Oct 25 2005

Cooking Is For Suckas


I’ll get to the cooking part in a second. First, remember how "bombing Afghanistan back to the Stone Age" was going to be the greatest thing ever for women’s rights in that godforsaken hellhole? Well, this dude, the editor of an Afghan women’s lib zine, has been sentenced to two years in the clink for daring to criticize those aspects of Sharia that punish women with whips and chains and death by stoning and whatnot. Apparently, the newly liberated and democratic Afghanistan is so liberated and so democratic that they are freer than ever before to vote that it’s "blasphemy" to view women as human beings.

Meanwhile, what’s the deal with this recent spate of "women suck" coverage? There was yesterday’s assertion that women can’t be advertising executives because they’re "crap," and now this chump alleges that women "can’t cook to save their lives."

OK, I get it. Some celebrity chef–a species of celebrity that, surprise, is always male and always assholic–has not only co-opted a traditional women’s skill and parlayed it into fame and fortune, but has asserted, from the rarefied aether of white male success, that women suck at the one thing the patriarchy insists that they’re born to do (while barefoot and pregnant). Nyah-nyah! Zing! In your face, ladies!

Big deal, another white male dick makes an idiot sexist remark for personal gain. People are discussing this stupid "controversy" all over the internet, and now we all know who Gordon Ramsay is.

But what I want to know is, why should women want to cook?

Home cooking, my young onions, is for suckers. It’s laborious, time-consuming, and tedious. It requires hours of research, shopping, hauling, toting, washing, prepping and scullerying.  Forget the actual chopping and stirring and adding just the right amount of secret sauce. Forget the washing up. I ask you to consider the shopping part alone. To wit:

After studying your recipe, taking inventory of the pantry, and compiling your list, you get in your car and spend twenty minutes in traffic. At the store your cart has a broken wheel. It takes at least half an hour to collect all the stuff. Then you wait in line. You take all the stuff out of the cart and put it on the conveyor belt. Then you put all the stuff into bags. You put the bags of stuff back into your cart. You push the cart with its broken wheel uphill to your car. You take all the bags of stuff out of the cart again and put them in the trunk. You spend twenty more minutes in traffic. You repack the bags of stuff that have spilled out during transit. You take the bags of stuff out of the car and put them in your kitchen. You take the stuff out of the bags and put it on shelves. When it’s time to cook, you take it all back out again.

This is not art. This is mindless drudgery. You are a pack mule.

I subject myself to this mind-numbing toil only because I like eating food that doesn’t suck. If I had some dildo like Gordon Fucking Ramsay to whip up my roasted beet salad with orange vinaigrette and chevre croutons every day, believe you me, I would never darken the stoop of a supermarket, shuck an oyster, or caramelize an onion again.


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  1. emjaybee

    Housecleaning is for suckas also. Also, most of the crap Martha Stewart wants you to do.

  2. MsKate

    I always wonder if this sort of poorly-prepared sexist tripe is the last resort of insecure males in a traditionally female arena who come to the realization that they are not artists, they are glorified servants who exist to satisfy the egos and appetites of their patrons. Well, at LEAST they are MALE so that makes them BETTER apriori! ’cause if they can’t make that distinction, they have nothing to distinguish them, right? Kind of like white trash racism, that.

  3. PrissyNot

    There are services that shop for you! You can have the food delivered to your house in the quantities and types that you prefer :) My brother turned me on to this, he uses it in California. It doesn’t end up costing any more in the long run, especially if you factor in your time, gas, frustration, etc. The frozen stuff comes in monthly installments, so it’s good to own an actual freezer, and the fresh comes once a week. They go to the trouble of making sure that the fresh stuff is fresh, too. However, you still do have to cook it. Get a live-in who likes to do these things . . . that would be a wife?

  4. Ron Sullivan

    Gordon Who?

    Well, who’d ever heard of Bobby Fischer, was that his name? No. Bobby Riggs. Until he flapped his yap and Billie Jean King beat him. You’re right; it’s the last refuge of has-beens and second-raters, especially the loudmouths who pretend they’re doing what a corps of flunkies, underpaid assistants, and unacknowledged sources really do.

  5. mythago

    But what I want to know is, why should women want to cook?

    Why “should” anybody want to do anything? Some of us like to cook.

    And I concur: Gordon who? Is he anyone like Alice Waters?

  6. anna

    eh, i’m sure he believes his own bullshit, but i have my doubts he would have said it if he didn’t have a new series coming on tv. i can’t attest to his cooking skills but his PR people sure can work the media.

