Thursday, May 31, 2007

Real Women Don't Cook???

I had a conversation with two girlfriends of mine about work, marriage, motherhood, and our roles as women in these three areas. Friend #1 said that she refuses to ever become a slave to her family and will never give up her freedom as an independent woman. Friend #1 is full of life, spontaneous, carefree and eventhough she's in her early 30's, she can still pick up and go whenever she wants and do what she wants since she just picks up work whenever and wherever she needs it. She's a self-procclaimed party girl and scoffs at anything considered even remotely 'domestic'. I love her zest for life and her ability to do whatever she wants because she's not tied to anything. She reminds me of the me I was in my early 20s. I loved that me! I love the me I am today, but the former me was crazy and fun...just like friend #1!

Anyway, an argument almost ensued, since friend #2 became offended. She felt that friend #1 was giving a personal attack on her life choices since she became a wife and mother.

In all fairness, I think we were all a little defensive. Friend #1 said that she couldn't understand how anyone would want to get 'tied down' and have to slave over a husband and family. She boasted about how she never cooks and how much easier it is to get a nice guy to take her out for a meal than to have to cook and wash dishes afterward. Though she enjoys hosting dinner parties, most of the food she serves is store-bought or catered. Friend #2 was still fuming at this point. She thought friend #1 was belittling her decisions and choice of lifestyle. We did find out one common thread through the heated debate though. Both women didn't cook homemade meals. Friend#2 said that she is so busy with running after her babies and trying to keep the house in order, that she doesn't have any time to waste in the kitchen to prepare meals. Most meals are fresh...from a box, bag or can. She swears by frozen meals that just get popped into an oven for 30 mins and she has the pizza delivery on speed-dial.

I totally understand how chaotic, hectic and crazy things get for both my friends. I'm a little like friend#1 and a little like friend#2. I'm not single and I can't just take off whenever I want. I am married, but we don't have kids of our own yet. I do know how exhausting things get with everything that goes on with having a family and people who depend on you. We have international students who live with us and that in itself is very tiring sometimes. Trying to juggle teaching, curriculum planning, maintaining the house, the garden, helping hubby with the wood business and the farm (though, he does the bulk of things)...and having to think of what to cook...that can all get a little crazy sometimes. I totally agree that a woman has no time to be slaving for hours in the kitchen. Hubby's used to homecooked meals and I love cooking. Because I don't have tons of time (I also tutor after supper), I've devised a slew of meal plans and recipes that don't take up a lot of time. I love effortless (yet seemingly painstaking to prepare) meals! To me, that's impressive.

At Baby Bro's girlfriend's parents' house, his girlfriend's mom made a dish called a "Wife Saver". It's a breakfast casserole that is super easy to make and not time consuming at all...hence the name! I'm going to post the recipe so that everyone can enjoy it. Real women CAN cook. All we need is a few tricks up our sleeves to make things easier and quicker. Even the busiest of us can spare a few minutes to make a dish. This said, I always keep a family sized frozen lasagna in the freezer for those nights when I'm too exhausted to cook! ;)

I didn't get a photo of just the Wife Saver, but you can sort of see it in the above photo. It's on the counter in a big dish. Baby Bro's girlfriend is hovering over it.

WIFE SAVER RECIPE (breakfast casserole)

16 slices white bread crust removed
Canadian bacon sliced thin
Slices of sharp cheddar
6 eggs
salt- pepper
1tsp dry mustard
1/4 cup onion
1/4 cup green pepper
2 tsp Worcesteshire sauce
3 cups milk
dash Tobasco
1/4 lb butter
Crushed Corn Flakes.

Directions:Butter a 9x13 glass baking dish, and line with 8 pieces of bread , add pieces to cover the bottom.Cover bread with bacon, lay cheese on top and cover with more bread to make like a sandwich.In a bowl beat eggs, salt pepper, add everything else except butter and Corn Flakes.Pour over bread, cover and let stand in fridge overnight. In the morning melt butterand pour over top. Cover with cereal. Bake uncovered 1 hour at 350. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.


kim said...

