My mother does not cook. She has fed her family for twenty-five years using a process known as “food assembly.” Food assembly involves cutting and chopping, adding water to various items, and putting things in the oven or microwave. Dinner guests are perfectly aware that 80% of their meal has come pre-prepared and will often turn to my mother in between courses and compliment her. “This is excellent, Lyn. Did you make it? AHAHA OMG HAHA.”
As a result of all this culinary ineptitude, I have no idea how to do basic things such as boil rice or fry fish. If I had my own house, and you came to visit, and I pleasantly asked you, “Can I get you something?” it would be a filthy lie, because I could not get you anything except a glass of wine. I can, however, make an acceptable carrot, walnut & banana cake, because my father is a most excellent baker.
As a kid, Dad spent every afternoon after school at either one of his grandmother’s houses, where they taught him to bake, sew, and stay away from black people. He’s pretty crafty in all areas of the kitchen and he can mend a button before you can say, “Why doesn’t your wife do that for you?” Visiting men often frown at my father as he zips around the kitchen in his apron, stirring frantically and humming to Rick Wakeman. “I’ve got to get these muffins on before my aerobics class starts,” he would explain, and I’d be even just a bit more proud of him than I had been fifteen seconds earlier. Oh yes, my father may have done the cooking, the cleaning, the sewing, the ironing, and the fruity gym classes, but he was just as talented at changing the oil in my car or mowing the lawn. The only task I ever saw him defeated at was attempting to rename a word document on his computer.
Unfortunately, because my father wanted to teach me important things in life, like how to use condoms and mix prescription medications safely and play the Pink Panther theme on piano, he never imparted his domestic knowledge to me. And rather than observing him closely to learn what I could, I simply sat back and enjoyed being waited upon, cooked for and cleaned up after.
So now, between my stints of living at home, I walk the streets of Sydney with tatty clothes and a growling stomach. I can still make that cake though.
This post was brought to you by a nudge from Gavin Heaton.