  7. Hissy Cat

    Twenty minutes in traffic and a busted cart?

    Fuck you, patriarchy. I blame you completely.

  8. Crys T

    Yup, ol’ Gordon has a new series coming out. And, as much as he gets up my nose, I do have to point out that his comment has been taken somewhat out of context: it’s from his interview in the current issue of the Radio Times, and what he said was that, in Britain, increasing numbers of young women aren’t learning to cook, while more and more young men are getting into it. He actually said, if memory serves (I’m just too damn lazy to trot downstairs to look at the magazine) that *British* women were increasingly poor cooks, not that *all* women were crap at cooking.

    Yeah, it’s still sexist–like wow, a handful of middle-class boys think it’s trendy to cook a bit, so all of a sudden it’s a “revolution” because every once in a while, on those nights they aren’t at the latest cool restaurant or getting another take-away, they manage to turn out an actual meal…while all the overworked mums and single women are still stuck doing most of the thankless, glamourless everyday cooking and being criticised for it. It does suck, but he wasn’t saying quite what has been implied.

  9. bitchphd

    I actually like cooking–but not when I “have” to. Then it’s all about grilled sandwiches, mac & cheese, quesadillas, and quiche.

    But periodically, especially if I’m all alone, I can whip up a decent meal. ‘Course, I also periodically fantasize about living in a real city somewhere, where I have an apartment that doesn’t even *have* a kitchen, and a wide variety of good, affordable restaurant food is available a short walk away.

    Gordon Ramsay does suck, though.

  10. Jackie

    Okay, so I know this going to sound like comment spam, and it’s not, but recently I did something called “Let’s Dish,” where you go to a place set up like a restaurant kitchen, with all the veggies sliced and the meat chosen, and you assemble a good amount of meals and prepare to freeze them at your own house. It took me two hours and I ended up with ten entrees, all yummy so far, and now I am just responsible for side dishes and bread. And I still can have a grilled cheese night if I want, but if I don’t want, I can have morroccan beef stew, or something else I would never have made for myself.

    I think patriarchy-blamers would definitely enjoy it just as much as I did– unless you really enjoy cooking, which is a personal choice all it’s own.

  11. norbizness

    Poor little onion, it never asked to be caramelized.

  12. Steph

    I just finished a lovely plate of homemade cabbage rolls with apple pie made for dessert, cooked by my husband. I agree cooking sucks. I have to do lots of the other household tasks so I avoid all food preparations activities as much as I can.

    This year at Thanksgiving (it’s in October in Canada) my husband made the dinner–the pies, the turkey the whole thing. When he sat down to dinner and was complimented on the fine meal, he proclaimed: this cooking thing is a ton of work!

    My mother in law just about choked on her turkey. Then she said, no shit, I’ve been doing this on special occasions for 40 years and you’re just noticing NOW.

  13. Josef K

    After studying your recipe, taking inventory of the pantry, and compiling your list, you get in your car and spend twenty minutes in traffic.

    Well, maybe cagers and Americans do that, but I cycle to the local market, queue for a few minutes and then buy as much as I can comfortably carry home (my journey home is uphill). There’s no need to darken the door of a supermarket. I guess I’m lucky.

  14. Lydia

    This is the same guy who thought it was just hilarious to feed a vegetarian a pizza with ham on it then laugh at him. On camera. So, to be honest, I’m not that surprised. He still sucks.

  15. Sara

    I like cooking (and of course eating) so much I have to work at Whole Foods for the discount. Having seen his recipes, I daresay I am at least as good a cook as Gordon Ramsay, though I came late to dead animals and don’t do the wild game thing at all. I daresay my boyfriend is at least as good a cook as Gordon Ramsay. However, I do not like cooking to be my job, nor does any man I have ever dated, married, slept with, etc. And I take exception to warty little pricks like this one who dare to slam the cooking skills of my gender as a whole, many of whom are obliged to cook if they want there to be food on the table at all, and lots of whom around the world are in fact obliged to cook to save their lives. It is especially ugly for him to assign some kind of fault to us as a whole based on the number he’s observed using convenience foods and shortcuts, especially since it is only true of those who can afford them, and since at least as many men in the same or higher tax bracket do exactly the same thing.

    Trust me; I work mostly as a cashier, I see everything everyone who walks out of the store buys, and therefore I am in a position to know these things. Alors, Gordito, mon precieux, you are full of crap. But of course you know that. That’s why you open your mouth so much, to let some of that crap out so you can breathe. Unfortunately, then we have to hear it.

