I assumed that every guy who owned a car could change a flat tire without the help of AA. I assumed all women could cook. It was stupid but I suffer the occasional lapses. The result of my absentmindedness has been some very trying culinary experiences.
That is why these days when I date, I never let her cook. For a start I am no risk taker and secondly I am too fond of food to take its preparation lightly. Above and beyond, you cannot be presumptuous anymore. These are not the heydays when grandmothers, mothers, aunts, sisters and friendly female neighbours took to cooking with zeal. Those women made ugali and sukuma wiki a delicious fare regardless of its lowly station in the food chain. Try and imagine what they did with the chicken. Indeed, you never realize the value of good cooking until you taste bland food served by a loving wife.
Before we drag this into a gender squabble, I would like to say that cooking today is just another basic requirement that every adult male embraces. Okay, that’s not entirely accurate. While most bachelors have since graduated from making tea and frying eggs, many continue to abscond and scuttle off into the illusionary comforts of marriage, while some remain addicted to sneaking in and out of their mothers’ kitchens. Traditionally we have been passed along like the flu from one female to another. The lateral movement, from one kitchen to the next has helped perpetuate the belief that men cannot self-feed.
These are some of the roadblocks in the path towards new age male liberation. Until, Kenyan men take control of their culinary destiny, by taking charge of their own nutrition, we will remain thoroughly vulnerable to manipulation and gout. You do realize that the disturbing majority of the gout sufferers are married men running away from their wives cooking. Sadly, lots of guys are locked into arrangements that are not nutritionally sound.
Fortunately, there is escape for the growing group of forward thinking blokes who refuse to take personal nutrition lightly. Interestingly the motivation factor on many occasions has largely been inedible food presented by the willing but often inept female.
I had been dating this otherwise lovable woman for about five days when it happened. It was one of those mid month situations and I was not a position to take her out to a Chinese restaurant for steamed rice and lightly fried greens served in fake oriental atmosphere at some very pocket-unfriendly prices. Nevertheless, necessity is the mother of invention so I proposed a candle lit dinner at my place. The candle was standard back up in case of a scheduled power blackout. These are tactics routinely applied by struggling romantics. Eager to make a lasting first date impression, I unleashed my Khmer style, coconut flavored, veggie curry with yummy chapos (chapatti) off the pan on her palates. It was love from the first spoonful. It beats me why guys spend long hours in the gym building biceps. A tasty curry will earn one a lot more mileage. Two days later, she tried to reciprocate with dinner at her place and it tasted like revenge. Red wine, sticky rice and burnt meat! What was she thinking? It was a quick tongue numbing experience I have no intention of repeating.
Nonetheless, bad cooking is often preceded by good intentions. In need to impress sometimes the Johnny-come-lately girls take it overboard. I have watched this sort of woman go about her thing with nothing short of enthrallment. If only the meal was as great as the PR. “Have you ever tried Hungarian goulash with coriander?’ It is the kind of cuisine title that grabs your attention until you discover that Coriander is just a fancy name for dania powder. Culinary critics may give goulash rave reviews but I know an average stew when I taste one.
At the height of this absurdity, is the severe need to go exotic, with any means necessary. Sophisticated dining and ignorance have always been at loggerheads. The glossy magazine says boysen berries are the toast of the season but the pampered local blonde forgets that we live in the tropics. Expensive and exotic equates good. Kitchen shelves will be lined up with clearly visible imported labels. Dried out saffron, stale olive oils, mace and marjoram powder, meat tenderizer and cheap vinegar on the verge of expiry. It passes for an intimidating display until the shallot soup is presented. Nothing but MSG flavored water with a dash of shallots (a big word for small onions)! A well-done Boilo would show shallot soup dust in any taste contest. Salads will be over chopped and smothered in a mayo based dressing, summarily killing any good coming from the greens. Eating roughage has never been more uninteresting. As for the soggy lasagna, all I can say is let’s us stick to what we know.
This is the kind of incompetence that I will not stomach even at the behest of love. That some women can’t put together a standard protein and carbs mixture at short notice is simply unfortunate, especially given their clearly evident fondness for grub. Look around. The girls are not becoming any smaller.
It appears to be another case of reversed roles only that while men were busy rolling up their sleeves, exploring new frontiers, several women folded their arms across their chests and regressed. Two reasons could be attributed to this reversal. The first is the emergence of maids who dutifully stepped in to play the woman’s role in the household. The second is that feminists successfully propagated the belief that successful career management and domestic skills had to be kept estranged. My! What a fine mess they created.
It’s depressing that some of our women think they can talk their way out of bad cooking, expecting the same sort of amnesty that was handed out when potbellies became commonplace. A woman, who can’t cook, is likely to endanger a budding relationship.
45 thoughts on “What happened to women who could cook?”
Mr Pala, you are illuminating and infuriating in equal measure, and its brilliant!
Did the feminists convince us that domestic management was outdated and unnecessary? Perhaps, but I think it was more a case as wanting to be seen as ‘modern’ women, totally unlike our mothers who spent their lives (seemingly) shackled to the stove. Shock on us when we realise our mothers knew more than we thought…
And its not just men who suffer the bad wanna-be exotic cooking, I’ve been for dinners at girlfriends’ houses that have driven me to tears. My rule of thumb, if you’re invited for dinner, have a meal first, just to be on the safe side.
