Resume Booster

Every now and then I get asked “Do you bake?” or “Do you cook?”

First off, these questions confuse me. What does “do you” mean? Meaning, is it something I do constantly, or meaning is it something I am capable of doing?

Because I can. But I don’t usually.

I know practice makes perfect, so technically if I did bake/cook often, I’d probably be better, but more often then not I get complimented on my efforts, and since they’re usually surprised compliments I know they’re sincere.

I could give all sorts of reasons why I don’t putter about in the kitchen more often, but the simplest is that I don’t need to: I’ve got a mother who does a more than adequate job without me sticking my wooden spoon into the pot.

So why mention this here? Because the question makes me nervous. Somehow I always feel like my answer is being filed away for shidduch query purposes.

“Bad4? She’s a a wonderful girl, really special, but not really big with the frequent fryer miles, if you know what I mean.”

I know I sound a little paranoid, but just earlier today I mentioned to a neighbor that since my mother was off spoiling the kinfaun this week, I was making Shabbos, and she answered, “Oh, it’ll be good practice!” So really, that’s what it all comes back to, if you’re single.

Correction: if you’re a single woman.

Anyway, as I mentioned, the mother was off visiting the kinfaun, leaving me to hold the fort. This had two positive side effects:

1 – I got lots of kitchen practice, so I can, for the moment, answer “Yes, I cook and bake.”

2 – I developed a sudden interest in dinner menus.

I would say that of the two, the second is the most life changing. I mean, you know those people it’s so difficult to speak to because they seem to be in a different world? Yeah, I’m referring to married people. Who else?

You know how you call them or IM them and they’re always in middle of making dinner? And you go “mhm” while they describe in gory detail the chicken they’re in middle of making, or this great way of making rice?

Well now I’m actually listening.  Even taking notes. It’s a little weird – almost like being married, but without the $3,000 hairdo.  Or the basement apartment. Or the ring. Or the husband.  Or pretty much anything except the housekeeping, actually. But still.

If I had a shidduch resume (wash mouth out with soap) – which of course I don’t – this would surely go down as relevant experience, no?


26 thoughts on “Resume Booster

  1. 1) My friends have married girls who don’t know how to cook initially. They learn. So do the guys.
    2) The question that always bugs me is “do you learn?” What do you mean? Ever? Now? How long? As I’m talking to you on the phone, have I a sefer open so that I can look up a mishna during the natural conversational silence?

  2. BAD4,
    I obviously grew up differently,,,However, I totally understand your ”paranoia” as you call it yourself.
    Basically, people want to know How much you enjoy cooking because if you don’t putter in the kitchen enough that sends alarm bells to those looking for a wife who will FEED them!

  3. I’m not sure why, but somehow all my married friends call me frantically every Erev Yom Tov looking for recipes. My mother gets a kick out of it. I hardly cook, but somehow my friends know I’m the one to turn to for cooking advice.

    I don’t think you need to cook often in order to be a good cook – obviously if you’re single and at home there’s no practical reason for you to be cooking. But if you enjoy cooking, as I do, I think you can answer “yes” to the question “Do you cook”.

  4. When people ask me why I still live at home (from more left-wing individuals) I say, “My mother is a REALLY good cook.” They blink. They obviously never had fabulous food before, all ready and waiting when you get home . . . moist chicken . . . caramelized potatoes . . . I’m sorry, where was I?

    “Kinfauns was a bungalow-style house, located at 16 Claremont Drive, Esher, Surrey, England, KT10 9LU, on the Claremont Estate. From 1964 to 1970 it was home of George Harrison, lead guitarist of The Beatles, and was where many of the demo recordings for the White Album were made. The house has since been demolished, and a new one built in its place.”

    Is that the meaning you’re aiming for? I’ve never heard this word before.