    Regardless, for your amusement, here’s Gordito’s take on family life:


    Try not to puke on your little rock cakes, darlings.

  16. wordgirl

    Is anyone really surprised that stuff formerly relegated to the Women’s section of the newspaper has now been hijacked by men? I think of cooking as a survival skill. Shame on anyone for not knowing how to make a skillet of scrambled eggs, at the very least. Women have been keeping others alive since time began because WE HAD TO and BECAUSE IT WAS WOMEN’S WORK. But they have no trouble coming along and proclaiming that men are the best chefs.

    Ballet? For women or sissies…but they believe that men make the greatest ballet dancers.

    Cleaning up after everyone? A woman’s job…even down to hauling everyone’s crap to the curb. But who gets to drive the big, powerfull, smelly trucks? Men (okay…that one you can have)

    Even staying home with kids. Years ago at my kid’s pre-school there was a stay-at-home dad married to a doctor. The moms just went apeshit all over him for being such a stunning example of “a real man”. Men get extra points for doing what women do all day long.

    Even this…a man in his 70’s (and his wife) enjoy choral music. They go to see live shows, but the ones they agree are the best are the young boys whose voices are–in their words–“the purest kind of sound”. Sound? They sound like girls. And this is what kills me. What they’re saying is that boys who can sing like girls (before the whole voice change thing) sound better than girls who sound like girls. WTF?????

    So this dumb cracker…Gordon Whatever…gets to claim the big trophy for men in the kitchen. Well if it’s so damned great, Gordo, get in there and do it three times a day…every day. What a tool!

  17. rose

    I popped the link and liked this comment:

    When a woman says she can’t cook, it means she can’t prepare a five star meal. If a man says he can’t cook, it means he can’t microwave baked beans.
    Tracey, UK

    The Brits have a well earned reputation for sad, sad food.
    I think there is a trend toward verbal agression toward women. For this guy it’s probably a pr move. Still, when we are at war we become more warlike. I’ve been seeing a lot of agression lately in surprising areas.
    I blame the patriarchy.

  18. Mandos

    I like shopping for food. It’s almost like visiting a museum except I’m going to eat the exhibits.

  19. Twisty

    Mandos, Mandos, Mandos.

  20. Sylvanite

    The current boyfriend doesn’t enjoy cooking as much as the previous serious boyfriend, so I am cooking more now. However, at least current boyfriend does most of the food shopping, and he does cook french toast every Sunday morning, using cinnamon bread from a local bakery. Due to our schedules, I really only end up cooking once or twice a month, so I guess it’s not a bad deal, yet.

  21. Lisa

    For us, it’s just a matter of walking across the street to the co-op and picking up what looks best for dinner. Josef has the right idea: being able to get to the store without the traffic is the best. We do live in America, but are lucky enough to live in a neighborhood where we can walk to the grocery store, hardware store, wine store…

    As one of your knitters, I had to rise to the bait. But the truth is that my sweetie does almost all of the cooking and cleaning. I do love to bake and look at it as another form of creative expression like my knitting.

  22. Bella

    Yes! I completely agree. I actually don’t mind cooking, but the amount of work it takes is incredible. I live off of Trader Joe’s meals.

    Plus, you have to deal with the patriarchy. Like the other day when I asked the (unattractive) guy in back of me if he’d tried the brand of tortillas that we were both buying. I hadn’t tried them before and wanted to know if they tasted like ass. He totally misinterpreted my question and acted like the question was a come-on. I bought them, and they tasted terrible.

    I’ll second Hissy Cat – fuck you, patriarchy.

  23. Chris Clarke

    Trader Joe’s frozen nasi goreng, unfortunately, sucks rocks, and their frozen siu mai is far too good, leading to rapid-onset weight gain, at least in me. However, Zeke swears by their dried chicken treats and liver crackers, and has not noticeably fattened up as a result of his gorging.

    I do enjoy cooking, mainly because I don’t have to every day, mainly because I don’t have kids. This is probably a good thing as I tend to use five pots and a colander and the good kitchen shears just to make water for tea.

  24. nolo

    I actually like cooking. But it took me years to get to this point, because I came to understand as a child growing up under The Patriarchy that household kitchens are usually woman-traps. This is still true, of course, but now that I own the f**king kitchen, I’m cooking for me. As for Gordon Fucking Ramsey, if he were actually a dildo he’d have a use. As it is, I bet I like my food better than anything that pompous fuck ever put together.

  25. Kate

    I too enjoy cooking and thanks to living on servant’s wages I have to cook in order to eat food I enjoy anyway.

