“Our maid is a Berkeley grad ㅎㅎㅎ” I overheard my uncle quip as he saw the guest to the door.
I’m here to help out while my aunt recovers, and help is most needed in the kitchen because we need to eat. While I enjoy cleaning and organizing, cooking full meals is not something I care to spend time on. Living alone, I would prepare food in a way that would require the least effort on my part and use no more than one pot, the only piece of cookware I owned. I would also minimize the number of dirty dishes and dishwashing sessions I would need.
At my aunt’s though, we go all out starting with breakfast: boil tomatoes, sweet potatoes, eggs; cut up kiwis and apples; set out the plain yogurt with the aronia powder and wooden spoons; take out the black garlic; hold the natto but remember the milk.
The aftermath is three pots, a cutting board, knives and a pile of dishes in the sink. But compared to preparations/cleaning for lunch and dinner, it’s a light workload.
Feeding a family nutritionally balanced and tasty meals three times a day, every day, is practically a full-time job. I’ve attempted it for just a short while and I am exhausted. And this is with my uncle helping. (How does my mom do this, stay on her feet all day for her full-time job and then work some more?)
Neither of us are skilled in the kitchen and so for dinner today, my uncle made fish that looked like it had already been eaten and I scorched the metal on the bottom of the nice big teapot we need to use regularly. Not having yet figured out how to shop for groceries efficiently, we go every day, sometimes twice a day, to get stuff for each meal. Making sure each meal has all of the necessary nutrients has been a challenge. It’s a steeper learning curve than I might have thought and my Berkeley degree is of little use, as are my uncle’s accolades as a top South Korean scientist.
To our credit though, we fumble significantly less than the first day and I should be impressed that I haven’t cut myself yet chopping so much produce. I would be more help if I had spent my college years baking and cooking as did many of my friends but I spent more time eating their food.
Pretty soon, my aunt will have Harvard- and Princeton-educated servants at home to help. I predict that they will be worse than I am. I don’t know if they’ve done the dishes, ever, and as you might know, Berkeley grads are better 😉
[EDIT] I went to my aunt’s to see my cousins while they were in town for winter break and was so impressed by and proud of how responsible and grown up the older one has become. He’s way better at finding his way around the kitchen than I am! Apparently, he used to have to do dishes after dinners for up to thirty while fulfilling his compulsory army service. I completely underestimated him. I should be careful of making assumptions.