  6. Maybe they are asking because the fastest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. there are many girls who when the list their qualities on their resume (as opposed to profile) put down ‘loves to cook/bake’ or ‘is an excellent cook/baker’

  7. I have no idea why a NORMAL guy would ask the cooking/baking question.

    I always get a kick out of watching my dates’ reactions when I tell them I can and like to bake and cook. (Disclaimer: I do not have the time to do it often, but do it i.e. when I’m on winter break or home for shabbos. And yes, my sisters and my mother are really good cooks and bakers.) My dates immediately ask, “like what?” As if they don’t believe me.

  8. Oh, and any woman who thinks the way to all mens’ hearts is through their stomachs has another thing to learn…

  9. When I am asked ‘do you cook?’ I always give a straightforward ‘no’.

    Because I don’t. In theory I know how to make an omelet but frankly, my mom does it much more quickly and without splitting the omelet when turning it over. As for baking – it bores me. The last two times I basked were: 1. When I baked challas at school as part of our bat mitzvah week of celebrations 2. For my last birthday (23) I felt like surprising people, and brought cookies I baked to my office. Boy were they surprised (the cookies WERE edible, you see). As I explained, I don’t bother to hide my undomesticated nature. .

    I mildly dislike all housework and kitchen activities are no different. If forced to do I would do them – as would any guy. That’s why my brothers, traditionally half-starved in the yeshivas, know their way around a kitchen much better than I do.

    And if somebody rules me out as a shidduch prospect because of my lack of homemaking skills? Too bad, but I am really not looking for a position of a housekeeper.

  10. “And if somebody rules me out as a shidduch prospect because of my lack of homemaking skills? Too bad, but I am really not looking for a position of a housekeeper.” Okay, I’ll bite. If you aren’t bringing homemaking skills to the table and you aren’t going to be the “housekeeper,” just what are you bringing to the table as a possible marriage candidate? Since homemaking today also includes the skills, abilities and desire to care for a family, in all ways what would your husband be getting in you?

    Lawschooldrunk, thus speaketh a single man. One the “euphoria” calms down a bit and married life is not only about “that,” the way to a man’s heart is straight through his stomache.

  11. I always found it really annoying when i was single, and a great cook, and married girls would assume i didn’t know what i was talking about when they would discuss recipes because i didn’t have a husband to cook for or something. happened fairly often, even if they were sitting at a meal where i had prepared most of the dishes and they had complimented me on it.

  12. Er, Prof K, I think you skipped the line where I said ‘If forced to do I would do them – as would any guy’

    I know enough families where housework is taken care of by both husband and wife and that’s how I hope to have it in my home. As for my ability to care for a family, seeing that I intend to be both the main breadwinner (so that my husband can learn full-time) and a very hands-on parent, (I adore children and was raised by a VERY involved mother who taught me some standards there), I don’t feel that I have anything to apologize for, although I suspect that’s exactly what I have been doing in the last paragraph…

    Oh, well. Living in Israel, I am happy to report that guys (and shadchanim) have very little interest in my domestic talents. My earning potential interests them so much more. 🙂

  13. and your earning potential enables you to hire help to do the house work. No one says the wife has to do it, but it’s gotta be done.

  14. I can cook VERY WELL. I hate it though. And my husband knows that. So he appreciates any effort I make to satisfy his picky palate doubly. And if by some rare chance I do start to enjoy cooking, I won’t tell him…He is not taking it for granted. I’m a wife, not a glorfied housekeeper.

  15. In the shidduch world a balabusta is a big deal. For some in that world the home and all around it is the domain of the woman. Cooking and baking are, I guess, shortcut method for guaging how well the household will be run. The job of the man is to take care of the outside and the role of the woman is to run the inside of the family. My wife certainly felt that way when she was younger (that is she owns the house and defines the rules for proper use and decorum in it). I think in the general yeshiva and chasidic world this is still the case. If you, bad4, feel you’re being judged on it, then you need to assess whether that you feel that is the role you want to play after you’re married. If so, then, act accordingly, if not, then don’t sweat it. Shidduchim shouldn’t be about what the community wants. You’re lookin’ for 1 guy who will be happy with you </i? and who you will be happy with.
    What everyone says and does is interesting but its your life

  16. He calls ’em niflings. I call ’em kinfaun. Since there ain’t no dictionary word for it yet, we’re in competition until the OED chooses one of us.