OMG, Chrissy! I was having the same conversation with some girlfriends from work yesterday during lunch over "singlehood/independence" and "marriage". One of the girls in the group was saying how angsty she was getting coz she wants to have a baby with her boyfriend now. Personally, I love babies! So, I told her to go ahead and have it... without tying up any matrimonial knots! Boy-o-boy, that li'l itsy bitsy comment started up a very heated and frenzied debate around the lunch table. It was "war" between the "religious" girls versus the "practical" ones. But in the end, we just agreed not to agree, and continued to drown our own thoughts in food.

Kudos on the great post!

t said...

I'm a real woman, but I CAN'T cook! I have tried. It's not that I don't WANT to cook. I CAN'T cook! I've been known to burn water. Sounds impossible? Believe me, it's not!

This was a wonderful post. Keep them coming.

Anonymous said...

I don't cook. I don't clean. I just don't do those things. In our house, my husband does all the cooking. If he's too tired from work, we order out or go out. He also does the vacuming, laundry and rest of the cleaning. We have a dishwasher. I do the laundry but he carries the baskets for me because of my back.

The way I see it, I work hard all day. I am a new mother. I don't have time to do all those things.

Karen MEG said...

Fantastic post Chrissy - sounds like the great debate that goes on in my head on a daily basis! It reminds me of all the current discussions about the new feminism, the mommy wars (stay at home vs. career) bla-bla-bla... why can't we girls just get along? I suppose it's difficult because there's a little of friend #1 and friend #2 in all of us, and it's so very typical of women to want to do everything, be everything - we can get very defensive about our life choices.
So, being a SAHM for now, who doesn't clean, likes to cook (especially with a glass of wine in hand - but really, who has time for that these days?) but relies on the convenience of store-bought more than I'd like, I'm tending toward your friend #2 these days. Let's see, our options are:
a/$11 fully cooked chicken from Dominion or Loblaws vs.
b/$11 raw chicken that has to be prepared, roasted, which will grease up the place and the starving family has to WAIT for an hour to eat it. I think I'll stick with option b :)
Mind you, just made the family bacon and eggs for breakie this morning, so I should get brownie points for that!
I'll have to try your casserole though.

sharkey said...

Nice post Chrissy! I grew up in a family with great cooks - male and female. IMO, and from personal experience, I generally think that when it comes to traditional home cooking, women are better cooks, but when it comes to inventiveness or cooking 'exotic' cuisine, men generally fare better - well, at least in my family.

Cheers! :)

Chrissy121875 said...

Yeah, I seem to have this conversation with the girls a lot these days! LOL!
BTW, I can imagine how much of a 'no-no' it might be in the Philippines for a woman to have a baby and be unwed. When I was there, my cousin and I were wearing tank tops and shorts (not short shorts though) because it was so stinkin' hot there! Anyway, apparently my poor grandmother got an earful from the locals because her granddaughters were scandalous! LOL!!! That totally cracked me up! We can't wear tank tops??? What the heck? So imagine if we were unwed and had kids? I can see how word would get around town over there. It's crazy because like you, I feel that if you want to have a baby and you are ready to have a baby (emotionally, physically, mentally, etc), then go for it. You don't NEED to be married to have a baby. This said, I wanted to wait until I got married to start a family...just because that was my choice. That's all :) It's funny to talk to my mom and grandmother about stuff like this. I love getting them all worked up! LOL! They're so old school. I love my closely knit family and the family values they have instilled in us, but some of them are rather archaic.

I know. I've seen you burn a pot of water before! Oh, and your burnt toast...superb! ;)

Chrissy121875 said...

Lucky you! :) Unlike you, I'm responsible for the house and garden (and my small business). Hubby's responsible for everything else. We help each other out though. We're more of a team than anything. He'll help me with stuff around the house or I'll help him with firewood or fixing the roof or fences.

