Jesurgislac’s Journal

November 3, 2008

Feminism and baking

I love to cook. I really love to bake stuff: cookies, cakes, scones, bread. (You may have noticed from my blogroll, ahem.)

One of the blogs on my blogroll is a commercial blog – “Bakers Banter” – which I decided to link to even though it was a pro-blog because the recipes seemed good.

Until I clicked the link this morning and read this:

Your teenage son comes home, dumps his backpack on the kitchen floor, opens the refrigerator, drinks from the milk carton with one hand while grabbing a box of cereal, bag of chips, and fistful of cookies with the other, and somehow, through his full mouth, manages to mumble, “Remember the team dinner tonight—you have to bring dessert.”

Team dinner… tonight?! When… where…

“Hey, wait a minute, buddy, you NEVER told me about any team dinner. What do you mean, dessert? It’s 4:30! What time is this dinner?”

But you’re talking to his back as he exits the kitchen, basketball in hand. “I-told-you-you-never-listen-it’s-at-the-school-at-6-o’clock-see-ya-there.” Slam.

The kitchen, silent once more, glares balefully at you. Bad mom! So now what are you gonna do, huh? You’ve got 90 minutes. Your reputation as the team’s reigning-champion, bake-from-scratch parental unit is at stake.

Are you up to the challenge, or is there a quick trip to the market and three packs of Double-Stuf Oreos in your (very) near future?

My parents taught me how to cook, beginning with cookies and cupcakes. I have an older brother, and they taught him how to cook, too. I can tell you exactly what my mum’s reaction would have been to this kind of demand from my brother: either he get back into the kitchen and bake dessert himself, or do without. Especially if it was presented as this kind of rude, it’s-your-job-so-do-it-now demand.

I love baking for people. I love doing large batches of cookies or cakes for a party. So did – and do – both my parents. But I wouldn’t love being ordered to produce them without so much as a please, thank you, apology, or praise.

And really – who would? Why is this blog producing such an appalling “Bad mom!” backstory for what is (actually) a good quick recipe for cookies? We do not live in the 1950s. Palin isn’t Queen of the United States yet (and hopefully never will be). This kind of story isn’t cute or funny; it’s a boy who’s bullying his mom.


Update: In response to my comment, the blog’s owner claims this as a real event that happened some years ago, not as an anti-feminist morality anecdote about how good moms don’t teach their sons to bake, they make cookies for them on demand.

Advertisements

14 Comments »

  1. My husband does most of the baking in our household, I do more of the cooking. So cookies would be his task 😉

    Of our three boys only one is really interested in cooking and baking, but all three of them will have to be able to cook before they leave the house. Wouldn’t want them to survive on bacon, eggs and apple sauce.

    I do agree with you that the boys’ tone was wrong though – me nor my husband would be inclined to do much for him after a rude demand.

    Comment by dutchmarbel — November 3, 2008 @ 5:45 pm | Reply

  2. My parents have very different styles of cooking, but my dad routinely only bakes bread – my mum was always the supplier of cakes, cookies, and muffins. It’s such an obvious thing to start kids on, though: some of my earliest memories are of the three of us (I have a younger sister, too) all happily at work on baking projects in the kitchen while one of my parents made supper.

    (When my brother and I got old enough to see over the kitchen stove, we both got enthused about making toffee and fudge, because of the wonderfully messy sticky alchemical nature of it: there was a batch of toffee, clear as glass, that my brother added about half a bottle of almond essence to, that was practically lethal. Fun, though.)

    I do agree with you that the boys’ tone was wrong though – me nor my husband would be inclined to do much for him after a rude demand.

    Yeah, that was what really bugged me. I could imagine any of us kids asking my parents to make a class-sized quantity of cakes or cookies, but we’d have to ask, not demand: really nicely, too.

    Comment by jesurgislac — November 3, 2008 @ 6:11 pm | Reply

  3. My mum didn’t bake and my husbands mum did, so he grew up with it. Also; English people tend to use the oven more than Dutch people. Hence his speciality and I hope it catches with the boys.

    The toffee and fudge experiments sound great, but did you clean up too or was that left for the parents?

    I always associated feminism with daughters, but now that I have three boys I suddenly realize that I do my share of promoting equal rights too 😉

    Comment by dutchmarbel — November 3, 2008 @ 7:04 pm | Reply

  4. Oh, we cleaned up. That was always the rule – my mum and dad both said they didn’t care what we cooked providing we were careful and we cleaned up after ourselves. (I imagine, when we were younger, that my parents did a bit of unobstrusive mopping afterwards to make things really pristine – but the basic rule was established.)

    but now that I have three boys I suddenly realize that I do my share of promoting equal rights too

    You sure do.

