women, love, hate and food are tied up in tight knots. We glow like
candles when people appreciate our cooking. We eat when we are depressed.
We stop eating when we’re in love.
doubt it. Women have an intimate and complex relationship with food.
Moreso than men. Yes, there are overweight men. But we know how they got
there. Too much beer. Too much meat. Not enough exercise. With men, what
you eat is what you get. If they’re fit they like sport and lean meat.
Speak of lean meat and their mind wanders off already. So let’s leave
them there for a while.
women and food. That’s another thing altogether. Remember they are 50
per cent of the world’s population and they are everywhere. Centuries of
growing, harvesting, pickling, baking, roasting, frying, cutting, boiling,
broiling, seasoning, peeling, salting, drying, cracking, straining, has
given us a close relationship with food. For hundreds of years we lived in
our narrow worlds keeping the fires of home and hearth going while our men
played boy games.
fought wars, divided up countries, built forts, killed, murdered,
pillaged, tortured, took prisoners, carved up treaties, conquered and
colonised countries. They also played with machines and invented many
useful things like wheels and planes and not so useful things for their
games such as weapons and nuclear bombs.
women were fettered, our brains and our feet bound, and our sexuality
strictly controlled, without us the human race would have died out long
ago. Because we didn’t have to be distracted from boy games we had to
look in and around us.
began to study colours and textures of vegetables and fruit of plants and
trees. We learned to like the feel of crisp leaves of spinach in our
hands, the round smoothness of a melon, the jagged and pulpy texture of a
sugar apple. We learned lessons about life and human nature from small
things. Like biting into fruit with anticipated pleasure, and learning
some fruit no matter how perfect on the outside could be worm-ridden on
had to stay home and have children and pass on values and culture,
languages and religions, a sense of history and humanity to our human
race. Women did it.
our men were slashing others down, on podiums and trenches, or building
tall buildings to feel important we kneaded and shaped our children’s
bodies hearts and intellects so they could grow bigger than us.
womanly hand once fed, and washed little faces and hands of Plato and
Socrates. Women planted seeds of justice and humanity in the hearts and
minds of great men like Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela.
have shaped the history of the world after all. The biggest irony for us
women is that after we won our battles to vote, study, work, and be equal,
we began to think of domesticity the way men do - with contempt, placing
little value on the many little things women do at home.
of using our new strength to demonstrate to the world that women at home
perform executive jobs, and are excellent managers, we sold our sisters
out. We bought into the male worldview of power and wealth that we
previously knew to be somewhat shallow and egotistical. We began to lose
the little things.
came as a revelation to me one evening in the kitchen while making
spaghetti for dinner. I was watching the whirlpools of salt in bubbling
water while the rain drubbed gently outside, a timid voice in my head
said, “You like this don’t you?”
I replied “Its fun.”
little voice continued. “You like it because it reminds you that your
core is not made up of that rat race at all.” “Well, what is my core
made up of then, since you know so much?” I asked the voice. (I hope not
aloud since I’m still too young to talk to myself.) “Children,
friends, books, travel, music, laughter, family, conversation, words, the
way a child’s red ribbon lights up like a bulb when sunlight hits it.
Learning new stuff, music, swirls of sand and waves, health, lovely faces,
a face that makes your heart thump; dawns, chocolate.”
voice wouldn’t stop. “For years you’ve devalued this work dismissing
it as menial, but see how the stirring and the cutting and the peeling
heals you, gives you back the sharp edge to your senses which were going
dull from lack of use?
are ripe red tomatoes, and green green peppers and the grainy light green
leaf of shadow benny. See how it crackles together in the frying pan makes
you happy to be standing here, cooking?
is a bottle of red wine - see its deep crimson, how it makes you think of
miles of vineyards?
here are your children - who, with their tiny hands and clear eyes, and
peculiar questions show you how fresh and huge the world can be. They
should remind you that the only real stuff any of us ever leave behind is
a bit of our hearts.” It paused. “This is the most important so listen
up.” (Bossy voice).
must leave to their children a strong resolve to give back to the less
fortunate on this earth - believe in themselves so they can fulfil their
potential anywhere on this vast earth.
a seed of humanity which will grow long after you’re gone. Tell women
never to forget that they are the salt of the earth”
water bubbled up and spilled out.