The Life and Times of Florence Knitingale

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Smoking Pork Butt

I was just cruising around the information superhighway (remember when the internet was called that? I was so computer clueless, I was pretty sure I was driving that particular highway in a 79 Pinto with one brown door) looking for a chocolate truffle cookie recipe I thought I remembered seeing (given the questionable state of my middle aged mind, that could mean anything from "Jasco uniform was having a sale on CHOCOLATE-colored scrubs" to "Oh, look--you can buy that old Star Trek episode, The Trouble with, Tribbles" to "I can't think of anything to blog about...but a TRUFFLE would sure be good right now". Happily, this time it actually meant that I'd seen a recipe for chocolate truffle cookies..but, Dudes. It was a crap shoot.).

Anyway, I came across a website that allowed people to write in and ask a real chef their cooking/baking questions. The questions were all arranged by title, and one of them--I swear--was "Smoking Pork Butt--Help!". It's a measure of my domestic incompetence that my first thought was, of course, "Well, put him OUT, for heaven's sake!". My next one was "I wonder what class of fire extinguisher you use for a smoking pig..." which is probably only a measure of my truly odd mind. We won't even go into what the next thought, "And how did they only manage to set his ass on fire?" means about my culinary skills OR my level of normalcy.

Fortunately for me, I read in the newspaper last night that there is a Baptist college in the deep south that is now offering a degree in Homemaking. Now, lest any of you begin to bristle here, let me say right up front that I believe homemaking to be a valuable and important job, I have deep admiration for those who do it well, and if you keep bristling like that, your hair will stay that way. But here's the thing: the degree is only available to women. Ms. Knitingale was a bit.....surprised. If you understand "surprised" to mean that a flaming pig's ass turning up in the kitchen at that exact moment would not have been any more of a shock.

On the one hand, it's great that they finally acknowledge that there is a wealth of knowledge necessary to run a home well, and that it's a worthy skill. But these people openly say that they offer this degree because women belong in the home, are supposed to provide all these services to the men, and other assorted ass. Flaming or otherwise. Bah. Ms. Knitingale feels certain that she would likely be tossed out of these classes.

For instance, one of the classes is Interior Design. Apparently it is terribly important that the man come home to a lovely home carefully and prettily designed by his wife who has nothing better to do all day once she's done with the laundry, the cleaning, the cooking and the rearing of the children. For whom, by the way, she is supposed to design and sew clothing (another of the classes is in precisely those skills). I think they would not appreciate my insightful comment that "I found two pillowcases in roughly the same color family.. and the curtains in the kitchen match each other. What--that's not enough? Now other crap has to go together, too?"

I think I might also do poorly in the class about planning and presentation of lovely meals, especially when commenting "So now he's too good to eat cold take-out pizza over the sink like the rest of us?" or "Why would I need to cook him dinner? There have to be four different kinds of Pop-Tarts in the cupboard."

There are no Knitingale children, but I am reliably informed that the smaller ones do not particularly care for holding still for long periods, certainly not long enough to pin cunningly designed clothing pieces on them prior to stitching them up cheerily in a beautifully designed living room, most likely while wearing a dress and high heels. In fact, I am also reliably informed that children tend to be sticky and damp much of the time and that stuff dribbles out of them....which makes the whole "home design" idea seem a tad impractical right from the get go. A friend of mine with several children once told me that the only interior designer that made any sense to her while her wee ones were still wee, was either the guy who invented Scotchguard or the guy who invented Hefty bags. Either way, she was excited when she could find the carpet under all the toys and really didn't know if things matched each other or the arrangement "flowed" until the last child graduated high school. By that time, she was really too tired to care.

I also noticed that there where certain gaps in the curriculum. For instance, there was nothing in there about communication or anything else to do with the marital relationship, nothing about money management (apparently that isn't a woman's job in those parts), nothing about simple home repair. Nothing about mixing drinks, either, which is a shame because I feel that many graduates of this program will end up wishing they knew how.

There are a number of "Ms. Knitingale Homemaking Tips", many of which I believe would successfully get me bannned from the entire STATE in which the college resides. Like:
  • Buying carpet the exact color of cat vomit will save you a great deal of heartache and expense over the years. Also, they will be talking about you for YEARS down at Carpet Depot.
  • Cookie dough is your friend. Especially for breakfast. A case can be made for it containing a number of wholesome ingredients in much the same way that a case can be made for purchasing 17 balls of to-die-for cashmere when you already have enough yarn to slipcover Romania.
  • Nudism as a lifestyle sounds offputting...until you think about laundry day. Then, you gotta admit, it has it's perks. Okay, so my boobs don't have anything in the perk department anymore and maybe that's a good argument for keeping them covered....
  • Pet hair on everything just makes life softer and warmer.

I'm going to run out to the mailbox now--I want to see if the college has sent me a request to speak as a guest lecturer for their Homemaking program. After that, I'll be looking for flying, flaming pigs.


