Santa Maria Sun / Humor
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 13, Issue 15
Bake or barbecue?Sexism ruins food at the Krider house
BY ROB KRIDER
We live in a sexist society, period. It is what it is. I didn’t start the trend, and I am not the one who designed the stereotypes. Do I occasionally reinforce them? Sure. I think it’s funny when someone makes a “barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen” joke about women. I only laugh because it is relatable to what my wife and I went through early in our marriage when we lived the ’50s lifestyle. I worked, and she stayed home with two kids. We were Old School. Call it what you want, but she cooked dinner, I mowed the lawn, and we happily lived in those roles for men and women that we grew up watching on television.
However, my wife and I didn’t always fit the perfect mold when it came to what we should be good at as a man or a woman. First and foremost, society says that to be a real man’s man, you should be able to barbecue. I suck at it—always have, probably always will, and dinner cooked outside at my house is usually something the neighbor’s dog won’t even eat. It isn’t a matter of practice. I own a barbecue, a darn good one. It is grand, and stainless steel, and the envy of any man who enters my backyard. But I can’t do a damn thing with the metal monster other than completely char meat. My massive barbecue has only one temperature setting: 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit, which coincidentally is the same temperature as the surface of the sun. When I put hamburger meat on the grill, 10 seconds later I have a hockey puck for a meal.
In an attempt to keep things from being overdone, I pull them off the grill early. This only infuriates my wife, who cuts into her steak and then finds the meat completely raw and bleeding on her plate. She asks me to put it back on for a few minutes. Begrudgingly I do it, and then five minutes later her steak is so burned she couldn’t cut it with a jackhammer.
I’ve tried everything to become better at barbecuing, because honestly it makes me feel like less than a man when people find out I can’t do it. Other men scoff at my weakness, and wives whisper about it at parties so they don’t hurt my feelings. But there is nothing I can do. The process is a mystery to me. Meat and me don’t agree.
What makes me feel a little better about being a sub-par husband who can’t go outside and cook a steak is the fact that my wife can’t go inside and bake a cookie if her life depended on it. She absolutely can’t do it. Don’t get me wrong: She is a wonderful cook. If it involves the oven, she can make an outstanding meal. If she goes to use that same oven to cook dessert, I hope your teeth don’t have any crowns, because your dental work won’t survive a single bite of cupcake. At our house, we refer to them as “chuck-cakes” because you can’t eat them, you just chuck them into the garbage can. She burns cakes, brownies, cookies, you name it. Anything she puts into that oven that would qualify as a dessert is completely burned. For years and years, the kids and I have had to slice off the bottom of cakes just to attempt to save the un-charred top portion to have something to smear some frosting on.
With summertime here, it is only natural to want to have a poolside barbecue and a nice baked dessert after a long day in the sun. With me on the grill, and my wife, whom I love, in the kitchen, it is not going to happen at my house. The barbecue will turn into a structure fire, and the dessert will be as tasty as dried concrete. The best thing to do if you see hamburger meat and some brownie mix come out of a grocery bag at our house is order a pizza and plan a trip to buy a pie somewhere. The hamburgers by me and brownies by my wife are a fool’s dream.
However, my wife and I have stepped out of our sexist roles that society and television have chained us with. Last weekend, my wife went outside and barbecued some awesome tri-tip. The meat was delicious, it wasn’t burned, it wasn’t mooing at us, and it could be chewed with our mouths. It was a barbecue miracle!
Comparatively, I went into the house and baked a cake, one that we could actually eat. It had a spongy light feel to it and the bottom didn’t taste like a car’s muffler. It was exquisite. Sitting around the dinner table, enjoying our hard work, nobody complained about their food being raw or burned. We found that we didn’t really have much to talk about that night since the food was actually edible. Our mouths were too full of the good stuff.
The lesson learned here was simple. It was society’s fault. My wife and I rose above the restraints of years of oppression and became better cooks for it. Now if I can just get my wife to go into the garage and change the brakes on the truck. In trade, I’d be willing to learn how to fold socks.
Rob is now a baking queen, filling the house with his dessert spoils. His secret is that he reads the recipe on the back of the box, something his wife was “too good of a cook” to bother with.
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