I was reading a thread at the Red Pill Women subreddit not too long ago wherein someone made the comment that while cooking is indeed an important skills for woman to have, it’s not as big a deal as so many make it out to be around these parts (I can’t remember the thread or the commenter so I can’t leave a link). This comment really stood out to me and I felt deflated and sad upon reading it. On the surface, this sentiment is quite true. Cooking is only one of many things a woman and a wife should know how to do. But cooking is so much more than heating food and putting it on a plate.
I come from a very Italian family on my mother’s side and while, genetically, I’m only about 1/4 Italian, their love of family and food is something I’ve always deeply identified with. I remember going to picnics and get togethers as a child and thinking about all the different kinds of foods that would be there. At Christmas there would be profiteroles, pizzelle, and lu beans (not to mention Christmas Eve dinner!!). At family gatherings there would be ziti, lasagna, plates of cheese and meats, vegetables, cookies and so much more. As I began to get older, it started to bother me a bit. I would think, “The only reason everyone is coming to these things is for the food. Isn’t this supposed to be about family? Shouldn’t we just be coming together because of the people?” But even then, I knew that without all the food, not as many people would come and for the people who did, the event just wouldn’t be as fun. These niggling thoughts would come and go, but for a long time, I just pushed them away. The important thing was, we were together. Finally, as a young woman, it finally hit me. I had spent all that time wondering why the food was so important and not the people. But that wasn’t the case at all. The food was there to bring the people. All of that wonderful smelling and tasting food, it wasn’t the highlight. It was the catalyst for bringing people to the home, and then bringing them together into the same room and around the same table to be together. It warmed our hearts, loosened our tongues (greatly aided by wine and other fantastic drinks) and brought us altogether as friends and family.
On the surface, cooking might just seem like another wifely task. Something that she should know how to do to feed her family. But cooking is so much more than that. Keoni describes it thus:
Cooking food is one of the ultimate expressions of love a person can do for others. It’s no accident the feminist movement defines women cooking in the kitchen for their families an act of slavery, or to deride it as toiling away in the oppression of the “comfortable concentration camp.” That’s because feminism sells people on the lie that “love” is a feeling you experience. Love is not an adjective. Nor is it a feeling.
It is a verb describing actions you do for others.
Next to smell, taste is one of the strongest memories and connections we have.
There’s a reason “Mom’s Home style Cooking” or “Just Like Mom Used to Make” are some of the most well used marketing slogans to sell fast/convenience and restaurant dining in commercials, bill boards and advertisements.
For those of us who grew up with home cooked meals, homemade Christmas cookies, and with holiday meal smells wafting through the house we remember the excitement that filled those days; the longing to taste whatever it was that was filling the house with such a wonderful smell. These memories are warm, comforting and beautiful.
To those women who do cook, but might think of it as just another task, I ask you to think about it again. It’s not just a way to keep away hunger and to help your children grow. What you cook feeds their bodies, but it also feeds their minds. If you take it beyond just a task, but do it with love, those are memories that your children will remember when they are 90 years old. They are memories that they will want to create with their own children so as to give them the same gift you gave to them.
To those women who still think that being stuck in the kitchen is slavery or unfulfilling, you are wrong. Just like any task, cooking is what you make of it. It can be a daunting and tedious task if that’s what you tell yourself it is. But if you see beyond the chopping and the peeling. If you look at the whole picture, you will see your husband and your children eagerly opening the oven door dying to see what is creating that amazing smell permeating the house. You will see your family gathered around the table, waiting there for what you have created. Your ability to see it as a loving act is what will frame what things look like around that table and the memories your family will carry with them for a lifetime.