For some women, many of whom are mothers, regularly admitting to one’s weaknesses – in a public forum, no less – is often an exercise in catharsis. The reason being that once you’ve spilled the proverbial beans you’re able to experience a distinct feeling of relief. The domino-affect is that at least one other human being will feel free to emerge from the darkness that is now light, and she too will no longer feel alone or ashamed (God, I dislike that word). It is for this reason that women share stories and experiences — to express a sentiment or feeling that we were previously told was shameful, unnatural or wrong; to liberate ourselves from being people we never truly wanted to be, or were assumed to be; or to demonstrate that having a self-deprecating sense of humor is a useful way to assuage guilt, fear and resentment.
Such is the case with my kitchen antics.
This summer, after my family and I spent a delightful week at the cottage with our very good friends and their son, plus another longtime friend and fellow cottage-goer, I came to the foregone conclusion that I am a bully in the kitchen. The good part is that I was able to reach this conclusion on my own. The awkward part is that while I recognize that the bully/control freak in me could be a direct result of the life-threatening allergies my daughters’ have, my fear of contamination could be interpreted as slightly overwrought. This, however, is not an excuse – and it’s still not ever okay to bully anyone no matter the circumstances.
That said, the beauty of sharing the cottage with friends is that everyone chips in. Generally we’ll consult one another at the beginning of the day and plan the day’s menu. Everyone’s a pretty good cook — some decidedly better than others — and if someone don’t choose to cook, he or she will either clean up, mix drinks or ensure that the children are well-looked after. It’s a blissfully serene environment – that is, until I, the Kitchen Bitch, take over.
Are you familiar with the adage: “Two women shouldn’t live under one roof?” Well, I’m sure the unspoken rule applies to the kitchen. I have a friend whose common-law partner’s grandmother lives with them. Grandma is terrifically passionate, highly-opinionated, and an awesome cook. Cooking is in her bones. She might as well be a chef. She is generous with her portions, and generous with her seasoning. And she is positively psychotic in the kitchen.