Born in a Retrogressive Culture
I’m lazy. I was born lazy, especially when it comes to household chores. I hate anything to do with laundry, cooking, washing utensils… Just anything concerning household duties. Born in Saudi Arabia, a country where male chauvinism is at its best and thus I consider household chores ‘ladies tasks’, I grew up never having to get involved in any of them. Men in my country have a ‘special place’ in the society which excludes them from such duties.
My name is Ahmed Shekow. This is my story of how I changed to become a partner in household duties as opposed to our traditions…
My father loved anything; I should say everything to do with education. He was one of the kinds that believed that education is power. Though hailing from not a well-to-do family, I was able to get the best and most quality education that any person could desire. My dad worked hard to ensure that my siblings and I were in a position to access better schools and to ascertain that, I was able to go to Australia for my degree. It was the best experience that I can ever recall – getting a scholarship to study in Australia.
It was hear that my attitude towards ‘the kitchen’ changed. When I arrived in Australia for my higher education, I met a culture which was completely different to what I was used to. Here, the place for women was not in the ‘kitchen’. Initially, this was too foreign and burdening to me, but being a rational man, I was quick to understand why all this was happening. I was able to appreciate that women are equal to men and each of us is supposed to be a helper of one another in household duties. I learnt a lot from this new culture such that when I got married, I became a partner of my household.
The love of my life
I met my wife while still in college. One thing about her which is so special is her love and taste for variety of foods. It is through her that today I am a great cook. Throughout our dating period she always insisted on cooking our dinner as opposed to visiting restaurants. Since I had made the decision to always be a ‘helper’ at home, I would help her with the little that I could in the kitchen.
In our cooking experiences, I enjoyed everything because her delicacies were always perfect; I learnt a lot too. From the French and Chinese dishes that she spent time online learning their recipes so that she cook prepare good food, to the local Australian nutty-flavored witchetty grubs, I learnt them all. I was always keen to learn how she prepared them all.
The house party
It reached a point that I could prepare several dishes without her hand. However, my woes almost dwindled my confidence during a house party event that we had in our home sometime back. That day, I wanted to showcase my experience and decided to prepare some rosemary roasted turkey. That was one wrong move that I made.
That day, while cooking, I don’t know what stress I had because I over sauced the turkey and to cap it all, I over-baked the turkey to an extent that almost every guest disliked it and after they were all gone, we were left with almost all the food that we had prepared that day. There are some guests who made horrible comment about the food and this really shut me down.
I’m glad that my lovely wife still appreciated and came to my aid to make me feel better by comforting me and reassuring me that everything was well. Should I cook anything for you today, you won’t believe it.