Saturday, February 19, 2005

Shopping, Food and the Task of Men

Most men dont like shopping. Most especially for food.

I like shopping, especially for food.

The reason most men dont like food shopping is that it shows their ignorance, both of food itself and what one does with it. Mind you, in Canada this ignorance isn't just a male domain - many women we know are ignorant about food, food choices, food combinations and the possibilities of food preparation and cooking.

One sign of this is the worst invention in north American - the "pot luck" supper. More accurately, "you're right out of luck supper". Lynne went to one of these last night - coleslaw (a creation aimed at making sure you're put off food for life) mixed with cold, dry noodles ("to give it some extra crunch, you know"), various savoury jellies (a very Albertan thing), various stews (all over-cooked and all tasting the same), salads of unknown origin and cold perogies and cabbage rolls.

To cries of "isnt this wonderul", which it isnt, the ladies drank sweet German wine and very cheap Cabernet.

A worse evening I can only just imagine. It is when the meal has been badly prepared, but based on "Company's Coming" - a series of the most dreadful cook books on the planet.

But at least they attempt cooking (though often, it would be better if they didnt) - men rarely do. They havent a clue. We once were on vacation with a bloke who had one cooking skill - omlette. Other than that, he was lost. I have already mentioned elsewhere in this blog my former room mate, Dave Tidy (see blog in archive with this title), who hadnt a clue.

Yet most chefs are male and most chefs (though not all, see Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares for proof) can cook.

Its not just men. There are a growing number of people who have no idea about food. We see it almost every week at the check-out when the girl behind the counter has no idea what it is she is about to ring in. Last week it was an aubergine (which is known as egg plant here) - this was a woman who is studying for a Masters degree at the University of Alberta. Fresh herbs, celeriac and almost any interesting fruit cause problems at check-out.

Now that most families prefer to eat out rather than cook, we are losing knowledge and skills.

Its sad really.

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