Sunday, March 11, 2012

Meryl, Hillary and Women Not in the Kitchen

This is a video of Meryl Streep's introduction of the closing speech given by Hillary Clinton at the Women in the World Summit.

I wanted to post this, but had a moment's pause: what does this have to do with food?  Not that I don't promise in my heading "random digressions", but I do realize that most people who visit here do so for the food content.

The next thing that came into my head was a story a friend of mine, who was volunteering in Africa, told me.  He was in a small village in Kenya hours away from Nairobi helping construct a building for the village. They needed a volunteer for the kitchen and so he volunteered.  When he got there the women all snickered and were visibly uncomfortable. They really wouldn't let him help, because it was so wrong, in their culture, for a man to cook: it was women's work.

When I was growing up my mother worked at an office.  As a single parent she was not only the cook/homemaker, but also the bread winner.  Hard to make dinner when you are sitting at a desk in an office thirty minutes away from your kitchen.  So, starting at a very early age, because I got home from school by 4 and she didn't get home from work until 5:30, I started to do simple food chores, like take the hamburger out of the freezer.  Quickly, I started to cook the thawed hamburger, too, and by age - what... 7? - I was more or less making the family dinner.

So what does any of this have to do with Meryl Streep introducing Hillary Clinton at a conference?

Well, I think everything.  Gender roles have no place in the kitchen just as they have no place in the world. We are equal and all can, and should, aspire to do what it is we have a passion to do.  Not dismiss it because it isn't appropriate to our gender, age, or class.  Had I said to myself: No it's wrong for a man to cook, it's women work, I would never have found the one of the great sustaining passions of my life.

All of this rambling to say that you don't have to be a women to be inspired by Hillary Clinton's amazing life in politics:

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