Featured Photo Credit: Flickr user SierraGoddess via creative commons
Photo Credit: Flickr User Priscilla via Creative Commons
Bang Theory star Kaley Cuoco has received a lot of backlash over comments she made regarding feminism in the February 2015 issue of Redbook. From the author’s perspective, Cuoco’s misconception about feminism is what got her into hot water. Feminism is about a woman’s right to choose how she wishes to live her life, independent of outside intrusion, not whether or not you cook your beau a meal. I, like Cuoco, find enjoyment in serving my friends, family and partner with food I’ve lovingly prepared. Although, unlike Cuoco, I consider myself a feminist. However, I wasn’t always this way.
Growing up, my mother, a single parent of four, volunteered me to be her kitchen helper. Maybe because I picked up on direction quickly. Or maybe because she knew if food was being offered, I’d gladly pitch in. During our time in the kitchen, she would explain to me her step by step process of creating whatever dish she was preparing.
Her explanations would usually fall on deaf ears because as I grew older, I adopted this vague concept of feminism that meant to be a liberated, free woman, I must abandon anything associated with household duties. Women, in my opinion, had to abandon their posts in the home in order to experience the type of freedom I longed for.
Entering high school, when my mother would ask for a hand in the kitchen, I’d cringe at the thought of hovering over a stove. I had no intentions on becoming a housewife, why should I learn how to cook? For me, this, in a sense, was my way of establishing my freedom. Not knowing how to cook was a victory against adhering to societal norms.
As most young adults, the day finally arrived when I moved out. I was excited at the thought of experiencing independence in the most modern of terms. However, I quickly learned that being independent meant much more than being on your own.
Countless nights of dining out, microwaveable meals and endless trips to whole foods hot bar became a costly result from a set of beliefs I had formed long ago about living independently. In my attempt to be independent, I lacked so many self sufficiency skills.
In an effort to conserve what limited funds I had, I began working with what little items I possessed and was shocked to see what I could create with so little. Occasionally, I would call my mom, ecstatically sharing whatever new concoction I was brewing up in my kitchen. I was proud of myself.
Any novice or avid cooker knows how hard it is to conjure up good meals in a messy kitchen. Cooking forced me to constantly pick up after myself, something I’ve struggled with my entire life. I’d rather spend 30 minutes washing dishes than spend two weeks with fruit flies. This translated into other areas of my home, I began to clean up after myself and appreciate the space I was creating.
With each measuring spoon in the right place, I learned the importance of organization. A rather simple task, I discovered how hassle free work life can be when everything is put in its rightful spot. As a writer, I’m constantly scattering papers all over the place; having them organized in particular folders has spared me countless mental breakdowns and trips to the psych ward. My thoughts are neatly organized, and I’m not *as* scattered brained.
Most obvious, cooking has allowed me to take full control of my health. Knowing how much oil I was using, or whether or not I would omit salt into my meal gave me power, control and full autonomy over what I chose to put in my mouth. You truly are what you eat, and when I eat healthy, I feel healthy in all aspects of my life. I’m nicer, I have more mental clarity, I have more energy-the benefits are endless. Cooking opened up a new life path for me, as I began offering cooking classes on becoming your own food advocate, sharing what I learned form my experience with others. Cooking has allowed me to feel the freedom I’ve longed my entire life. By removing barriers that held me back from self sufficiency, I learned some of the most important lessons of life right here in my kitchen. And for me, slaving in the kitchen IS feminism.