Despite what stereotypes might dictate, I am a twenty-something year old Latina who is basically useless in the home.
My mother tried to teach me at a young age. I was stubborn, however, and being the mini-nerd that I was, I had bought 25 cent copies of Betty Friedan’s “The Feminine Mystique” and other feminist theory books from the local library bins, so I refused to learn anything I considered sexist. I was in 4th grade when I argued with my mother because I had to clean the bathrooms while my brother got to mow the lawn. For family BBQs, my mom asked me to help prepare the food while my brother gathered the firewood. I refused. As a result, I learned to do nothing and my brother is now a better cleaner and cook than me.
Last year, I got to travel around the country for work. I had a lot of fun, but I ate out constantly and ended up gaining a lot of weight. When I got back home I decided it was time I learned to cook for myself so I could watch what I was putting into my body. Now, I knew some basics: I could boil water. I could make a sandwich. I could chop a vegetable. I could heat up a cup of noodles. But that was about it.
I started with small steps, trying to build on the few skills I already had. Chicken stew seemed like a good place to start. I put a chicken in some water, chopped some veggies and let it boil. Easy! Except I forgot I had it on. When I finally remembered and went to go check on it, it was more like charbroiled chicken, or Pollo al Carbon.
So, I stuck to baking. I could just put the oven on a timer and that way if I forgot, it wouldn’t burn. So I made some tasty roasted veggies and steak, but I spilled most of it in the oven. Luckily, my oven had a Auto-Clean button. Cha-ching.
Or so I thought… How was I supposed to know that if I push that button, the oven door locks and the whole house smokes up? I live in a 3 story house and the fire alarms on all 3 floors went off. For about half an hour. My roommate was not a happy camper.
I regret not having learned from my mother when she tried to teach me. The older I grow the more I realize my mom is really a wise old owl. Now, I’m going to have to eat out the rest of my life, pay to have someone clean for me, or end up burning my house.