Mom cooks, Dad cleans

“My mom and dad always divided the responsibilities. My mom would always cook, and my dad would always clean.”

“I grew up in Westchester New York in the suburbs. My parents are both originally from New York. My mom moved all over when she was younger because her dad was in the Military Forces, but dad was born and raised in Queens. He went to school at Buffalo State and then moved into the city to start work. My dad is Syrian and Polish and my mom is Swedish, Irish, and Russian. My mom is more European decent and my dad is more Syrian.

“My dad’s side of the family all stayed close together, they all raised their kind in New York. We’re more spread out on our moms side because they were used to moving as kids. My dad’s side of the family never really moved.”

“My dad doesn’t really know how to cook. He can work a grill and do some basic stuff but my mom is the real cook of the family.”

“My mom learned to cook from her mom. She was from Sweden so a lot of the dishes are kind of similar to Swedish foods, she makes a really good beef stew. Then she converted to Judaism, so now she makes a lot of matzo ball soup which she learned from my dad’s father. She makes a lot of traditional food, like brisket and potato latkes. Since my mom converted, I eat a lot more traditional Jewish food. Because my whole family is from New York, we celebrate a lot of Jewish holidays, so yeah I guess that’s why we eat more Jewish cultured food.”

“My dad’s mom was a stay at home mom, so she would always cook for him. I guess that that tradition was passed down into our family. Well, my dad never really cooked or saw the man of the household cook growing up, so I don’t see why he would think that’s normal. My mom is a great cook though and I think that has a lot to do with why our family does meals that way. Also, like, if my mom’s gonna slave in the kitchen my dad might as well clean up. Team work.”


My Interpretation:

In modern times, there is much discussion about gender roles in society and in the household. Certain cultures stress that the woman is in charge of all domestic accounts, like cooking, cleaning, etc. Through listening to this dynamic, I was able to decide that I think that this set up is solely about cooking ability. If the wife makes better food, let her cook. Looking into their past lives, their modern and past cultures, and their heritage, there is little to determine that their meal set ups are structured this way due to cultural tendencies. Personally, being of Jewish decent and practicing their culture, I know that food is a huge part of their culture and lifestyle. In my experience, the people who know how to make the food make it, there is no worth in making food the wrong way and not letting everyone enjoy it. It is important to note that there are different types of Jewish cultures though. The interviewee’s family is of Sephardic decent, which is a strain of Judaism different from mine, therefor they could have different cultural characteristics than those of my own. I still believe that there is not much underlying cause for this teamwork, rather just how the family makes it work.