Seriously Mr. Pala, are we that bad? I can’t do Hungarian goulash with coriander, I have no idea what that is but I can do boilo…everything chopped, add water and salt and let it boil until tender…hahaa
Interesting read, I must look out for exotic recipe online and try soon..
Maria, play safe and stick to bolio. All else fails, hire a cook.
Let me stick with Mama Akodhe…Its always safer that way…
i feel you bro, one cooked stew chicken and dropped cuttings of smokies inside.. i couldnt eat that.. n she had the nerve to get angry that i wasted her efforts.i slammed that door never to knock at it again…
Yap, better safe than sorry.
The problem was the smokies. They are so bad that they are a sure disaster for any recipe.
hahaha…this one really tickled me, an advice to fellow men, if you trully value your diet, go down to the coast and get your wife from there, am a chef by profession but I never complain when am on holiday, my wife makes one of the best meals have ever eaten, and on very rare occassion will you find me doing nyam-chom …
“it tasted like revenge. Red wine, sticky rice and burnt meat!” I died.
You know what happened to women who can cook? The same thing that happened to gentlemen..
I suppose, all going extinct like the last lions of Nairobi.
We are in the 22nd century . If the man is the better cook let him do the cooking. Not all women are gifted in cooking while some men are great cooks.
We are in the 22nd century, not all men can change a flat tire. Some women are gifted at changing tires…
Thing is i can cook..very well but the men will still don’t take that into account as they are pounding my heart that i put in their shirt pocket with an ice pickle..write an article of how the men can have a complete package but still have wavering thoughts and wandering eyes. How its more important to go out for a night with the boys than to enjoy my warm body,intriguing mind and culinary gifts.and No i’m not a nag but please OP indulge us good women.
my point is…as long as you men are not ready for commitment,you will find a reason and an excuse,you can teach her how to cook.that will be a nice way to spend time as lovers but don’t expect a ready made woman when most of you are only half baked and blame it on a woman’s shortcomings.
interesting read, but what’s the solution though? should women better balance their careers and home life, should men up their interest in cooking?
I think it is a bit of both. For women to understand the value of pre-existing societal roles as nurturers of family as symbolized by the kitchen and for men to evolve and adapt relevant skills as culture shifts and their role in the home becomes more hands on.
Agreed. I also think parents need to adopt these shifts. i think more and more parents are pushing their children away from the kitchen and into the office. Therefore skills once learned as part of growing up.i.e chores, cooking and so on, have been pushed aside to meet the demands of competitive education systems and their own desires for their children. Balance is required, both excelling in the office and in the home.
I prefer to remain in my comfort zone, boiled rice/ golden chapos, simple stew and steamed vegetables and a fruit salad. Never disappoints
buhahaha…Pala, the grey matter in your skull should be reserved for future generations!
‘..A well-done Boilo would show shallot soup dust in any taste contest..’
Havent read any of your stuff in so long. Great to have you back. This is a good read. Keep it up.
@OP. Cheers. Nice to be back in circulation.
One word Interestingly true!! :D,
but OP, I believe that women are not Super-Women!! Balancing between Career and Home-Making is almost like an Art, very few have mastered it. A domestic helper is much appreciated.
@ Valerie, thats true, yes. But bottom line is men still prefer a woman who can cook. Thats just simple, Its not a matter of commitment, just men & their love for good food.
Good work OP!! Women should learn to cook, great food!.
“while some remain addicted to sneaking in and out of their mothers’ kitchens.” OP I wonder where the son’s will be sneaking to if their mothers’ can’t cook a good meal.
That’s where fast food comes in. Cheers
o.p,this is a brilliant read.awesome piece right there n u just nailed it.’look around.the girls aren’t becoming any smaller.’it’s both entertaining and informative.glad to have finally found your blog.keep up!
The funniest part about this for me as a woman is that I agree with you. What happened to women who could cook? Women who could whip up something that is distinctly Kenyan and tasting great!! (Keep in mind I am a chef. Thus I’m allowed to hate!)
Is it really that serious or important that a woman should be able to cook? Loved the post….but a good meal is just a plus not a requirement.
Cooking good food is important.It plays a huge role than we give it credit for,one,your man will always be looking forward to come home;two;your children will proudly invite their friends over,an opportunity to know them;three,your family remains healthy as they are less tempted to do fast food since they can get it all at home.balancing career and family is trick but commitment makes it possible.take advantage of technology,invest in good home appliances,preboil/blunch what needs to be preboiled and freeze,when you come home all tired during the week,you quickly put something together and only make the special elaborate meals over the weekend.The househelp should learn how to make food from the lady of the home and not the other way round.good one OP.I agree.
I agree, women (at least most), should be able to cook
Good food is similar to a warm beauty next to me in my life, in my bed. If I can’t get that at home, why can’t I look for it elsewhere? In the long term, a relationship will be strained if these two miss
How will these gals learn how to cook a manly meal when their understanding of “equality” is a chronic allergy to cooking like their mums and a high affinity to drinking like their dads!
