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"The Woman Who Couldn't Boil Water"


Busboy
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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.

I understand your point here.

It's the same point that the Father's Day Committee (an African-American charitable organization in Philadelphia) addresses with its annual fundraiser called "Real Men Cook."

But after reading the article, the only transgression I can detect on Phyllis Richman's part is focusing on a woman who, contrary to what was said upthread, epitomizes so many of the things the women's movement fought for.

The time she might otherwise have spent over the stove she has spent instead on pursuing a successful career, indulging her other passions, and raising a modern family all the same.

Had Ms. Richman found a man who didn't cook at all, nobody would have found that out of the ordinary. (The only cooking-related activity that is usually associated with men is outdoor grilling/barbecuing.) To find a person who could stand in for a cultural trend, she could not help but focus on a woman.

We may want to resist stereotypes, but we can't ignore the statistics either. Even with people like me and all the other male eGulleteers who cook for fun, not for a living, around, domestic cookery is still a female-dominated arena, as the e-mails I get from various food manufacturers whose lists I joined make all too plain.

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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She's about 62, around my mother's age. I'm 35 so I suppose I could be an older woman to someone like Ling.  :hmmm:

Whew -- thought you'd say something like 40 or 45 ... :wink:

It's fun to bring in baked goods to the office... the relaxed people dig in and enjoy the hell outta them, and the foodphobics start fussing and fretting as if there were a rat in the office kitchen (don't let that stuff near me!)

I'm sorry, it's cruel, but it's a hoot.

Oh yeah -- like one piece of cake is going to cause seizures.

There is a scene in The Truth about Cats and Dogs; Uma Thurman ordered food to smell it.

"Oh, tuna. Tuna, tuna, tuna." -Andy Bernard, The Office
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Put me in the camp with the cool people who think this shallow woman makes for an article that had me squirming with discomfort from beginning to end.

Shallow? Yes, she is writing a book on female celebrities. I rest my case.

And I'm surprised no one picked up on this horrifying bit:

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.)

That means all the crap people are eating is pre-made, packaged, manufactured, assembled, industrial stuff. THAT creeped me out more than her refrigerator full of diet soda and the part where her husband says she can boil water, just not very well.

Male or female, the subject of this article is repulsive to me. She thrives on the attention of waitstaff to recharge her batteries? I'm thinking not only soulless but narcissistic.

Whatever. I'm just glad she's not married into my family.

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Wow, you guys are harsh!

I think what most are forgetting is that the author of any article can spin a story whichever way they like. And this article was definitely "spun".

Look at all the ways it could have gone (and didn't).

The bit that tanabutler quoted:

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.)

And yet there's nothing else about the decline in home cooking on a broader level in the article. Even the subtitle ("Surveys tell us average Americans cook fewer meals every year. Say hello to the future") makes us think we're going to hear more about it but noooo.

There was a great opportunity to delve deeper into the women's movement after these paragraphs:

Mel insists he doesn't care that Francine doesn't cook. For more than 40 years he's been repeating this story; if he's not around, their daughters tell it: Mel's mother used to go to the Fourth Street Market in D.C. every Friday and buy a live chicken. She'd kill it and singe the feathers off and clean it, and make a big dinner of chicken soup and chopped liver and the chicken meat. Everyone would come and eat, while she was busy serving. Afterward, she would eat alone, then clean up.

Mel didn't see any reason for a wife of his to enslave herself like that.

Again, disappointment reigns.

It's not the woman in the article that is soulless and shallow. It's the article itself!

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I haven't finished reading all of the replies, but what strikes me is not that she doesn't like to cook (plenty agree and still cook balanced meals) but that she doesn't seem to enjoy food, even much of a range of restaurant meals. I sense control as being more important than experiencing the senses here. (diet soda, no sauces, etc)... It's nearly the opposite of my mindset.

I get the distinct sense that Lily thinks its "cute", "de rigeur" or whatever not to cook.. . . Sure it hints at it but the nagging feeling that you get is not that she is so busy or too afraid or that there are alternative sources for meals BUT that she thinks its "cool".  Look at her comment at the end of the article about the turkey. It was not a contemplative statement, it was almost...umm...boastful.

That's weird. I can't find a single quote where she boasts of her inability to cook. I think you're reading a Rorschach here.

I don't get it. What's so hard to understand about someone who doesn't like to cook? Is it any harder to understand than, say, someone who doesn't like to do their own auto repair or plumbing or painting or sewing or grass-cutting?

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If the stereotypical mother and father knew how to cook, and how to fix a car -- respectively -- it would make no more sense for the son to be proud that he doesn't know a thing about cars, than it does for the daughter to consider it progress, that she doesn't how to cook. It's not the end of the world, but it'd be foolish to consider it progress. Unless, of course, a more rewarding skill has been learned in its place -- then it could certainly be a good thing. But to not learn how to do something -- as valuable as cooking -- certainly isn't a good thing, in its own right.

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Non-cooks think it's silly to invest two hours' work in two minutes' enjoyment; but if cooking is evanescent, so is the ballet. - Julia Child

"Give me 8 hours, 3 people, wine, conversation and natural ingredients and I'll give you one of the best nights in your life. Outside of this forum - there would be no takers."- Wine_Dad, egullet.org

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