It would be nice to have a cook and house cleaner though! LOL! Wishful thinking! ;) It's not gonna happen!

Diesel said...

Friend #1 is going to have a fantastic time as an independent woman in the nursing home talking to herself.

Chrissy121875 said...

Oh! I totally hear ya! LOL! There are days when I think, "Let's just go out!" However, we don't do that much at all. The nearest places to dine are the Garden's Gate, and a few mom and pops shops...oh, and a fish and chips place. I'd have to drive a bit to get to other restaurants and instead of driving 15-20 mins, I'd rather just make something. Luckily, I have a bunch of quick, healthy recipes!

Oh! Don't get me started on keeping house! LOL! I sometimes feel like it's so useless to drive myself crazy cleaning like a mad woman. By the time I clean, everyone just messes the house up again! It's almost impossible to keep things neat. It drives me crazy. Seriously! LOL! :)

Yes! Try the casserole! You'll love it! So easy and people will think you slaved over it!

Hi!! So good to see you here again! Missed seeing you and Conne posting and commenting! How've you been?
Anyway, I can relate to you. I grew up in a family where both mom and dad cooked. My grandparents were all good cooks. My brothers are both good cooks. Cooking has always played a huge part in our home. Good home cooked can't beat that! I do a lot of traditional cooking, as well as exotic, new dishes. I love experimenting with new recipes and my husband and my students (our ESL students who live with us) are all willing participants for my kitchen experiments! LOL!

So, who cooks in your house? You or Conne?

mist1 said...

I'm single. I eat out. I clean when I am inspired. Sometimes, I cook a meal for Him, but only on rare occasions. I don't want to be held accountable to anyone which is why I'm single, but it has little to do with domestic stuff. That being said, I'm happy that when there's a mess in my home, I have no one to blame but myself.

curiositykiller said...

I often tell people that I cook because I enjoy it, not because I have to. I also cook because I'm paranoid of other people's kitchens.

I'm like your friend #1 who loves the wining and dining... but c'mon - who can afford to wine and dine all the time? And if she's serious about being with someone, then she'll eventually have to face the finance too. So she'll have to start cooking -- or get herself a chef.

But I know if I ever have a kid, I'll so be swearing by frozen foods, takeouts and pizzas.

Or get a chef.

But if I have that kind of dough, I'll be hiring a housekeeper before a chef.

Girlie Monkey said...

Totally agree with you Chrissy! REAL WOMEN CAN COOK! And they do. I can see how it can become a routine when you HAVE to cook 3 meals a day every day, so it's ok to mix it up and do take out or go out for meals or simply warm up frozen stuff. However, there is nothing like a homemade meal that's prepared with love. Feeding people brings me a lot of joy. Maybe, I can blame it on the culture I grew up in but I believe it's a good problem to have.

Uncivil said...

I don't know how you do it? You can take some of the most down to earth things in peoples lives and make such an enjoyable read!
You my friend are a real woman! And you are probably the best mentor any of your students will ever have! I can just read about your life and feel like a student. I wish I could be half as positive as you! :)

Pinks & Blues Girls said...

Oh Chrissy!! This blog is awesome!! I have to say, I was like Friend #1 before marriage and kids.. and then I met Matt and had my 3 little men... and as much as I don't really consider myself a dometic diva... (I try, I really really try!)... I do get a kick out of cooking for the men I love. And, as odd as this sounds, trying to keep clean and presentable house. But again... I love this blog - totally got me thinking! And I'm trying your recipe!
- Audrey
Pinks & Blues Girls

Dina said...

Friend #1 is going to have a fantastic time as an independent woman in the nursing home talking to herself

too funny and I was thinking the exact same thing!

I do in fact think real women do cook and they should! I do!!

BeachMama said...