OP, glad to have finally found your works, thanks to my friend gal who loves to hate you!!
Look around women are not getting smaller and this is shocking considering they do not know how to cook?? Hm. Well that was pretty mean don’t you think? ( No, I am not a pathetic fat woman who enjoys participating in online discussions where I feel attacked because I am insecure) I just think the idea implied by that line is just mean.
I am glad to finally realize that you came back online. It is true not many of us women can cook well but lets be realistic. Times have changed. We are in times where women have to work in order to put food on the table for their families. I would be very happy to spend my days in the house taking care of my family and perfecting my culinary skills than waking up at 4 am to go to work simply because I have to meet my half of the monthly bills. So as we bash our girlfriends and wives on how they have failed to perfect the art of cooking or failed to be the perfect housewives, let us also look into how our men have failed to meet their obligations and how it has affected the roles of the genders in the marital setup.
I always find this comparison discomfiting. (The-what-the-men are-not-doing Vs what-women-must-do debate) If men fail, should we too? Please note i do not in any way excuse men to be careless & not play their roles. I hold the opinion that men must be responsible & all that.
My belief however, which of course may differ from yours, is that a woman forms stability in the home. Women are naturally nurturers, so after we shut our laptops and go home, we must go home and be the nurturers that God, through nature created us to be.
Think of our mothers. I am lucky to have had a responsible dad but i know may people who were it not for their mums, would have been useless in this life. I hope our children can say that of us. I am worried already.
My two cents.
In our defense.. some of us can cook! And i believe every woman should know how. If you must, use cook books..
Great read right there…a good throwback to your mantalk articles that I couldnt miss for anything…and I agree, a woman who can cook earns instant bonga points thus making me pay attention. Glad I found this website.
What happened to women who can cook, you ask? Well, one lives with me, is the mother to my child, I love her veeeery much…
Many of my friends are still engaging in short flings because the moment a woman thinks she has her claws into you, she embarks on a journey to “renovate” you – I just cannot tell for the love of God why they cannot just be satisfied with what they have! Valerie up there is complaining about a man wanting to go out with t he boys “instead of enjoying” her warm body. I have a question for her; when you hook up with a dude, do you realistically expect him to become a hermit and ostracize all his boys? I am sometimes egged out of the house because my woman knows and says going out to network and bounce ideas off my pals is important, but I have a friend whose chic gave him an ultimatum about choosing us versus her!
This is good writing….provocative , like the mantalk column we knew and loved.
Now, thing is, a woman will never admit she is not a good cook.
Mr Pala, that I am a fan is an understatement. Timely article. As a woman and an emancipated one at that, I insist that a woman needs to be kitchen goddess. Otherwise what will you feed you children and that man whom you profess to love? Yes, Africa might have cooks that come cheap. But what if you live else where where a cook is the realm of the filthy rich? Before you jump to conclusions, I live in Nairobi.
Oyunga, my grapple is that most people make assumptions about women. I can cook most chefs under the table from that brown sticky ugali served up with scrumptious tilapia that i cleaned myself to my signature pumpkin pecan pie. But it is only my friends, family and colleagues who know that.
Society is unfair to accomplished well put together women. Just because I have enough brain cells and can hold my own anywhere, am eloquent, dress like an Instyle model and can hold an enviable conversation does not mean I can’t cook. Case in point; I am dating this guy and he invited me to his place for the first time and cooked me a meal to die for. I thanked him for it with my heart. A week later while talking on the phone (we live in different countries), he said he was smitten but had to figure out how to get a housekeeper to take care of me if we tied the knot. I was offended mostly because I do not spot a weave that would catch fire in the kitchen neither have I ever adorned fake nails that would limit my scrubbing the floor.
One year later, he knows me better. But just wondering how many of us out there have been misjudged as being spoilt princesses yet we are just plain jane’s from next door.
Just like I have to kiss many frogs before I get my soulmate, so must you eat many off dishes before you clinch Martha Stewart’s twin!
Thanks Linda. We live and learn. Hope to see more of your comments.
Nice read..i will concur with Linda up here. Just as we have to kiss many frogs before landing our prince charming so should you (men) persevere with the horrible burnt meat and mashed rice before you land a Chief Chef if that’s all that compliments a woman. Personal experience, lived with my sisters and went to the kitchen only to do dishes as it was known i could not cook or if i did n esp stew you could taste water before tasting any other flavor… It dawned on me that i will not always be under my family’s shelter neither will they cover up for me forever and when i finally moved out to live on my own reality dawned. I hosted guests i couldn’t cook for so i had to hire someone to chef for me..hehe not interesting at all. solution was enrolling in a cooking class. I cant believe how much fun i have in my kitchen cooking and tryn all sorts of recipes this days. I believe its never too late, just put your heart to it.
You think burnt offerings are awful until someone violates your sensibilities with a dish smokie stew served with undercooked rice.
not all of us were born with a gift or rather talent in the kitchen. so Pala please mind us. as much as am not gifted in the kitchen no stale food, burnt food, saltless or saltful food.
Look around women are not becoming smaller….niiice kazi mzuri