    I cannot afford the luxury of other people’s cooking more than once a week, so it’s a wash.

    But Ramsey is an asshat qho is quite famous for being one of those screechy evil throwing stuff at his staff chefs.

  26. Erin

    Ramsay has also said in interviews that he was not present for the births of any of his four children because he likes sex and was worried that seeing childbirth would put him off his wife for good, then he seemed to be surprised when he was not showered with accolades for his bravery in admitting squeamishness. So the barefoot and pregnant seems to be okay with him up to a point, just so long as she stays out of the kitchen and doesn’t expect him to look at stuff that might conceivably interfere with his erections.

  27. Amanda Marcotte

    I’m definitely a Bad Feminist. I clean and I cook. But I have noticed that this guy has a really fucked up grading curve–bad female cooks reflect badly on all women and good male cooks reflect well on all men. Shit, anyone can win when they’re playing with a stacked deck.

  28. Sara*

    Glad you seem to be feeling better. I love to cook, but I hate the stereotypes it gives me. My favorite is baking bread, once only a womyn’s job, taken over by male bakers, and now slowly returning the hands of us femelles. I am very happy.

    Besides, I don’t like stupid men who are mean and angry. I really don’t like him.

  29. kathy a

    dr. b stole my comfort menu….

    steph — i love your MIL.

    sara — whooda thunk that having little kids drop cookie dough on the pan was the biggest part of parenting?

    this guy is just gross. i’d like to see what he produces for breakfast/lunch/dinner in one week, alone with the kids, no help. [and i mean NO help cooking, cleaning, shuttling them around, fixing messes, dealing with crises — oh yeah, and doing his job on the side, and also dealing with pets, repair people, telephone solicitors,
    that bad toilet, putting gas in the car, the supermarket, someone’s nightmare, someone else’s need for ice cream, and the rodent the cat brought in. which isn’t dead yet.]

  30. BitingBeaver

    And don’t forget that in addition to all the crap we have to go through just to get the food that we’ll ultimately cook we also have to hear honks and hoots and hollers and be visually assaulted by males of all ages when we venture into the refrigerated section and our nipples get hard because of the drop in temperature.

    Because, you know, if our nipples get hard in the refrigerated section we’re just asking to be ogled.

    Bah the Patriarchy, fuck it and all of it’s incarnations.

  31. Maryscott OConnor

    Wordgirl, so true, so true.

    That was a KILLER comment, in toto.

    As for me, I am a stay-home parent, not so much by choice as by necessity. And I SUCK at it. I suck at nearly every single aspect of stay-home parenting. The cleaning — well, I suck at that because I HATE it, not because I’m incapable of doing it well. The shopping — well, I’m actually really fucking good at that, but I hate doing it, anyway.

    But the cooking. OH, BUT THE COOKING. There are simply not enough expletives.

    I can feed you, make no mistake. But there is NO guarantee it will be a pleasnt experience for you, and I DO guarantee you it was NOT a pleasant experience for me.

    This is the kind of suckage I reach, when it comes to cooking:

    I can cook a dish with 3 ingredients, a dish I’ve made hundreds and hundreds of times before…

    and fuck it up.

    Now, usually, it’s the same dish it always is. Tolerable, basically nutritious. But every once in a while, inexplicably, I manage to fuck up a dish comprised of noodles, meat and canned soup.

    THAT, my friends, is someone who can’t cook. Who, if there were any justice in this wretched world, would NEVER be required to enter a kitchen at all, let alone fill it with groceries and come up with different ways to heat and mix and distribute said groceries.

    But there ISN’T any justice in this wretched world, now, is there?

    No. There isn’t.

    I blame the patriarchy.

  32. Anna

    I only cook for more than 15 minutes if I’m having friends over. Here’s my most common meal:

    Boil water. Put in some frozen meatballs. Put in some three minute macaroni. Put in some frozen vegetable mix (it’s called american vegetable mix) of peas, maise and red peppers. Take out the tomato and olive pasta-sauce from the fridge. Take pot from stove and pour away the water. Put in some pasta-sauce. Eat with spoon from pot (less dishes to be made) in bed with a good book or in front of the computer or TV.

    Did I happen to say that I’m a student? ;-)

  33. masaccio

    That article in the NYT on the jailing of this guy was strange: it did not describe what exactly he says in the article that constituted blasphemy. Where did you find it?

  34. weeza

    Ramsey also admitted on tv that he had never changed any of his children’s nappies because he cooked with his hands and couldn’t afford to get shit on them. It was a comedy programme, but oddly none of the audience found it funny.

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