My Sister and I have been chatting about the same type of thing. Only she still cooks every night and I have almost given up. And she has three kids, I only have one and a half (step-son who's not over every day). I do love quick and easy recipes and yours sound devine. It is similar to one I have made before, but just a tad bit easier.

Chrissy121875 said...

That was hilarious! LOL! I love it!
I fear, as sad as it sounds, you may be right.

I totally hear you. I was like friend #1 before I got married. It was sometimes nice to know I was only accountable for myself. Now I have more than just me to think about!

Chrissy121875 said...

Oh, I happen to know for a fact that you are a first rate cook! ;) When I was single, I loved hosting gourmet nights or even potluck parties. I just love getting together with friends and sharing good conversation, good food, good wine...There's something very "social" about food!

Yes! My family life was always centered around sharing meals with friends and family. In fact, it was all about food. I guess the sharing, giving, feeding all just showed hospitality, welcoming and how much people care for each other. When I went to visit family overseas, each family member's house we went to they would feed us! I'd keep saying no, but then they'd say it was an insult if we didn't eat. Conversations usually went something like this:
"Eat! Eat! Why don't you eat some more?" while forcing food onto your plate. The conversations ended up something like this:
"Eat! Eat! Why are you so fat?" LOL! You can't win them all! Plus, everyone in San Jose was soooooooo skinny!! I don't know how people stay so skinny there and eat so much! I think in the 2 weeks we were there, we all gained 10 lbs!
What's your family background, Girlie Monkey?

Chrissy121875 said...

Awwwww thanks! You are just too sweet! What a farce! Certainly not "uncivil" at all! However, I can keep that a secret if you don't want people to know that you're just a really nice guy! ;)

I LOVE when you pop by the blog! I actually don't think my blog is interesting at all. Everyone seems to have a "point" to their blogs. Mine's just all over the place! LOL! Anyway, thanks for popping by and leaving comments :) I just adore you, your mom and your sis!

Oh, and as much as I may sound like I've become a regular Betty Crocker now that I've moved to the country and have gotten married, I don't care :) I really do enjoy cooking and baking and making sure my hubby, family and students get fed healthy, yummy meals. Does this make me less of a woman because I actually enjoy doing this? Should I feel badly that I do? It's such a struggle for women to be working and take care of a family and house. It's hard work, but I think it's possible. Heck, if I can do it, anyone can :) Plus, sometimes if I'm totally pooped, I ask hubby to BBQ something! He's great at that AND I don't have to do anything! ;)

Chrissy121875 said...

Yeah, Diesel's comment made me laugh too. He's too funny, isn't he?

I agree with you about the cooking thing. I have a friend who doesn't cook at all. She can't even make eggs! I have a feeling she just doesn't want to cook though. She's lucky her husband is a fantastic cook and does everything for her!

Have you ever checked out the Kraft Kitchens website? They've got so many ideas for quick meals. I subscribe to their magazine. It has proved helpful for quick meals. The only thing is that I don't use them often because a lot of the recipes call for ingredients that are ready-made and I kinda like making things from scratch. But if one is pressed for time, then for sure...ready-made ingredients are okay!

Oh, and though Rachael Ray's voice sometimes gets on my nerves, she does have some very good ideas for quick, tasty meals! I confess, I watch her show once in a while if I'm in for lunch during the day and have time. Don't tell anyone, but I kinda like her show! LOL!

doggy mama said...

I LOVE that name - Wife Saver! Too funny. My hubby prepares his own meals and I prepare mine (they must take less than 10 minutes to cook - or should I say microwave - or I can't be bothered). It takes us much longer to prepare the meals for the doggies than it takes to prepare our own!

It's not the 1950's anymore where women stayed home all day and had the time to prepare meals. We have lives and our meals just have to reflect that!! But I'm with you - if something LOOKS and TASTES like it took forever, but is actually easy to make, all the better!

Chrissy121875 said...

