It’s true. I’m a 30-something female and I don’t cook. I am aware this is unusual and very slightly lazy, but it’s certainly not something I feel the need to change about myself.
I often make the mistake of telling other people this. I tell people as if it were an amusing fact about me. But apparently it’s not amusing. I have had women of all ages and social standings staring at me as if my combined inability and disinclination to cook makes me in some way unclean, not quite suitable to visit their house or be around their children.
Only once have I met a woman of my own age who has told me that she also does not cook. I think we felt a little solidarity in finally meeting each other. I didn’t even realise she was like me to start with, because we met at someone else’s house and she was doing an excellent job of chopping up meat for dinner. All jobs had been allocated by the time I arrived, so I just stood around awkwardly with a glass of wine.
And here’s a point.. it is mainly women who make me feel awkward. Men, in general, don’t. They generally take my view that me not cooking is slightly pathetic, a bit lazy, but not really important. Do men ever have a ‘bring a plate party’? No. When invited to a ‘bring a plate party’, does a man who has a wife or girlfriend ever bring his own plate? Very, very rarely!
The bringing of a plate to a function fills me with dread. The bringing of any kind of ready-to-eat or ready-to-shove-in-the-oven plate, especially from one of the big two supermarkets, is just not looked upon with the same appreciation. The expectations heaped on by the announcement of a ‘bring a plate lunch’ at work is actually a kind of workplace torture for me.
I would like to take this opportunity to address some of the questions and criticisms that have been levied at me over the years:
Jane Blogs: So what do you eat then?
Me: There are many wonderful and reasonably priced takeaways near my home. On weekdays I might just enjoy a quick microwave meal from the supermarket. Or anything that is easy to prepare at home without actually cooking.
Jane Blogs: That’s very unhealthy you know.
Me: Why? I eat plenty of salads, especially in the summer months, and vegetable soups in the winter.
Jane Blogs: But those microwave meals are full of so many bad things!
Me: Yeah, I agree, they’re not the best. All pre-processed and frozen and stuff. But may I draw your attention to the various processed snacks that you tuck into through the day, aside from your main meal.
Jane Blogs: But cooking isn’t hard, and it’s fun!
Me: Sometimes I feel inspired to cook something, and then yes it is fun. Day in, day out, it’s not fun for me. Cooking is not something I want to concentrate on after a long day at work. We are all different. There are things in life that I find easy, that you seem to find inexplicably hard.
This post was written whilst watching Ready, Steady Cook and tucking into a Lean Cuisine lasagne.
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Nicki Ranger is a freelance writer currently based in Perth, Western Australia.
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