The Chef: An Homage to Women Cooks

Making food for people is an act of love. I wonder why everyone doesn’t see it that way. Maybe it’s because our mothers (of certain generations) are typically the ones who not only prepare the food, but also dole out the discipline when preparing the food (especially on big days) and that doesn’t feel like an act of love.

But really think about it. Big meals are labor intensive. Who would walk into a five-star restaurant and interrupt the chef and tell “him” how they like the meal prepared and served and asking is it ready yet?

How many people would walk their children into that same kitchen and request the chef tell the kids what to do because they want to watch tv or the game or play a round of football or whatever outside.

Yet we do that all the time to our mothers, sisters and mostly those born female. We expect multi-tasking chefs who hold down the fort, greet company at the door, get clothes out for everyone to wear, wash the children, make sure the house is ready, and a myriad of other tasks that we expect of no one. Especially no one who is preparing a major meal for many people…all who have specific requests from low salt to gluten free to put my coffee in a Styrofoam cup to don’t make sauerkraut and deviled eggs because “I” don’t like them. 

Then, to top it all off, when that same chef (think Gordon Ramsey here) blows off some steam at them when they’ve been interrupted for the 18th time trying to follow a recipe that takes time and care. We then treat them as a bitch or a complaining mother. Kids turn up their noses and run to daddy because mommy yelled at them. Mother-in-laws complain about the amount of spice or salt, fathers-in-law and fathers grumble because that very special vegetable the chef (MOM) made is not to their liking because…meat and potatoes is it. 

Who is there to thank the chef? Who is there to help them mom put her feet up at the end of that day? No. One. Because then comes the cleanup. How many five-star chefs clean up after themselves making sure all the fine tableware is stored away for the next year, all the leftovers doled out to those that are ungrateful, all the children tucked away in bed and the daddies who are so beloved sleeping on the chair, pants unbuckled belching away or drinking another beer.  Who hands a glass of wine to the chef? Who applauds the meal? 

What respite to these chefs (moms/women) get?

None. Because no matter what the day – a regular Sunday after church meal, a Wednesday dinner (for which there is a theme that the children expect), a quick lunch on a Saturday, an anniversary meal for 50 people, a romantic anniversary for two, or a massive thanksgiving meal – she still will get asked the next day “what’s for dinner” then she’ll remember she forgot to go shopping with the list that pleases everyone. So, she will go to the pantry and make something up. Something that may be pleasing to eat, even delicious, but you can be sure someone, somewhere in some kitchen or dining room is saying, “Yuck. Can I just have MAC AND CHEESE?”

And guess what…most moms do it. But you can better believe not one male chef would whether at home or in his five-star kitchen.

Cooking is an act of love and most women don’t consider themselves chefs. They just want to be loved for feeding people…and most of the time they aren’t.

Happy Thanksgiving to all the mom/sister/women chefs of the homes everywhere in these United States and for those all over the world on any holiday.

Hug your chefs’ men…show the next generation how to do it right.


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Fairy Tale Teller of Tales

I’m no stranger to fairy tales. I’ve read them all my life. They launched me into reading at a young age. I love hearing them, love reading them and occasionally I’ve been known to watch a Disney animated version of some. I find them the epitome of childhood story telling from the “Once upon a time” beginning  to the “Happily ever after. The End.”

Still, as I was growing up they lost favor with me. I wasn’t the beautiful princess. I didn’t lead the story with the happy ending. I didn’t dream of a prince coming to rescue me. I wasn’t daddy’s little girl. I didn’t want to be the beautiful girl who most of the time at poison apples after being fooled three times by my wicked stepmother. So, I lost interest.

Then came Fractured Fairy Tales on Saturday morning cartoons, tales of the reversal with children’s books taking on the legality of Goldilocks going into the Bears uninvited, TV epics like The Tenth Kingdom and Once Upon a Time and Grimm, and, of course, Gregory Maguire’s take on Oz, Wicked. These shifts in thinking about the wonderful world of fairy tales allowed me to reconsider the stories and look at the themes from a different slant. I decided to read The Blue Fairy Book a year or so ago. I liked the stories from a historical storytelling perspective and listened to them trying to consider them if they were to be retold from unique or opposite angles.

Fast forward to a week and a half ago at my Harry Potter themed 60th birthday party. I was given this wonderful gift. Once Upon a Time is a storytelling card game. Each player is given story element cards and prompted to tell stories, interrupt each other, and get to “the end” to win the game. It’s fun and creative. After one round my spouse and I decided we needed to read more fairy tales so we could get better at story telling.

