I learned much of what I know about cooking very passively, by absentmindedly watching how my mother handled the kitchen. As a child, I never took much interest in cooking or baking; I was more into arts and crafts. Being in the kitchen was never part of my chores, and it was easier for my mom to get things done quickly and efficiently without a bunch of kids making a big mess. My siblings and I were only expected to take care of our rooms, our personal hygiene and most importantly, to excel at school.
Now that my schooling days are (most probably) over, I have come to realize that many of the skills I developed are not taught in the classroom. What has become of home economics programs and cooking classes at our public schools? As far as I know they are non-existent. If my class spent only one hour a month in the kitchen for the 12 years we spent at school, I would have learned enough to make my life much easier when I became a homemaker myself. Nothing we learn at school prepares us to become good wives/husbands, parents and providers for our families. We are taught so many things except how to lead healthy, happy lives. What a shame.
As all good parents, I try to make up for what I was deprived by providing it for my daughter. She has joined me in the kitchen from the day she mastered walking. She loves it and I love the time we spend together. Memories to last a lifetime. At two and a half she knows the names of all the fruits, veg and pantry supplies, and has memorized the recipe for cupcakes! She loves to read (rather look at the pictures) and cookbooks are very appealing to her. I do not feel that I am molding her into becoming a perfect housewife, or that I am brainwashing her into thinking that a woman’s place is in the kitchen. I am just ingraining in her the attitude to feed herself (and her family should she have one) well.
Boys are often excluded from kitchen activities. What some mothers don’t realize is that their sons will grow up to be men, and all men will find themselves in situations where they’ll need to cook for themselves. Who knows, you’re little one might end up in a university dorm somewhere in Europe or the States. The last thing you would want is for them to be living off of junk food and fast food. No wonder so many Libyan men return with foreign wives in tow! I do not have a son myself, but if I ever do he will be at the counter side by side with his sister.
Ramadan always provides a good opportunity for the whole family to share time together in the kitchen. Coming together over food creates bonds that last a lifetime. I leave you with this wish from my kitchen hero Jamie Oliver:
I wish for everyone to help create a strong, sustainable movement to educate every child about food, inspire families to cook again and empower people everywhere to fight obesity. Jamie Oliver, TED 2010
I’m with you Jamie!
To learn more about Jamie Oliver and his “Food Revolution” please visit http://www.jamieoliver.com/campaigns/