Oven Cooking and Emotions
The Oven And Christmas Dinner
It’s not too late to announce to the family that husbands, sons, brothers and uncles will prepare the 2016 Christmas dinner.
This gives them enough time to ponder the menu and how they will prepare the food. The stove obviously will be very busy on Christmas Eve and December 25, but its most important part is the oven.
What happens in the oven evokes all kinds of feelings, and men better understand that before they put on those oven mitts.
Boys In The Kitchen
Teaching boys how to cook and using the stove oven in particular, introduces them to emotions they will experience in life, as they acquire skills which will help them take care of themselves in the real world. There will be no back-up from mum and dad.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) prefers cumbersome language that will need a consultant to break it down for ordinary folks.
It says life skills are: “abilities for adaptive and positive behavior that enable individuals to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of everyday life”. SOURCE: Wikipedia.
Translation. It means working for your dollar, cooking, cleaning and picking up your own clothes from the floor. Cooking is the most important life skill because of the energy thing. You need fuel to listen in class, wash yourself, step on the bus or your motorcycle.
Forms of Cooking
Why the oven? Good question. We grill meat, chicken or fish or fry them. We boil vegetables or cook them in olive oil or butter. We poach eggs or steam bread or dumplings.
None of these methods though will help boys experience real life emotions like anger, disappointment or happiness, like having something in the oven.
Knowing the different forms of cooking comes in handy when eating out. It prevents us from asking embarrassing questions.
The oven, the real oven, not the wannabe microwave oven, is an exciting place because it is a closed book. We never know what we will find when the timer rhymes, we put on the oven mitts and open the stove door. Voila!
There is always mystery behind closed doors. People do routine things like opening doors at home after work and surprise, surprise 20 people sing ‘Happy Birthday To You.’ You might also open your bedroom and find the man you divorced ten years ago in your bed because you did not change the locks. There was no need. He joined a monastery.
That is what is exciting about the stove oven, the closed door. Sure, there is a red light (blue in digital stoves) and you can see what is happening or not happening through the glass door, but we don’t want to interrupt the cooking process by checking every five minutes, do we? And remember: a watched kettle never boils.
Oven cooking should be the first method mothers teach their sons because it represents hope. I hope the turkey is cooked.
I hope I get the job after the interview. I hope she doesn’t leave me because I was laid off from work. I hope the boss does not find out that I use the petty cash for my speeding tickets.
Patience. The oven door is closed so patience is required, especially when using recipe books. You followed recipe instructions to the letter. You used butter as per instructions even though you are scared that you might gain some calories because of that teaspoon of butter.
You prepared the stuffing for the roast chicken with real 2-day old bread crumbs. You pre-heated the oven and set the timer.
You did everything right but you cannot help being impatient. If the pot was on the stove, you would have opened it twice to check progress. The chicken is in the oven. Please exercise patience.
In real life, impatience leads to short cuts, and they in turn might lead to deception, crime or losing your job.
Disappointment. All cooking methods can lead to disappointment, but the oven takes the cake, whether you are baking cakes or making soufflé. When boys put on their oven mitts and take out a deflated soufflé, they will know that life is not a bed of roses. The perfect situation is for the soufflé to rise to the occasion and not lie flat in the Corningware dish.
Disappointment is dangerous in real life because it might trigger off jealousy at the younger man who got the job when you have been acting in the position for three years. You might think that someone got the job because she is a First Nations woman, black or Asian. Disappointment sometimes leads to self-depreciation. Maybe I’m not good enough.
Love in the Kitchen
Love. It is difficult to talk about love because the three little words are sometimes used for wife or partner abuse. ‘Just tell her you hit her because you love her. She’ll be alright with that.’
People either cook because they enjoy it or for loved ones. Nobody knows that better than kids rushing home from school in anticipation of what their mothers have cooked, if they are lucky enough to have stay-at-home mums.
Something in the oven makes the house warm and food aroma wafts in the air. That is why family members smile when they open the door. They don’t say ‘Anybody home?’ They know someone is home.
Some women freak out when men don’t eat at home. Who is cooking for you if you don’t eat here? Indeed, many things cause break-ups and not eating at home is one of the signs that love is gone.
We cook for the same reason why a lion hunts: survival. The king of the jungle cannot cook but we do and it makes us happy, whether the salmon ends up dry because of all those spices or the macaroni ends up like porridge.
Happiness and love are twins I suppose. Cooking for those we love makes us happy. One of the greatest gifts you can give your sons is the sheer love for cooking. They must look at it as creation. It is a mix n’ match of ingredients to create something beautiful and nourishing and natural. Just look at kids enjoying food.
They won’t end up in Master Chef, but they will find their nice. They might open their own restaurants or bakeries.