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Old 09-04-2014, 12:39 PM   #1
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The Tyranny of the Home-Cooked Meal

Interesting take on home cooking: Home-cooked family dinners: A major burden for working mothers.

What do you think?
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Old 09-04-2014, 01:03 PM   #2
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The "burden" of cooking has been discussed...always.

From my point of view, I never found it burdensome or a chore. I must, however, point out that the bulk of my cooking for a family occurred when I was a single mother of three, living (almost) hand-to-mouth, and holding down multiple jobs. In spite of all those obstacles, I still managed to prepare a decent, nutritious meal for my family.

I continued to do that when Buck and I married and he brought two more children to the mix. Both of us were working outside of the home and, again, multiple jobs for both of us. The children had school activities, and things they did after school and in the evenings, so our household was a busy one. Somehow the meals were prepared and cooked.

Even when I didn't know where the money would come from for the next meal or the rent, I didn't depend on packaged or pre-made foods. I've just never been one to consume something I can't pronounce.

I don't know what the answer is except that each person has to find what works best for them and take outside criticism and "expert" information for what it's worth.
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Old 09-04-2014, 01:11 PM   #3
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Just about everything you do generates some level of stress.

I think it depends on the circumstances and the individuals. Some men/women may take great pleasure from cooking and find it relaxing or even fulfilling. Others will hate it and do anything to avoid cooking. We personally appreciate the latter as that gave SO an income for many years.

Home cooking dinner and eating together as a family is the best way to go IMHO, although it's not always possible in today's world.
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Old 09-04-2014, 02:01 PM   #4
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Yes, cooking can be a burden, but as the author wrote, " If we want women—or gosh, men, too—to see cooking as fun, then these obstacles need to be fixed first. And whatever burden is left needs to be shared."

Do they still teach cooking in school? If so, is it taught to boys? If you never learned to cook, it probably makes cooking far more of a burden.

Is fast food really cheaper than home cooked? That's not my experience, but I don't eat at Burger King or McDonald's. If home cooking isn't more expensive than fast food, then it's silly to talk about how expensive it is to cook at home.
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Old 09-04-2014, 02:12 PM   #5
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The Tyranny of the Home-Cooked Meal

One of the middle schools I worked in offers Family and Consumer Sciences (cooking and sewing) as an elective, and it was pretty much half girls and half boys. Foods class is also offered at the high school, also an elective. When I was in high school, Home Ec (also cooking and sewing) was manditory for girls, except I was in so many extra curriculars that I got to opt out.

Some days, cooking can be a burden. Most of the time, for me, it's fun. I can understand how, if unappreciated and for multiple family members, it would be a hassle.
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Old 09-04-2014, 02:56 PM   #6
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What a thought provoking, and well written article, and thanks for sharing it. I'm sure there were many points that "us who cook" never seriously considered.

We all come with preconceived notions don't we.
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Old 09-04-2014, 03:02 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GotGarlic View Post
Interesting take on home cooking: Home-cooked family dinners: A major burden for working mothers.

What do you think?
I wonder if this "research" was sponsored by Messrs "Birds Eye", etc?

Admittedly, I've never been a working mother but my mother was and I wasn't brought up on "ready meals" and tins. Neither was mother - her mother was left a widow with 3 school age children in the 1934 with very little money and no Welfare State to fall back on, yet she always managed to produce good, nutritious and cheap food for her children.

As for the "tyranny" and the "burden" of having to cook a meal from scratch after a day at work - well, I used to find cooking my evening meal was rather therapeutic. I still enjoy it. I don't live miles from the nearest shop and, whilst I am nowhere near poor, I don't have a lot of cash to throw around but I still do things like making my own bread and making jams and chutneys because I like the taste, I enjoy doing it and it is a lot cheaper than buying stuff. Very occasionally, towards the end of a particularly expensive month, it can be a bit of a coin flip between a trip to the butcher or a bag of feed for horse but I never go hungry and neither does he.

Just a point. If poor mothers can't afford basic kitchen equipment such as a sharp knife as suggested in the article, how are they supposed to be able to afford ready meals?

Do US schools have domestic science/home economics classes for pupils? I suspect that behind the problem is that a lot of women don't know how to provide good food because they've never been taught, either at home or school.

Any criticism implicit in my reply is aimed at the authors of the article not the poor (in both senses) mothers. It's disgraceful in this affluent day and age that women with children should be left to struggle on in the sort of pest-infested, unhealthy "homes" described in the article. That's positively dickensian.
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Old 09-04-2014, 03:03 PM   #8
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I began cooking at age 8 so by the time I reached high school and had the option to take home ec, I wasn't interested. Particularly since the class mainly consisted of the teacher, who was stuck on herself, teaching proper manners/etiquette and, as far as cooking was concerned, complex things such as brownies and popcorn. The whole curriculum was a joke and no male student would have been caught dead in any of the classes. By then I was so far ahead of that I would've been bored out of my gourd. Instead, I took French, which has been quite useful to me along life's path.

My best friend has a daughter, with a family, who is a stay-at-home mom and could care less about cooking...anything. It's interesting, too, because her mother is an accomplished and good cook and always has been. Not sure where the daughter became disconnected in that area.

Her family is treated to all manner of packaged and boxed meals and otherwise prepared items. I just don't get it. She has the time and the financial resources to prepare her family's meals. Oh, well.
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Old 09-04-2014, 03:43 PM   #9
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I think I've always enjoyed cooking, so being a working mother and cooking dinner never felt like a stress to me.
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Old 09-04-2014, 04:13 PM   #10
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I was a single father from the time Plague of Locusts was 9 months old until he got married at 23, and to even his amazement, I put a hot meal on the table every night. Sometimes fancy and sometimes not, but it was always delicious, nutritious, and it made him feel ambitious (but not ambitious enough to do the dishes!). In fact, he had a friend named Justin, who I used to call Justin Time, because he showed up at our house right around dinner time, several times a week.
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