Guilty As Charged

31 Jan

When I started this blog, I was fresh out of grad school, jobless, and living with my boyfriend, Mike, in Pennsylvania.  I’ve gotten into thousands of fights about what the roles of both men and women should be.  Recently, I offended my friend, Jarvis, who is an incredible writer and professor of Creative Writing in Maryland.  He posted a picture of a stack of papers and a two lap-top set up, and underneath, he wrote, “Man’s work.”  Just joking around (as I have joked with Jarvis about this on multiple occasions), I said, “Where’s the tool belt?”  Of course, I was insinuating that men do hard labor.  Which is not at all the case all the time.

Mike, my darling boyfriend, has been known to say (upon seeing me drool over construction workers, mechanics, and farmers), “I need a man’s job.”  Now, when I look at Mike, I see nothing but MAN.  He’s a GIS technician who maps the land, hunts, fishes, fixes things, builds things, takes care of me, and so much more.  Mike IS a man.  And he certainly does man’s work.

So is Jarvis.

But I’m getting away from myself.  I’ve always been one to appreciate gender roles.  I found this article talking about how Generation Y (me) women don’t know how to do certain things the way we did before.  I don’t know how to cook a pot roast.  I probably should.  And if you’ll remember, I previously wrote about how I CANNOT STAND COOKING FOR MYSELF!

Mike tells me I’m a hypocrite–that I love this idea of a woman cooking for her man and taking care of a house and babies and ladeeda.    Unfortunately, he has a point.  Something along the lines of, “For someone who rejoices in the idea of a housewife, you sure don’t take on the responsibilities.”

He’s right.  And for a long time I fought this.  I said I wouldn’t learn to cook unless I had a reason to–that being that he asked me to marry him and I would cook for someone other than myself.  But I guess this is the time to practice.

When Mom married Dad, she made Mrs. Grass’s soup for almost two years…unless Dad cooked.  I want to be able to cook; it’s just so hard without a goal in mind.  So I’ll quit saying, “Give me a reason, and I’ll learn how to cook,” and maybe I’ll actually just start cooking.

Any good recipe ideas for beginners?  Mike likes bacon.


Posted by on January 31, 2011 in Domesticity


Tags: , , ,

12 responses to “Guilty As Charged

  1. Joline Scott

    January 31, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    I am a young, College Professor with four bachelor’s degrees. I live with my boyfriend, who is a cook by profession. I never cook….it’s not that I don’t know how, I do, and it’s not always that I’m not willing (cause once in a while I am, like on holidays) it’s just that he’s so much better at it than I am. I understand why we tend to think the woman should cook. (One of those degrees is in Evolutionary Anthropological Psychology) In today’s society, though, I think whoever is best suited for the job (whether because they’re more skilled or because they simply enjoy it more) should be the one to do the job. He cooks – I clean the litter pans. It works.

    • erica42285

      January 31, 2011 at 1:51 pm

      Hey Joline! It’s just that I always said I wanted to be able to do those things for him. And believe me, he’s a helluva cook. And I do all the cleaning, too. I love doing it–the dishes, the laundry, the general housekeeping. I just want to be ABLE to. You’re good to go, though. 🙂 You’re able. I gotta get to that point.

      • Joline

        January 31, 2011 at 2:45 pm

        LOL. Now that you’re back in Ohio, we should get together. I’m still based in Ashland. You can come over to my house and I’ll teach you a few recipes!!

  2. Beki

    January 31, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    10–15 minute steak & potatoes w/ pan sauce

    Wash potatoes, wrap well in saran wrap, place in microwave
    Rinse eye of round steak and trim fat
    Heat small frying pan (preferably cast iron) around medium, add small amount of oil or butter
    When pan is hot, add seasoning and steak
    Turn on microwave for 5 minutes
    Cook steak till edges are brown/crusty (should be about 5 minutes)
    Turn steak, turn potatoes, set microwave another 5 minutes
    When other side is done, remove steak to plate.
    Add about 1/4 cup wine to pan (merlot is great), scrape pan to mix in steak leavin’s (yum)
    Remove potatoes, unwrap, arrange on plate and slice tops
    Add butter to wine in pan, let melt SLIGHTLY, mix gently
    Pour pan sauce & butter slices onto potatoes, pour a little remaining pan sauce on steak

    Takes a little practice to get your method down. 🙂 Steak should be browned outside, dark brown/crusty edges, a little pink inside.

    My best advice is to learn a couple solid methods (like how to cook a steak properly), then get creative. You can cook straight out of a book but the best meals are 75% improvisation. Also, don’t be afraid to cut corners. I make a damn good stir-fry with Ramen ingredients and my pasta sauce base is Ragu. Less prep = more motivation.

