Friday, March 7, 2008

accountability & cooking

For my very very first blog post ever, I'm going to share something that has been bothering me for a while. Recently, a coworker of mine mentioned that his wife was out of town and consequently, that he and his three sons were going to eat nothing but ramen and frozen pizza while she was gone. When some coworkers and I suggested some very simple things he could do to make the ramen marginally more nutritional, he protested, "That takes cooking. I can't cook. That's my wife's job." In other words, he can't and won't cook for his kids because he's a man; cooking is the responsibility of women.

Aside from my beliefs about Americans' increasing lack of culinary skills, the sentiment that my coworker was expressing is fairly abhorrent. As a human being, you ought to be able to feed yourself, but if you want to eat shitty, fatty food lacking in any redeemable nutritional value, fine. As a parent, you ought to be able to feed your kids, and it is not ok to feed them shitty food because you find the idea of cooking emasculating. My coworker should be setting an example of self-sufficiency to his kids (and perhaps he should also be setting an example of good parenting, but there is clearly no hope for that).

Essentially, I see the ability to cook as a measure of self-sufficiency. I think I'm probably not alone on this. I would extend this idea to say that the ability to cook is an aspect of personal sovereignty. I think that we need to be able to make the decisions that most affect us ourselves, we need to be aware of the decisions we are making for ourselves, and we need to be responsible for the decisions that we are making for ourselves. Sustenance and nourishment are a fundamental part of this. I'm not saying that all human beings ought to cook every meal for themselves, but I am saying that we all ought to be able to. On the most basic level this is an issue of accountability. If you are able to make the decisions that most greatly impact your life, you must also be accountable for those decisions. I guess I just don't see the inability to cook for yourself as a way of being accountable to yourself. Plus, I don't like this particular coworker, and this gives me one more reason to think that he is a total dink.