying toys to cook with. Getting back into it was sort of like riding a bicycle. Granted, I was shaky at first on some of the trickier techniques like a dark roux, but I was soon back in form. It didn't hurt that my son likes to cook and he has plenty of bottomless pit friends that like to eat.

I can see the point of the article.


Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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Interesting. Prior to 11/04, I never cooked. I didn't know how. I had no interest in learning. I had my "go-to" restaurants in the city. I , however, knew that water was boiling when it started to bubble vigorously. I had recently moved, got sick, had no groceries(fruits and stuff) or leftovers, didn't eat pizza or dry cereal, didn't know about the quality of food in my new neighbourhood, almost died - not from what was ailing me but from hunger. I made a pact with myself that I would learn how to cook once and for all even if I dont do it everyday. It is a necessary "skill". When I started, it all tasted so foul (worst than my first attempt some years ago when I became a fitness junkie). I didn't have salt. That's how I found this board. I was looking to find out which salt to buy because I had gone to the supermarket and they had tons of different types. I do much better now. I just got my first oven burn on my pretty little wrists, I didn't even freak. I was so proud of it, I called my mother to tell her. She still doesn't know that I finally decided to learn(she thought I was fooling around with the stove). I hope to surprise her one of these days. But, learning to cook especially if you don't have a knack for it is intimidating as hell! Maybe it is for other people too - like that lady. Who knows!


Edited by Cala Massey (log)

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I can see the point of the article.

Can you share it with us? I'm not being facetious. I really do not see the point of the article. She has introduced us to a very accomplished woman who cannot/does not like to/want to cook. And she keeps telling us the same thing again and again and again and again, in various different guises .... But her point? Really, I don't see one.

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Well, while I wouldn't say that the article is all that well written, I can see the premise of taking a peek into someone's lifestyle that may not be all that familiar to the readership. The fascinating thing about people, and the reason that articles like this get published, is that we can be so different. That is the point that I see.

I don't find it odd at all that most folks on this site can't imagine living like that and might disparage the lifestyle. But, I can relate. I may have some problems relating to folks that make NAASCAR or Harley Davidsons the main focus of their life. But I do have acquaintenances that work hard at the tailgating menu for a race or cruise on their hogs looking for good eats. Folks don't have to have all of the same interests for me to find them interesting. Like therese said, the lady would probably make a great guest for a dinner party.


Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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The fascinating thing about people, and the reason that articles like this get published, is that we can be so different. That is the point that I see. ... Like therese said, the lady would probably make a great guest for a dinner party.

Yes, that is true. Thanks. The article really pissed me off at first. :wacko:

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The article seemed to be a profile on a soulless human being. :sad:


peak performance is predicated on proper pan preparation...

-- A.B.

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The article seemed to be a profile on a soulless human being.  :sad:

That's how it struck me too. But that's not really fair, she's just not interested in food and I have no frame of reference for someone like that. Doesn't she always order the same thing in restaurants?

I think her obsession with staying slim (mentioned in the article) might have a lot to do with her lack of interest in cooking.


Edited by hjshorter (log)

Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

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When I started, it all tasted so foul (worst than my first attempt some years ago when I became a fitness junkie). I didn't have salt. That's how I found this board. I was looking to find out which salt to buy because I had gone to the supermarket and they had tons of different types.

So, what kind of salt did you get? :raz:

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The article seemed to be a profile on a soulless human being.  :sad:

Soulless? Where does that come from?

Really, I think such responses are interesting. Maybe the most interesting thing about the article is that, since it doesn't seem to make any value judgements itself, the reader is left to do so him/herself. And since the most jarring thing about this woman seems to be that she does not cook, that is going to be the basis of our value judgements.

She seems to be portrayed as a very fortunate woman; she is successful in her business life, her family life, and her social life -- and these things are usually not accidents. So why soulless?

(Slow day at work today. :raz: )

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I can see the point of the article.

Can you share it with us? I'm not being facetious. I really do not see the point of the article. She has introduced us to a very accomplished woman who cannot/does not like to/want to cook. And she keeps telling us the same thing again and again and again and again, in various different guises .... But her point? Really, I don't see one.