I decided to listen to a recorded collection of tales read by Chris Colfer from the television show GleeThe Land of Stories: A Treasury of Classic Fairy Tales is a wonderful collection including the classics, Cinderella, The Elves and the Shoemaker, Little Red Riding Hood, Hansel and Gretel and many more. The tales are fairly standard retellings of the classics after a delightful introduction from the Fairy Godmother who explains  she came from the Middle Ages because : “It was a period consumed with poverty, plague, and war … However, it wasn’t interaction your world needed, it was inspiration. In a world dominated by ruthless kings and warlords, the ideas of self-worth and self-empowerment were unheard of. So I started telling stories about my world to entertain and raise spirits … The stories taught many lessons, but most important, they taught the world how to dream … Families passed the stories from generation to generation, and over the years I watched their courage and compassion change the world.”

Listening to someone read to you is a wholly different experience than reading to yourself. I could hear the themes repeatedly. The theme of long ago, the theme of happily ever after, and, sadly, the themes that drove me far away from fairy tales. I’ve come away from the first two CD’s realizing the themes really do carry into the lives we lead and, while I love story telling, I return to my thoughts that these tales aren’t for me and I’m not sure they should be for anyone.

A return of the prodigal fairy tale teller of tales

My writing never went anywhere after this unposted post. I’ve been through so much (so has the world) and I’ve learned so much more about fairy tales and fairy tale writing and happy and unhappy endings in story and in real life. I don’t know where to begin, but I know the I want to publish the above piece and begin again. I’ll pick up where I left off and see if I can get back into the swing of things with more interesting writing, less edited, less thinking and more lyrical writing…or maybe not. Maybe it will just turn out the same, but I remember being so inspired when I wrote the original text here and I remember that it was the beginning of the end of the beginning or something or something else.

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Emerging and Evolving

I haven’t written here in years. In fact, I had all but abandoned writing altogether until taking Carterhaugh classes/workshops and a Natalie Goldberg class over the past two years.

The blogs I started years ago here on wordpress have long gone underground or at least been sidelined by life and the microblogging that is social media in 2021.

I am inspired by fellow writers from the classes mentioned . I am back. Let’s see if I can really make it happen here and now.

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Current Reading List

  1. Paperback: Sidewalk Oracles: Playing with Signs, Symbols and Synchronicity in Everyday Life (book web connections to everything in life)
  2. Audio: The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend (book web connections to geneaology in Sweden)
  3. Audio: One Hundred Years of Solitude (book web connections to reading #1 as it has been mentioned in that book)
  4. Hardback (and for a reading club): The Sound of Glass (no book web connections at this time


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Should I merge or abandon?

I haven’t written in this blog for a long time. I think it’s because I have so many interests that I need to merge them into one, BUT, then where is the focus in each of the blogs to go.

I read so much that I would constantly be adding book topics to whatever the merge becomes.

Alas, I don’t know what to do.

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Reader Rant

Posted to Facebook:

READER RANT: I’m on a few reading forums and I tire of people making claims that “no one reads anymore.” The claim is that we are too technologically oriented to “read.” So define reading first. Is the definition of reading picking up a paper book ONLY and turning pages on fictional novels? I don’t believe that is a clear definition of reading. I believe that is an important PIECE of the reading puzzle. Fictional novels, perhaps even the traditional western canon of literature should be explored, yes,AND reading is also: non-fiction/literary non-fiction of any kind, manuals and educational papers, magazines (yes ANY magazine), and fan fiction graphic novels and comic books (which actually have higher level vocabulary and some require the reader to have a greater comprehension because there are fewer words) are ALL examples of how much we are reading as a society now.

Now let’s tackle HOW we read. 1. Paper book sales are actually on the rise (source NYTimes, June, 2015) 2. Millennials are out-reading their older counterparts (source The Atlantic, 2014) 3. OPINION: I read several books at a time BECAUSE of technology. Right now I have a 700 page print book sitting in front of me, a book on writing and technology that a friend wrote sitting beside the bed, an audio book that I listen to every time I drive, several magazines for perusing at my leisure, and several articles and fan fiction that I like on my reading queue on my Kindle app. OPINION: Some people have become readers OR better readers BECAUSE of the technology available.

