Latinas Who Don’t Cook – Am I Woman Enough?

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I’m the first to admit – I don’t cook. I do the necessary to survive, but I leave the real cooking to my husband and other people who know what they are doing. And I’m not the only Latina with this “problem”: my friend Libby wrote about how the lack of passion for cooking  makes people doubt our “Latinaness”, because one of the characteristics that go hand in hand with being Latina, is a passion for cooking: Mi abuela used to clap her hands in joy whenever I cooked or baked something at home, saying, “ahora te podes casar”  (now you can get married). I did get married recently, but my cooking skills had little to do with it.

Am I woman enough?
My father actually taught me how to iron a suit properly and how to tie a tie, so that I would know how to handle my husband’s clothes. Need I say that I don’t iron at all and that I couldn’t tie a tie to save my life? Not because of spite or because it seems particularly difficult, but because there were other things I wanted to learn that seemed more useful, more exciting, and like a better use of my time.

Growing up, mi abuela and my father often celebrated the things that in their eyes made me a traditional latina, a traditional woman: to cook, to take care of the household and tend to the family, to look feminine, to listen to the man of the house… I tried for a long time to please my family and be good at these things, but I had this uncomfort growing inside me, a feeling that life wasn’t supposed to be centered around these things. And I questioned it, and I revolted. Being shushed because a man doesn’t agree with me or doesn’t like what I have to say was not how my mother raised me, and for that I am forever thankful to her. But not fitting into the role strained the relationships with that part of the family. 

 Latinas, and women in general, of today are so much more than the traditonal roles of those who came before us (much thanks to courageous women who cleared the path for us), but that doesn’t mean that we don’t often face the same struggles, the same hardships and the same prejudices. Women who don’t fit into the role, who want more and want to go their own ways, will often have to face the question if they are women enough. 

 But that’s not the question that really matters, or that even matters a little…

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8 thoughts on “Latinas Who Don’t Cook – Am I Woman Enough?

    Nicolle Morales Kern said:
    November 3, 2011 at 23:01

    I think it’s a shame that cooking is tied to the “traditional” roll of women, since I feel that might lead to an aversion to cooking, especially if it’s feels like a chore or something you “have” to do as you mentioned.
    I was raised by my mom and she’s a wonderful cook, so I’ve been spoiled. I used to help her out and always preferred baking, but I never really explored the wonders of cooking until this past year, when I moved in with my boyfriend (when I lived by myself I was always to lazy to really cook). At first he cooked most of the time, but then I started experimenting and really got into cooking and now I love it. It relaxes me and I love creating delicious meals – which led to my blog 🙂
    Cooking, as with anything, takes practice. You shouldn’t cook because it’s expected (and there’s nothing sexier than a guy who can cook), but because you want to and enjoy cooking.

      Jennifer Larancuent responded:
      November 3, 2011 at 23:10

      thanks for your comment and I absolutely agree. I’m starting to enjoy cooking more and more thanks to my husband, but I still prefer baking 🙂

      And I would also like it if there weren’t all these expectations of what a woman should be and not be,,,,

    Catalina said:
    November 4, 2011 at 00:43

    I can relate to the pressures of measuring up to the traditional role. It’s tough! Plus I don’t believe in ironing, it’s a waste of time. If my clothes are particularly badly wrinkled my husband will have mercy on me and do it for me. My family finds this amusing while my in-laws think it’s shameful that I “make” him do women’s work. You just have to take it in stride.

      Jennifer Larancuent responded:
      November 4, 2011 at 00:50

      absolutely – ironing is a waste of time!

      I tried taking it in strides, but there wasn’t any real compromise. la cosas de la vida, no?

    Carrie said:
    November 6, 2011 at 20:55

    Well, my Cuban mom rebelled on the cooking thing more than 40-years ago and she was/is criticized for it….I grew up eating Cantina! (And, my American husband taught me to cook when I was 28…)

    No worries, mi’ja…people who like to complain, criticize always will find something to talk about.

    Happy to have found you.

      Jennifer Larancuent responded:
      November 7, 2011 at 16:33

      Happy to hear there are more of my kind out there Carrie!

      and thanks, I’m happy you found your way here

    unknownmami said:
    November 7, 2011 at 04:33

    I am passionate about eating, but not about cooking. I went out of my way not to learn certain things because it felt like leaning them was a sort of imprisonment. I can cook, but I’d rather eat my husbands cooking. I can iron, but I don’t and if my husband needs his clothes ironed he is perfectly capable of burning them himself.

    Great post.

      Jennifer Larancuent responded:
      November 7, 2011 at 16:34

      A woman I can relate to 🙂

      Muchas gracias!

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