  • At 9:24 PM, Anonymous MonicaPDX said…

    Oh lordy... Sounds like they could use some flying, flaming pigs! I'd suggest the faculty. With BBQ sauce. Wonder what'd happen if a bunch of guys protested because they wanted the degree? [veg]

    Boy, I'm glad my immediate family wasn't all that conventional for the parents of Baby Boomers. Mom made sure my brother - who graduated HS in '62 - could cook, clean, and do laundry. As she stated it, she didn't want him getting married just because he didn't know how to take care of himself. Me, I learned more about plumbing and basic carpentry than cars, 'cause Dad wasn't much into cars; but the expectation was that I'd learn how to support myself and get a job, not just graduate HS and get married. The point is, neither of us were expected to automatically get married at the first opportunity, which most parents were still pushing. Thank god!

    Now for some reason I have this real urge to go rent the movie Pleasantville and watch it a few times in a row so I can laugh my derriere off.

  • At 11:00 PM, Blogger Kit said…

    Your whole thing about smoking pork butt made me realize that I watch far too much Food Network. But I can't help it, I'm in love with Alton Brown and want to marry him for his cooking skills. Except...he's already married. Pity.

    Anyways, those classes put a fire under *my* ass, that's for sure. Any man who thinks that my place is barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen will end up having his balls neatly and politely served on a platter with a side of piss and vinegar for him to enjoy.

    But what's scary is the realization that there might actually be attendees. Tsk.

  • At 8:07 AM, Anonymous angie Cox said…

    Oh send that request and shake 'em up a bit ( lot) Florence .Who is running the darned classes Martha ? That is so sickening , I'm not sure it would be legal here to dicriminate on sex grounds. I am a hopeless house-maker , it's Jeff who irons and tidies . I can look after yarn but I sit surronded by spilling baskets of the stuff. As I get my bedding in T.K's clearance if they match it would be a miracle. I don't even care if my plates etc are odd . I do prefer to stay at home and give up a car or holidays as I want to be my own boss. I hated being told what to do and I enjoy being some things. I love cooking and am learning to re-wire .I only wish I'd some carpentry skills.

  • At 11:34 AM, Blogger Marianne said…

    MMMM, yes, cookie-dough=GOOD.
    oh, ok...I agree, it DOES sound like the faculty is a whack of flying,flaming pigs. (good one, Monica, oh and that bubbly morning trait? yep, our side of the tree)

    Actually, I HAVE been barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen but not under anyone's thumb while doing it .....that I would never have tolerated. trust me.

    anyway, jeeze louise, the South can be so embarrASSing. sheesh.

  • At 1:20 PM, Blogger Angeluna said…

    Good grief you make me laugh. Flaming pork ass to the Baptist College. Whatta mind.

    Now that Baptist College degree just curls my toenails. Like my mother back in the day who wanted me (her painted hippie daughter who ran off to live in Europe just to put lots of miles between us) to join WWWW (Women Who Want to be Women, I'm serious, it existed, she had the brochures. she sent me several) because if I didn't, well women were going to have to share restrooms with men. Wow! Imagine that! For a tomboy raised with brothers, who broke into an all male military university, that was a really terrifying thought.

    In case you didn't notice, the Baptist thing really pushes my buttons. One of the great injustices of my childhood, being the oldest with two brothers, was that I was forced to make up my bed...and theirs!!!! I was a girl! I railed against that. My ally finally was my ex-military father who actually thought everyone should be able to make up a bed you could bounce a dime on.

    PS I produced only sons but trust me they can clean, iron a shirt, and sew on a button. And they darn well respect women as equals.

  • At 1:57 PM, Blogger Jo said…

    I know you were on Marianne's list as a Rockin Girl Blogger, but I had to give you my Rockin award for funniest, yours was also the first blog I ever commented on and got a response back from, which just makes the whole point of the community!

  • At 1:58 PM, Blogger Jo said…

    Actually when I first read smoking pork, I thought the guy was actually smoking it...well you never know people will try and inhale some strange things!

  • At 1:19 PM, Anonymous MonicaPDX said…

    Marianne - your side of the family - I KNEW IT!

    Ok, so if you and Flo and I ever all get together, just remember: You two are the bubbly morning people. Send Ed in with a little keg of Coke to wake me up if it's before noon. It takes me a couple hours to get up to speed, but Coke (not diet) and a warm, furry purry work wonders. I'm guaranteed not to try and kill Ed. Especially bearing Coke. (Although if I'm going to bed at noon 'cause I've been up since the day before, well, then everything's fine. I'll be nicely loopy. Loopier. Whatever.)

  • At 11:56 AM, Blogger Kitty Mommy said…

    Makes me think of the Alton Brown episode about "Smoking Salmon in a Cardboard Box." I'm still trying to figure out which end of the salmon should be lit and which should be puffed and how one goes about finding those ends when one is in the dark inside a cardboard box.


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