Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Love Me Love My Cooking

I am a 36 year old disabled woman who has been variously labeled "fat", "crazy", and "a hippie weirdo." I now try to embrace labels that others use in an attempt to "shame" me into being someone more "acceptable". I am passionate about issues of race/racism, criminal (in)justice, fat acceptance, and mental health advocacy. I blog at My Name Is JuJuBe and I am on the team at The Intersection of Madness and Reality

There is nothing I hate more than a person who does not appreciate a meal that I prepare for them. I KNOW I am a good cook. I have gotten too many compliments about my food to NOT take pride in my ability to throw down in the kitchen. One of my favorite boasting points in my life is the fact that I was chosen to be on the editorial board of a cooking magazine, and several of my recipes have been published over the years (Pork Chops Pizzaiola, Chicken and Rice, and Crock Pot Chicken and Sausage). So, nothing makes me more pissed than someone insulting my cooking skills.
Call me old fashioned, but cooking for someone is the primary method I use to let them know that I really care. If I really am feeling a man I am seeing, the first thing I do to show him how I feel is cook him a nice dinner. I always joke around and say that I think one of the reasons my ex and I were together for so long was because of the Tupperware containers full of home cooked food that I would bring to his house every time I saw him. He once told me he would NEVER eat West Indian food cooked by someone who was not West Indian. Of course, once he tasted my oxtail and beansand my salt fish with onions, he changed his tune on that issue. My friend Henrietta tells me my Macaroni and Cheese is the best she ever had, and that is saying a lot because she comes from a family of great cooks! I like to experiment in the kitchen, and I love cooking different world cuisines… Indian, Mexican, Italian (of course), Chinese, etc. Not claiming that my dishes are “authentic” (well, other than the Italian ones) but I know they taste  DAMN GOOD!
Anyway, back to my original point. If a man DOES NOT appreciate my cooking, there is NO WAY I can be in a relationship with him. Just NOT going to happen! I had one man over for dinner on two occasions. The first time, I made a delicious pot roast in the crock pot. I got a lukewarm reception from him. The next time, he asked me to make HAMBURGERS. Just ordinary, run of the mill BURGERS. Then, when he came over, he wouldn’t even eat the damn thing because it was NOT PLAIN ENOUGH for him. Needless to say, I did not continue to date him. Hell, I didn’t even allow him the distinction of being an “friend with benefits” or a casual partner. Nope, when you degrade my cooking, you cannot possibly expect to get the another date, let alone get into my bed! Not gonna happen!
One time, I had a date over when I cooked my mother’s chicken divan. This man actually had the nerve to douse my creamy casserole with hot sauce before he even tasted it!  I was livid, I almost kicked him out of my apartment!
So, this morning I was on the phone with a man that I have been speaking to for a few months. We have not actually been able to meet yet, so, he has NEVER tasted my cooking.  But, that did not stop him from teasing me this morning about my skills in the kitchen. I was like “Uh Uh… don’t even go there. That is NOT something you want to joke about.” He would not stop. He kept telling me “Oh, I know you WANT to be able to cook well, but confess it, you just don’t have what it takes.”  It started out with him telling me that my Italian style stuffing could never compare to his corn bread stuffing. Now, my stuffing recipe is EXACTLY like my grandma’s and let me tell you, it is THE BEST!
But, he kept insisting that it would taste like doodoo compared to HIS  stuffing! I told him just because it is DIFFERENT than what he cooks, does not make it worse, but he didn’t even want to hear it! He actually told me to talk to the hand! The more he spoke, the angrier I got. How the heck is someone who has NEVER TASTED a single thing I prepared going to insult MY cooking?? I warned him. I told him if he continued making comments, I would hang up the phone. I guess he thought he was clever and cute, because he did not stop. Click! Hung up on his ass and shot him an email message telling him I wasn’t even gonna speak to him any more!
I don’t play when it comes to cooking! I mean damn, I grew up with my Italian grandma living upstairs.  She was CONSTANTLY feeding people. The family, friends, even the clerks at the grocery store would be treated to Grandma’s cooking. So, I got the idea that food is love. So, if I like you,  I will cook you a nice meal. And if you don’t like it, Oh well, you are NOT the one for me!
People try to tell me I am being unfair, because not everyone has the same taste in food. Ok, understood. But, if you cannot appreciate a meal I prepared for you, I can’t mess with you. Sorry, just can’t do it. Shoot, I always make sure to find out what kinds of food a man likes before I actually make a meal, so if you tell me you like a specific item, and I go out of my way to make it for you, you best believe I expect for my efforts to be appreciated.
Telling me that you do not like my cooking is like telling me that I am somehow less of a person. Shoot, I would rather you call me ugly than insult my cooking. Yeah, it is that serious to me! Cooking is one of my passions, and I need a man in my life who enjoys a good hearty meal. It is a package deal.. Love me, love my cooking. It just doesn’t work any other way!