Doggy Mama:
I am sooooooo with you on that! I couldn't imagine spending HOURS in the kitchen to prepare meals for my husband and kids (well, students!). That's insane. You're right! No one has time in their busy lives to slave in the kitchen all day.

That's why I love that everything I cook takes no longer than an hour from prep to finish! I love, love, love my Crockpot we got for our wedding! I chop up veggies, put in a roast or whatever, and set it and when we are home for supper, supper is ready for us! LOL! I love to cheat and have tricks to make meals without the hassle! I love that it looks like it took hours and a lot of work though! The best thing is that no one has to know that it was so easy!

sharkey said...

We both share in the cooking. It usually depends on who's tired or who's in the cooking mood. :)

J at said...

Nice post Chrissy, and a great way to end it! I read a few comments, but I'm out of time, so I didn't read them all.

I think the answer is to do what you feel is best for you and your family. Me? I think it's important to cook at home often, though not always, and the degree of difficulty varies greatly, as you saw with my chicken recipe yesterday. I think it's important to sit down and eat as a family. Eating healthy, fresh food is important, too, but not always practical. Most of all, what's important is to be good to yourself, and to support others in their decisions as well. :) So they don't have to feel so defensive (which we all do from time to time..someone does something different than we prefer, and we think they're criticizing us, which they may or may not be...complicated.)

Chrissy121875 said...

That's great that you share the cooking at your house. I'm sure Conne's a great cook too! My hubby doesn't cook often, but when he does, it's delicious!

You are such a wise person ;) There's something about the way you say things that always seems so neutral/fair/unbiased...kind of like Switzerland!

You are so right about doing what you feel is best for your family. I agree about eating meals as a family. That's important to me. Hubby comes home for supper after work and sometimes he has to go back out to work, but he's always here for meals.

I try to cook our meals, but there are days when I just don't have time or energy...and cooking up a storm isn't possible. That happened not too long ago. The result? We hopped in the car and all went out for some fish and chips! LOL! (There's this really great place on the island that serves the fish and chips in newspaper like they used to do all the time) They use local whitefish and the fries are really good. I think that's the first time in a long time that I had anything fried!

PS. I am soooooo going to try your chicken recipe! Thanks for posting it!

eve said...

I get upset to when the single girls label us moms and wives like we're slaves. Okay, I'll admit I feel like one from time to time, but there are so many golden moments that my husband and I can't imagine being as special without eachother and our children. I'm so blessed. And when I'm old and grey, I won't be alone. I will have my wonderful family that I've sacrificed for.

Chrissy121875 said...

I agree with you totally. I once had a little spat with a friend of mine. It wasn't anything serious, but she was insisting that I'm "tied down" and have "no freedom", but I feel it's quite the contrary. I do whatever I want, and just because I have responsibilities and a husband, that doesn't mean my life is over and I never have fun anymore. My husband and I spend time together, but we also know that "me" time is important too. I can go out with my friends and he can have some time on his own too. We know we are a team and we love being together and going through life together. I don't feel any less "empowered". I feel like I've been "blessed". My life has been enriched. This friend and I have agreed to disagree. I can't change her mind about how she perceives my life really is. I don't even bother trying to make her see that being married and having a family isn't the end of life. I'm still as crazy and silly as I was when I was single :) I've just toned it down a bit. Just because I don't go out with friends all the time, doesn't mean I don't have fun.

Thanks for your wonderful comments, Eve. I really enjoy reading your blog :)

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City girl moves to the country, falls in love, and marries a farmer. She tries to incorporate her city ways with her new country lifestyle and blogs to keep in touch with friends, family & students who live far, far away :) Can this city girl go country? Watch as she learns all sorts of exciting things about life on the farm and in a small rural community. *UPDATE* We are now parents! Our baby girl was born on Nov. 11, 2008 (at 28 weeks gestation- 12 weeks premature, but she's quite the trooper)!!!
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