    • erica42285

      January 31, 2011 at 2:17 pm

      That sounds freaking DIVINE. I’ll do that. 🙂 Baker loves beef and potatoes, and I love wine, so this oughta be a hit. Thanks, Beki!

      • Beki

        January 31, 2011 at 2:19 pm

        No prob. 🙂 I’m gluten-free now so I eat this every other night ha ha. Best part is it’s cheap as hell!

  3. Christopher

    January 31, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    Ah. I see the problem here. Don’t worry, we have this problem at our house.
    There really aren’t clearly defined “Men’s Roles” and “Women’s Roles” the way there used to be. It has kind of turned into “Your Role” and “My Role”, which is more flexible for some folks than for others.
    YOUR problem is you have no problem with your “Role” being house-lady stuff. The catch is, you want to decide it for yourself. You don’t want to be told by parents, society, or a man what your “Role” is.
    There’s nothing wrong with that. Now you just need to decide for yourself what you want to take on as part of your “Role”.
    At our house, putting up light fixtures, cleaning cobwebs in the basement, adjusting the hot water tank, and anything that involves shutting the power or water on and off are part of my “Role”. Some of this has to do with my Wifey’s desire to have nothing to do with the electric and water supplies at our house. The rest is basically that I do what needs done and I’m comfortable doing it. I also have to wash the dishes and cook about half the time. I never do any of the laundry though. I won’t lie, I don’t do it because things shrink (don’t ask me, I’m doing what I did in college and things didn’t shrink then.)
    The thing is, we have decided (or settled, either way) into these “Roles” together. How do you think things would have gone if I had told Aimee “Hope you like laundry ‘cuz I ain’t doin’ that crap”? I suspect I’d be doing my own laundry if I wanted anything clean.
    There’s nothing wrong with a couple where the woman cooks and cleans and the man works in the yard and fixes things with tools. There’s also nothing wrong with a couple where the man grills and the woman who mows the lawn.
    The question is: What do YOU want to do, and can he live with that?


    • erica42285

      January 31, 2011 at 3:25 pm

      Oh Pockets, you make a lot of sense.

      Baker doesn’t expect me to do anything I don’t want to do. I romanticize the idea of a housewife. But the truth is, if someone ever took this job away from me, I’d be PISSED. I love love love this place, and I love working, and feeling like I’m contributing to society, and to the good of this company.

      But of course I want babies. And I want to have recipes that make my husband drool at the idea of them. And I want my kids to brag about my cookies. It’s just a matter of finally stepping up to the plate and doing what I want to do. It’s just so much easier when there’s someone there to do it for.

      Cheers to you!

      • Christopher

        January 31, 2011 at 3:43 pm

        You’re very similar to my Wife. You’re stubborn and headstrong and want to make these decision for yourself.
        I suppose at the end of the day that’s why I Love her and luv you too.
        I have complete and utter faith that you will get it all figured out and find a nice balance.

  4. dani

    January 31, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    listen you – i am NOT a cook. i hate to cook, im not good at it. im the “housewife” around here for sure – ken does dishes, laundry, and he cooks most of our meals. hes good at cooking and fairly enjoys it. he hates the way i load the dishwasher and he doesnt mind laundry – most of this is because he lived in this house 10 years before i ever came along but all in all, we each put in our fair share one way or the other – when im not shooting im home with the kids and the house – so while im here more, we both put in the time with different things.

    he can be the chef, you can be the pretty lady at his table =) maybe? *wink*

  5. Jenny P.

    January 31, 2011 at 6:55 pm

    buy a crock pot! i got one at the thrift store last summer for 2 bucks and it was AWESOME. you can throw anything into it in the morning (not socks, though), and by the time you come home at night it’ll be hot, soft, and tasty. easy, effortless, and still considered cooking (i think)

  6. Erin Seabolt Bond

    January 31, 2011 at 7:31 pm

    I like “Pockets'” perspective. It’s about choice. But it seems like more and more, women don’t have a whole lot of choice in the matter. I don’t know a ton of people who can live comfortably off of one income (the man’s) to allow the wife to stay home. And there is the cultural expectation that the wife will work full-time out of the home, at least until kids come along. (And then what fun is not having a job–you have a full-time+++ one at home!) I guess I want it all: the cultural expectation that the man should provide for the wife to stay at home and write if she wants to (teehee) but with the asterisk that says we can work if that’s what we’d prefer.

    I love that you talk about these things. 🙂

    As for cooking, find a girlfriend nearby who likes to cook and then put on dinner parties for people. Or when Mike visits, make a point to try out a new recipe. Practice makes perfect. But I’m like you–I have a hard time cooking for one.


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