  17. I’ve known many single girls who help out with the cooking/baking at home, some even commandeering the kitchen for an entire Shabbos or just a single meal – and they are almost always very good at their art. However, my experience may differ from most since I’m from a very out-of-town place where there are no real restaurants (we do have Krispy Kreme and Cold Stone), so people cook basically every day. From my understanding (upon hearing stories from my sister) part of the reason why seminaries don’t serve 3 meals a day (unlike yeshivos) is in order to get girls to develop their cooking skills – as Prof K said these kinds of things are really necessary to have a functional home.

    Having said that, I recall a very humorous story that occurred during my cousin’s sheva brachos (which was at a restaurant). After the meal was over, he and his new wife were collecting as much leftovers as they could (it WAS free food after all, and the majority of the family sponsoring the meal were from out-of-state and couldn’t take it back anyway). Out of curiosity, my mother asked the couple who would be the primary chef in the household, and both very sheepishly pointed toward my aunt, who happens to be an amazing cook/baker – she spends several days of sleepless nights preparing for major Yom Tov meals, and has a tendency to show up on her married children’s doorsteps Erev Yom Tov with a car full of food – enough to feed a dozen or more people for two straight days.

    There was another time when my family was eating at a family friend’s house for Shabbos lunch, and their newly married daughter and son-in-law were there for the first time since the wedding. The husband is Israeli, and after sampling his mother-in-law’s finest dishes (she’s also quite a good cook) asked his wife in a cute, broken English if she had biologically inherited her mother’s cooking skills (she replied yes, much to his relief).

    Also, it seems that the husband, despite the fact that he is often NOT the main cook in the relationship, always has a special dish or area of expertise, such as grilling steaks, making chulent, omelettes, matza brei, or grilled cheese (which is my uncle’s specialty). I happen to make pizza.

  18. ProfK, I have to argue with your response to lawschooldrunk. Firstly, it’s a little presumptuous to accuse him of believing that if he’s not interested in a woman’s food, he must be interested in “that,” which I will assume refers to bedroom activities.
    Secondly, while I will not deny that the stomach is one of the avenues to a man’s heart, it is not the only – nor the best – option. I cook about as much as my wife does (although admittedly she bakes more than I do) so that’s not it for us. In my opinion (feel free to disagree, of course) one excellent way to someone’s heart is through their ears. Making each other laugh – even/especially when laughter is hard to come by, I think beats out a nice steak any day. Yet another avenue is doing stuff for each other, making sure that the other isn’t working too hard or handling everything.

    There is more to marriage than “that” or food.

  19. A letter to the editor ain’t as impressive as, say, an article in said journal. I’m not intimidated. Though I think I will go back to using the term kinfauna, as “kinfaun” seems taken by the Beatles.

  20. Oh gosh…. I’ve waited to respond to this post because I do understand your point, and yet I see the other side of it as well.

    First off, as far as “Shidduch Questions” go, this is by far not the stupidest. I don’t think that the people are asking if you are a star chef, nor expecting you to be. I think they are asking this question to to assess from your response how you “feel” about the whole issue and homemaking in general.

    I would hate to think that society has made us so “liberated” that we don’t see the value of a Jewish woman at least wanting to create a warm home environment for her family. This doesn’t always have to involve cooking, but it can and I’ve heard a lot of different responses to this type of question and I do think that it offers up a bit of a glimpse as to how a girl views her future role in her home. There isn’t even a right or wrong answer, but there may be right and wrong boys for different answers…. and that is why it *may* be a valid question.

  21. Pingback: Is This Really a Problem? « Bad for Shidduchim

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