    Comment by jesurgislac — November 3, 2008 @ 7:28 pm | Reply

  5. Good – no, great – call on that one. You remind me of the roomate I had in college who was president of its feminist club. She taught me how to spot rudeness and injustice in cases like that, for I grew up in with family dynamics strikingly similar to that sad story. Happy family in other respects, but very “angel of the house” mentality.

    Comment by anitanap — November 4, 2008 @ 3:24 am | Reply

  6. Hi Anita – Yeah, parents love their children, but you still teach them to ask politely! (The blog owner was very polite in her response to my comment, though… and another anecdote followed in comments about a teacher’s request for pizza for 30.)

    Comment by jesurgislac — November 4, 2008 @ 9:04 am | Reply

  7. I thought you were rather rude with both of your comments at PJ’s blog. You had a point about the son’s behaviour, but must you be so patronising, especially in comment #2?

    Comment by Barry Allen — November 4, 2008 @ 12:08 pm | Reply

  8. I thought I was being rather restrained, given the sheer bloody rage I felt at the mom-bashing in the story and the bullying son.

    But you may have a point: I’ll go back tomorrow, re-read, and if I feel I was rude, apologise. (I’d say I’d do it today, but the fact is… today is not a good day for calm, restrained consideration. ;-))

    Comment by jesurgislac — November 4, 2008 @ 12:18 pm | Reply

  9. You come off rather rude at PJ’s blog. You took on a superior tone with a mom simply telling a story of her son’s youth, and tried to turn it into some feminist tirade. How could you not understand that PJ wasn’t including the exchange with her son verbatim? Perhaps he did say “Please” and “Thank you.” My own sweet mom treated me in a similar manner when I sprang such surprises upon her. She raised two successful, compassionate girls with her kind and flexible parenting.

    All I can say is I’d much rather Palin as my mother than you!

    Comment by Sherry — November 17, 2008 @ 8:07 am | Reply

  10. Hi Sherry,

    Ah, but think what Palin would have named you!

    You may well be right that I was rude – I need to go over to PJ’s blog and apologize, probably.

    Jes

    Comment by jesurgislac — November 17, 2008 @ 8:36 am | Reply

  11. Wow – I agree that the kid’s whole attitude in that little anecdote was horrendous.

    I’m also impressed at how calmly and honestly you handle snippy comments from others regarding your comments on the original blog.

    Comment by thewoobdog — November 25, 2008 @ 4:19 pm | Reply

  12. Thanks, woobdog. I’m not always that calm…

    Comment by jesurgislac — November 25, 2008 @ 11:11 pm | Reply

  13. WOW…

    I must say this: I love to cook (LOVE it), and I’m good at it. And due to an unfortunate lack of hours at my job, I do have the free time in which to do it. So in general, I don’t mind having requests like that dumped on me on short notice. If I were feeling particularly charitable (and the person demanding cookies was usually more considerate), I might even be willing to chalk the rudeness up to simply being in a hurry, and overlook it.

    However, that being said.

    I adore my husband. And he tries, really he does. But after observing him (and our male roommates) for a few years now, I’ve come up with a list of things to teach any male children we may have in the future. (And female children, of course, but it’s generally assumed they will learn the domestic skills.) Topping the list are things like a) how to cook (and by cook I mean more than spaghetti); b) how to bake; c) how to shop for groceries (hint: things with the word “instant” on the box should really be the exception not the rule); and of course d) how to ask for help from people who have skills you don’t have. (“Remember the team dinner – you have to bring dessert” is a fine example of how NOT to do it.)

    You would think that such basic survival skills such as how best to procure food and prepare it for eating, and how to request assistance in a way that isn’t likely to get you slapped, would be taught to all children. I’m continually astonished that this does not seem to be the case.

    Comment by Candy Lolita — December 19, 2008 @ 8:34 am | Reply

  14. Topping the list are things like a) how to cook (and by cook I mean more than spaghetti); b) how to bake; c) how to shop for groceries (hint: things with the word “instant” on the box should really be the exception not the rule); and of course d) how to ask for help from people who have skills you don’t have.

    yes. Yes. YES. and yesyesyes.

    Comment by jesurgislac — January 6, 2009 @ 4:26 pm | Reply


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: