12.6.06

Taming the Shrew

As a woman who has always focused energies on excelling in academia, I have more than neglected all things domestic. In fact, I have pretty much ignored it all. I can solve simultaneous equations, normalise databases and program in Java but ask me to cook a kick-ass curry and I’m gonna stall. But these days, this is simply not good enough. Women are expected to graduate from university with first class degrees whilst acquiring the skills of a masterclass chef in order to become what all the mummies want for their darling sons; The Perfect Wife. Well damnit, I’m sorry but I just couldn’t do it. Well, actually, I’m pretty sure I could have done it, it’s that I didn’t feel the need or inclination to do it. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t planning to become some high-flying career woman, plotting world domination (not least because I didn’t have a sidekick) but I did feel the need to put my studies before the cooking and the sewing and the dressing demurely and femininely. I mean, I didn’t even learn how to use eyeliner, the staple of Asian makeup, before the age of 22! 

So now that I’m of marriageable age, what am I going to do? (Yes, I hear you, 18 is “of marriageable age”, 24 is nearing “on the shelf” but allow me my small mercies, okay?) Well, there simply isn’t a choice; you have to learn how to cook, I’ve been told for the past few years and I’ve given it a shot a few times and praise the lord, I didn’t poison the whole family. Sure, I gave them dysentery for a week but what’s that compared to a slow, painful death? Ok, no, just kidding, I didn’t really give them dysentery but my cooking is “hit and miss” at best. I almost wonder if I should bother since my God-given nature refuses to believe that I should be docile, meek and submissive to a man, all qualities of the woman I’m becoming to despise ever increasingly (yes, The Perfect Wife) but since I can’t be all those things, I guess I should at the very least get the cooking thing down to a pat.
I know that practise makes perfect and that’s what I plan to do. And I’m of the school of thought where, “If you’re going to do something, you may as well do it right.” So I pulled out an empty book and started writing down the recipes much to the amusement of my family. You see, my mother didn’t learn to cook with a pen and paper but who is to say that I can’t? The sticking point with my sisters was that I wrote down minute details – instead of “Add salt”, I write “Add 70% of a tablespoon of salt,” to which they tell me it’s all relative anyway but I don’t care. They tell me cooking is an art, not a science but I can damn well try to do it that way! And it was working just fine until my mum handed me a small wooden spoon instead of the metal tablespoon I was used to working with at which point my recipe crumbled. I know that the key is figuring out all the powders and the salt relative to the amount of meat or vegetable but I just can’t do it that way yet.

Maybe cooking is an art. Maybe you can’t pick it up by examining the intricate ins and outs of it. Maybe you need to just throw things together and “get the hang of it” but in academia, you don’t do things that way so I’m just not used to it. So right after I finish posting this, I’m going off to Amazon and buying, “50 Great Curries of India”. I’ve been told that if I get down six of the recipes, I’ll be “sorted for life”. And I’m going to buy a set of scales which I will use to measure things accurately to the disdain of my mother but if that method works better that the way she’s been teaching me, well, it’s 1-0 to the undomestic goddesses out there because our way does work.

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