I read The Secret History of Wonder Woman, by Jill Lepore, last year and absolutely loved it. It’s such a great summary of women’s journey towards independence. And it’s amazing to realize how recent it all is! I mean, we are talking about the 20th century, not some Dark Ages turn of events. On a personal level, I was amazed to learn as a child that my grandmother had to face society’s rejection, because she refused to live with a sister in law after my grandfather died. After he passed away, she rented an apartment on her own where she lived with her 3 small children; but worse of all, decided to work as an English teacher. The horror!
Another major turn of events took place at this time: women gradually stopped the housekeeping service to the family, meaning there was no one left to cook in the richer societies.
I recommend this video for an interesting perspective on the theme:
This is not the case in Brazil, where most people can afford help, since it’s cheap enough. But it’s interesting to note the shift in all cultures, because the ritual was lost either way. Gathering around the table ceizes to be a family event. Even though we had help, my family meals became almost a snack during the evenings, in front at the TV, while watching the news. And lunch took place everywhere but at home, according to people’s work places.
For my own family, I’m trying to develop a cool meal environment: we don’t have a TV where we share our meals, the lightning is carefully arranged with dim lights, and we usually put some yoga vibe music before the feast begins. I believe this atmosphere we create totally changes the meal experience, thus influencing the taste itself. And when my son is old enough, I wish to know about his day at school, and still be able talk to my husband about our days and work lives. All of that while eating healthy delicious food, of course.
As I write this I’m amazed at how good it all sounds and feels while we are gathered in the ritual. But is it honest to say that I had a good time today while making my organic guacamole (which goes great with cucumber, by the way) and organic spinach quinoa (fantastic combination with onions and leek)? Not really, I’ve had a long day. I feel kind of guilty because I have help, unlike many working parents: this means the onions were previously sliced, vegetables cleaned, and so on. Still, I have my kid to take care of, plus work, and the house, so there are times I really don’t feel like going into the kitchen. I love eating food that actually tastes good. And being able to eat healthy food with my family and share this with them is great, but the process can be exhausting after a long day. Sometimes I catch myself wishing I had taken that food blue pill; though not badly enough.
There has been a lot of talk about Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, which I find amazingly important. I believe that the process of making the food should be shared amongst the family, just like the ritual of eating and appreciating the results. I think an important point to solve, in order to achieve the Food Revolution goal, is an architecture issue. Sometimes I don’t feel like going into the kitchen also because at my house the kitchen is a separated chamber. I think that’s a big problem. My ideal kitchen would surely be a socially integrated one. This will definitely be a must have when we move again.