So…before you judge someone who is always on their phone, iPad,tablet, etc. – know that they could be reading something that has them transfixed and they just can’t put down. And yes…they might be texting…which also requires reading In my case, I’m probably reading OR editing a photo (which is another rant that needs attention on another day).


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Caught in the Wizarding World of HP

I confess I am a Potter-phile. I can’t get enough of the wizarding world. I reread the books AND I watch the movies repeatedly (for the record I love the movies BECAUSE they play out differently).

Top five reasons:

1. Watching the wizards grow up in words is amazing. Their dialogue changes. Their attitudes change. Their basic character remains.

2. Relearning hat everyone is good and everyone has evil from the day we are born! It’s circumstance and decisions that determine who we are in the end. Everyone must choose.

3. Hogwarts is familiar. Like like it is safe and it’s not. Harry feels safer there than at the Dursley’s, but in reality he is in much more danger. Still it is home and he wants to be there. Even in his darkest hours at Hogwarts, his true family is there.

4. Fred and George! Who would not want to own a joke shop? These guys absolutely crack me up. The reality of losing one of them in the end is just that…reality. Sometimes people die and you have to go on.

5. Sirius Black. I wish there was more of him. J.K. needs to write a book about his life.

What do you reread?

Given the opportunity, would you ask the author of your favorite read to write something more about the subject? If yes, what would it be? If no, why not?

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Revival Part 2

Revivial is an amazing Stephen King book. SK never ceases to amaze me with the details in his writing. Revival’s main character, Jamie Morton, is one year older than I am currently. The story spans my 5 plus decades as they do Jamie’s and King hits the nail on the head with my generation. From Jamie’s 6 year old self playing in the dirt with plastic army men to his references to Joe Walsh and John Denver as part of his life time career, I was very taken by the story. The story’s religious overtones really speak to the tenor of the American political and social landscape too.

I did read Machen’s novella, The Great God Plan. The story line, eerily aligned with Revival, prompted me to check out some more horror stories of the late 1800’s. It’s a wonder to me how story lines repeat themselves.

Up next? Stephen King’s Duma Key. Already a few chapters in…and now I want to learn to draw. Read the book. That statement will make sense!

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I started reading Stephen King’s Revival last fall after it’s release. Unfortunately several life situations took me away from my read and it came due at the library. I immediately reserve it again, but being that it is a new book it has taken this long to make it’s way back to me. In the meantime I did something I rarely do – read reviews before I read the book.

The reviews led me to this quote, “” King has always been generous in acknowledging the inspiration for his fiction. With “Revival,” he names Arthur Machen’s “The Great God Pan” (1894), one of the greatest supernatural tales ever written.” Ah ha! I’ve never read that and, further, I don’t know Arthur Machen’s work. My research tells me that Machen was also followed by H.P. Lovecraft.

Time for me to delve further into the book web even though I’m a mere fifty pages into my current book. I’ve reserved it at the library.

Also, my supernatural phase is starting early this year. Usually I reserve it for fall!

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Brown Girl Dreaming and other YA Feminist Lit

Book Riot posted a list of children and young adult books with strong female and/or feminist themes. I’ve decided to read all of them. I started with reading the Year of Shadows by Clare Legrand and by listening to the audio version of Brown Girl Dreaming.

The Year of Shadows is coming along, but I am not quite finished so that is on hold.

Brown Girl Dreaming is another story. It’s a mere 4 cd’s so it was a quick listen. This fledgling Newberry Award Winner did not disappoint. Jacqueline Woodson’s memoire tells a story so compelling that I found myself sitting in the car wanting more words when the final track played. The book is full of her story. A story that starts right here in my own Columbus, Ohio then leads to the south in the early 1960’s and finally to Brooklyn during the turbulent 60’s and 70’s.

“Jackie” tells the tale of what it is like to be of my generation and of my humble beginnings so I can relate to the sights and sounds of the times. She also tells the tale of what it is like to remember her beginnings as a black child and, through the voice of her southern grandmother, mother, grandfather and other family members, a brown person in a turbulent times. She weaves the happiness and sadness of that era together like a song to be sung for the ages.

I want to read Langston Hughes while this book is still fresh in my mind. I want to find “Stevie” by Por John Steptoe and read it too. I want to relate.

I highly recommend the audio book. Listening to Ms Woodson’s story in her own voice is powerful. This will be with me for a long, long time.

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