Mini-Rants for April Fools

Ok, I posted this in the Mini-Rants then realized it’s not March any more. So, I’ll be That Guy, continuing a rant…

This is so fucked up. Come ON, guys, step up.

I was raised in a typical 50s/60s home where girls were taught to cook, and boys were taught… well, not much… lawnmowing, I guess?
BUT, I was raised to “put food on the table”, and I’ve worked some long hours and crappy jobs to do so.

Well, guess what, guys? Cooking something for your family is LITERALLY putting food on the table! When I got married, I knew how to cook hot dogs on the grill. So I learned. I opened up a cookbook, followed some recipes and made a mess.

That was the early '80s. Now there’s an internet full of recipes and lessons and you can watch guys on YouTube… guys who have a backbone! And at some point said “Hey, I don’t know how to do this, so damn it, I’ll learn.”

Your spouse’s job, your kid’s school, they’re tough. And you are making their lives tougher, not easier. Come to think of it, making others’ lives less difficult is the minimal job we have as humans.

Let’s see if this works (in many senses)

I find that kind of weird. Where I’m from and how I was raised, cooking is a masculine pursuit. A man worth his salt cooks. Ironically, my father was a terrible cook who could barely managed a fried bologna sandwich.

When I first started, I treated it like running a chemistry lab. Here are the materials and the procedure. Follow them. It’s science where the finished product is delicious food.

That’s brilliant. Less intimidating. And that way, if a few things blow up along the way, well, that’s Standard Lab Procedure…

When I was growing up there were a number of things that my father cooked; I remember his chili, and sausage, potatoes and sauerkraut in a pressure cooker. He was a professional baker (he did our wedding cake when I got married), so he always did our Christmas cookies.

I learned to follow recipes in a cookbook fairly early. Once when Mom was working she told me to fix hamburgers for the family for dinner. I wasn’t in the mood for hamburgers, so I made meatloaf instead.

Thanks for fighting the good fight. FWIW, I think there is a qualitative difference between what overlyverbose is talking about, being designated Manager of Everything, and what I am talking about, a guy who manages plenty of things on his own but just doesn’t understand cooking. And yes, he could learn, but he has no real motive to learn when I cook better food and usually enjoy the process. What irritates me is that I can’t assign him a simple cooking task without a dozen questions. So I have learned to use him in others ways – getting pots and pans off the bottom shelves, doing dishes when he can so that I feel like cooking, and doing clean-up afterward. I feel like I should mention that he does a lot of housework. He is a neat freak. He’s always cleaning something.

What’s interesting to me is that even in the most egalitarian of households, circumstances often force parents into traditional gender roles. My husband is the primary breadwinner, he works six days a week, I work three. I am primary caregiver 3.5 days a week with some mornings and evenings off (like tonight.) But once he returns to the office he’ll be getting home an hour later (7-8pm) and I’ll be stuck with getting the kid to bed most nights. And it will feel lonelier than it already does. It’s a loneliness I have long grown accustomed to after 19 years together - his work has always placed high demands on his time, but it’s largely out of his control. He’s doing what he loves and he brings in 70% of the income, so I can only complain so much.

I knew a French exchange student once who got quite irate the people expected him to know how to cook all these fancy dishes just because he was from France. He used to say he couldn’t “boil toast or burn water”.

And there’s a website for that, too. Well, for engineers, at least. Close, yes?

When I was younger I thought it was funny the older’ generation would talk about gas , hemorrhoids, etc… Now I’m like those insurance commercial about becoming your parents!

I hate it when streaming services don’t have any way to turn off auto-play. I don’t understand why it’s the default in the first place, but to make it impossible to turn off? Dumb. Why. I hate it.

I was also raised in a fairly typical 50’s/60’s middle class household, however my mother made a point of teaching all of us (4 boys, 1 girl) how to cook, wash dishes, wash clothes, make beds, clean house, help with shopping and work around the yard. I’m sure there were times back then that I resented it, but now I’m grateful.

I was a latchkey kid (I grew up in the 80s/90s) and I taught myself how to cook because I wanted to eat better than a frozen dinner. By my mid teens I had my own meatloaf recipe and learned how to make pizza sauce from scratch. I share cooking duties with my wife 50/50.

(Ironically she barbecues, I do not.)

For the longest time, my cousins and I heard our parents discussing their surgeries, ailments, medications, Medicare, etc. Now that our parents are all gone, we sit around discussing these same things, while the kids just roll their eyes.

Today I learned that when you’re watching your mom back into the garage and she suddenly floors it with the wheel turned and scrapes her fender on the garage door frame, being upset/irritated is the incorrect reaction. Mom’s fine, and I think the vehicle is fine, aside from a shattered side marker light…I’ll admit I’m more shaken than anything, because she’s typically so damn good at backing up a vehicle.

On a more positive note, I finally figured out that the low flow from the kitchen faucet was due to a hidden screen/filter that had become nearly blocked by debris.

I’d like to think it was borne out of some sort of machismo, but seriously, it was just, “Here are my reagents. Here are my instructions.” Follow the instructions. Chop the this, peel the that, fry the other, turn the oven’s dials to the appointed settings, wait the required amount of time.

Sure, inventing your own things is more daunting when you lack the experience, but with an Internet full of recipes and a basic ability to follow instructions, any guy who can bash together an Ikea bookshelf can cook a passably decent meal.

Back when we were in our 30s, some friends and I were having dinner at a Chinese restaurant. The older people at the next table were going through their litany of ailments. I so clearly remember saying “please tell me we will never be like that”. Ha! I still bring up that story on occasion, when we get into the weeds of aches and pains.

Not the best analogy. I can build a houseful of furniture from scratch (as in fell the trees…) easier than I can assemble one IKEA kit.

But I agree with you, and approaching a recipe from a science/engineer background, I kept wanting to know WHY? “What’s happening on a molecular level?”

You want to be a baker, not a cook. Baking is chemistry.

I learned to cook fairly young when I got tired of picking the yucky stuff out of the meals my mother cooked (I still detest green pepper and mushrooms) and was allowed to cook my own dinner with my choice of the ingredients she had selected (or to make something like bacon and eggs when she decided to cook seafood). I don’t remember my father ever cooking meals for us.

I presently do all the supper cooking, as my wife has mobility issues. As a result of Covid, I now subscribe to a meal service that delivers ingredients and recipes for three meals a week that we select from a list of choices for the week. Reduces trips to the stores and has introduced us to dishes I would never have tried on my own.

i graduated in '83 and honestly don’t remember much cooking once I moved out, but I suspect hamburger and chicken helper played large roles.

Since that time I’ve steadily progressed from chemist to artist in the kitchen. Which I consider to be a good thing as I don’t see 4 crushed garlic cloves and a bay leaf doing much to improve a batch of mercury fulminate.

My people!

I like the flavor they add to a meal, but I hate eating them. There’s just something about the way they feel in my mouth …