Women In The Kitchen



As a girl, I remember the women gathered in the kitchen to prepare big family dinners and during canning season. Until I was old enough to help (+/- 6 years old), I wasn’t allowed to ‘get under foot’. It was too dangerous with that much action going on! As soon as I could be of help, I was welcomed with open arms.

This was where I learned to use a peeler and a small paring knife on carrots, potatoes, and other root crops. As children we learned to shell peas and lima beans, shuck corn, and peel long strips of skin from apples to throw over our shoulder. Climbing up on a stool, puddings were stirred and all sorts of cooking skills were absorbed from Mother, Aunts, and older cousins.

Being in the kitchen with the women was a priviledge to be treasured.  It was a time and a place when men were busy with other things and women could talk to each other without having to explain themselves. The topics were varied and intimate, cosy and caustic, and you had to remember to keep your mouth shut or someone would say over the top of your head: “Little pitchers have big ears!” and all the juicy bits would stop!

As a teenager, I suddenly stopped liking the kitchen with all the women. I wanted to be with the boys and felt terribly put-upon to have to do all this cooking and kitchen work. Why didn’t THEY have to do it too? It was particularly hard when the work men used to do while women were in the kitchen no longer took place. Now they were watching TV, drinking beer, and laughing while we were working. Humph!

As I got older I began to value this time with other women as being a wonderful way to be by ourselves, together. There is a freedom in this – a freedom of thought, a freedom of speech and ideas, a freedom to truely be who you are without censorship or misunderstanding. I appreciated the companionship of women as I never had before.

Now, as my family grows up and forms their own families, the men are in the kitchen as much as the women. This is a more equal relationship/partnership and shares the work load among us all. I love the idea that the women can go out in the backyard, have a beer and laugh while the men fix dinner. I love the way these men are actively caring for the children. The family community seems more accepting of us all and all that we are.

However, I have come to realize both women and men still need the relaxed company of being with their peers, men with men, women with women, as some sorts of talk and understanding only comes this way. Bottom line, we are different. Blessings on those differences; blessings on my girl friends!

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