Gosh, I thought the point was blindingly obvious -- that a major shift has occurred in domestic economics, that people need not ever cook for themselves if they don't want to, and apparently more and more people don't want to. Lily Gordon is the epitome of that trend. I thought the caption right under the title said it all: "Surveys tell us average Americans cook fewer meals every year. Say hello to the future." And I thought the following bit made the point obvious as well:

. . . Lily Gordon may simply have been a woman ahead of her time. Dollar burgers, rotisserie chickens, supermarket salad bars and frozen foods that stretch along three or four aisles have all weaned people from their home stoves. The U.S. Department of Agriculture found, in January 2000, that only 55 percent of American dinners at home included one or more homemade dishes. By 2003, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American woman spent 47 minutes a day on food preparation and cleanup, down from 2.3 hours for nonworking women and 1.2 hours for working women in 1965. (And don't think that men picked up the slack: In 2003, the average man spent just 15 minutes a day on those chores.)

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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When I started, it all tasted so foul (worst than my first attempt some years ago when I became a fitness junkie). I didn't have salt. That's how I found this board. I was looking to find out which salt to buy because I had gone to the supermarket and they had tons of different types.

So, what kind of salt did you get? :raz:

After hours of reading and indecison, I got three: Fleur de Sel(the brand at Williams Sonoma), Diamond Kosher, and fine-grain sea salt from Eden.

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Okay, this could be off-topic, but doesn't this nullify everything women's movement stands for.  Why is this article even written?

Elaborate, please.

To cook or not to cook is a personal choice. It really doesn't matter if you are a man or woman. Would the article be written if it's about a man who doesn't cook? Would it be published?

Just because cooking is traditionally a "woman's" role, a big hoopla is made of it. It's the sort of media perpetuated stereotype that I find very disturbing.


Ya-Roo Yang aka "Bond Girl"

The Adventures of Bond Girl

I don't ask for much, but whatever you do give me, make it of the highest quality.

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I thought it boded weird for the vegetarian daughter wanting to cook the Thanksgiving dinner :biggrin::biggrin::biggrin:

Please don't shoot me. I realize vegetarian Thanksgivings are acceptable to some folks. Just none of the ones I know.

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No, I didn't see that as her point at all. That seems to be an aside in the article, not the point. This woman's mother never cooked either, and that was a generation ago when most other mothers lived in their kitchens. As for the title (or subtitle) of the article, those are never written by the authors and are often (I'd even say usually) way off the point of the story -- they're written to get your attention.

To say that a shift has occurred in domestic economics is not exactly earthshattering news at this stage. Ten years ago it might have been a point worth making. But now?

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The article seemed to be a profile on a soulless human being.  :sad:

I couldn't agree with you more, but then again, it's not my choice to live like that.


Ya-Roo Yang aka "Bond Girl"

The Adventures of Bond Girl

I don't ask for much, but whatever you do give me, make it of the highest quality.

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The article seemed to be a profile on a soulless human being.  :sad:

Soulless? Where does that come from?

Really, I think such responses are interesting. Maybe the most interesting thing about the article is that, since it doesn't seem to make any value judgements itself, the reader is left to do so him/herself. And since the most jarring thing about this woman seems to be that she does not cook, that is going to be the basis of our value judgements.

She seems to be portrayed as a very fortunate woman; she is successful in her business life, her family life, and her social life -- and these things are usually not accidents. So why soulless?

(Slow day at work today. :raz: )

I'm not ready to call anybody soulless on the basis of one article. But, if you looked at her as someone apparently without any contemplative habits or hobbies, lacking physical skills or interests, who moves compulsively from through careers, social engagements, volunteer positions and shopping sprees, you'd be tempted to wonder if she was shallow and dissatisfied on a fundamental level. Oh, add in the diet obsession.

On the flip side, maybe she's a bright, driven and productive human being, too creative to be caught up in one thing for long.

Bit of a Rorscharch Test, eh?

Personally, I don't trust anyone who can't survive without domestic help.


I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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i am in the camp of not liking this article.

francine is just fine - so what if she doesn't cook? her family seems fine. she's a happy, lively person - so what if she doesn't eat until noon and works out at 4:30? she's an adult, and at least is neither imposing her terrible cooking on anyone - nor (and imo, more importantly) spending half her life at something she thinks is pointless.

the irritating thing about the article is that it never would have been written about someone of my generation - it's expected that younger people - weaned on packaged foods don't cook or don't cook as much as our mothers. but boy, that francine is a real enigma. let's hold her up to the light and see why she took the path less traveled.

how about talking instead about a woman who has long-term ties to the washington community - a woman who worked her whole life and still works but for whom family is the most important thing. why highlight the one thing about this interesting person that means absolutely nothing to her?

boo phyllis.


from overheard in new york:

Kid #1: Paper beats rock. BAM! Your rock is blowed up!

Kid #2: "Bam" doesn't blow up, "bam" makes it spicy. Now I got a SPICY ROCK! You can't defeat that!

--6 Train

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