No, I Don't Cook! Yes, I am Latina.
Let me make one thing clear. I am proud to be Dominican. I love being Latina and the fact that I speak 2 languages and I speak them well. I love that I have vivid memories of DR growing up. Now, let me just say that my mother is, what is considered, "Americanized". She is not your typical, stay-at-home-mother-while-her-husband-worked-all-day type of mother. She, too, has a career of her own. She does not slave in a kitchen each day to make arroz con pollo or habichuela con dulce. However, her ways or choices does not make her any less Dominican than the rest. My mother was born and raised in DR and migrated here after she married my father. She started from the bottom just like most US immigrants. She did not speak an ounce of English and was undocumented.
One thing I am so over hearing, though, is in regards to my lack of cooking. "Que tu no cocinas??!" No chil', I do NOT cook. But guess what, I can pay some bills. And guess what else, my husband loves my non-cooking self too. I am educated. I am well-mannered. I show respect to everyone I come across. I am humble, kind hearted, a great friend. I have goals, dreams, ambitions - all amazing characteristics.
I am so over the pressure of not being a woman of the kitchen. In my house, there is no written rule that says that I have to cook and Ariel has to be the bread winner. We split everything evenly.
Growing up, my grandmother lived with us, and she did all the cooking. Until I was around middle school aged, when my grandmother got sick and then moved in with my aunt. Every day after school we would go over to my aunt's house to visit my grandmother and there, we ate dinner. My aunt cooked every single day and still does! She loves to cook. She is your traditional latina mother. She definitely throws down in the kitchen. And by the time we came over for dinner, the food was prepared.
I once asked her to teach me to cook and that did not get me anywhere. She could not give me measurements but instead would say things like "un chin" of this or "una cosita" of that. WHAT?!? What does "un chin" even mean in a measuring cup!?
I get such Latin haze from the older generation of Latinas when they find out I don't know how to cook. Its really frustrating to hear. Discouraging, even. The amount of pressure my Latina family puts on me because I do things a little differently is disappointing. Instead of you sitting there judging other women because they may not know to fry an egg, why don't you instead offer to help her learn, provide her with recipes with contain actual measurements? I am sure she is smart, and can follow directions.
I have every desire to want to cook and be able to cook. I do it all except cook. I want to be able to cook for my husband or be able to bring a dish at the next family reunion. But at the same time, its so much easier to get off work, stop by my aunts house and just pick up dinner. Who really wants to start cooking dinner at 5pm after a long day of work anyway?
Don't downgrade women because they may not live up to the stereotypes that come with our ethnicity. Cooking, or the lack of, does not define anyone. And cooking definitely does not add benjamins to my bank account. So next time you want to roll your eyes at her hermana because she may not know how to make flan, or she may have made choices different than what your accustomed to, keep your comments to yourself. They really serve no purpose. Instead, offer to help your hermana. Empower each other. Grow together. When one teaches, two learn. You will make the world of a difference.