John's Kitchen : A Boy Can Cook

【明報專訊】When I was a little boy, my mother taught me to cook. This was very weird and controversial at the time. Western societies had strict sex roles. There were different things that boys and girls were expected to do. Boys were expected to play football and girls were expected to play with dolls. Boys learnt how to do maths and use machines. Girls learnt how to cook and clean. Boys were not supposed to cook.

When I was thirteen, another boy at school heard that I could cook. He assumed that I was a homosexual. So he did the appropriate thing at that time, which was to punch me in the face. I responded by beating his head against the school's brick wall, until he decided that I was not a homosexual.

This story sounds like a set of non sequiturs. They are sentences that don't logically connect. Being able to cook has nothing to do with sexual desire. A homosexual, in such a society, needed to be able to fight. Today it is no longer weird and controversial for a boy to cook. Today some university maths courses have more girls than boys. Having a society open enough to allow boys to cook and girls to study maths is less violent.

This summer I'll tell you the stories of some of the more interesting things I have cooked. I'm rather a good cook. Usually my wife appreciates my mother's determination to be weird and controversial, unless it involves beetroot.

text: John Larrysson