Gender dynamics - at the potluck!

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Carolla

wondering & wandering
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I stumbled across this interesting article today - and knowing our affinity for potluck church suppers, thought it would spin into an interesting thread.

The link begins with an original post of one woman's reflection on how she & her spouse respond to potluck events ... from her growing feminist Christian awareness she is beginning to have new perspectives on this traditional event. Then two other authors post their responses / commentary. And finally at the end of the link there's a beautiful piece of music.
I found it all quite interesting, and agreed with most of what I read. See what you think ...

Creating Learned Helplessness, One Potluck at a Time | FemFaith | Christian Feminism Today

It's from a website I've not previously known, but I think I will explore more - Christian Feminism Today.
 

revjohn

Well-Known Member
As the family cook, I make sure we have a dish for potluck. Have also been known to prepare one for my spouse to take to one of her functions. If the menu calls for baked goods that is my eldest son's department.

Can't speak for other families. I can survive quite easily on my own as I can also do laundry. It also means I will be more experimental and the experiments tend to be measured in scoville units.

Organizing them? I have seen different committees pull them together and often men are involved somewhere along the way. A lot of men cook and a lot of church men enjoy friendly culinary competition.

The most successful baked bean dinner was cooked entirely by a retired gentlemen who tossed away the traditional UCW recipe kept under lock and key to present everyone with three different baked bean recipes. I was being summoned to the kitchen all day for taste testing. Then he and his wife decided to move closer to kids and the next years baked bean supper was a serious let down.

My second pastoral charge in Botwood, NL had a kitchen rivalry between the UCW and the AOTS. The men being more risk taking than the women. although they would play safe with some favourites from time to time. Fish-n-Brewis for several hundred takes a lot of work and they had a rather bizarre recipe twist which does not, as far as I know, enhance the flavour any. Of course, maybe they were just initiating the new guy and giving him a meaningless job to keep him out of the way

Anyway, I made my own fish-n-brewis recently and was kind of shocked that the one bit of the process I remembered most clearly isn't in most recipes for the stuff.

But I digress . . .
 

Jae

Well-Known Member
Melanie Springer Mock in Chrstian Feminism Today said:
It seems, in my experience (and by what I’ve observed) that most church potlucks are still initiated, organized, and managed by women. Why is that? Why are women the ones who stay long after everyone else is gone, cleaning the kitchen (while a few men linger to stack chairs)? In most family units, why is it the woman who must remember to make something for a potluck, must decide what to make, must make said dish?...

...My response to this would be two-fold: 1) Do we really believe men incapable of doing better? and 2) If yes, then we have created in most men a learned helplessness, at least where church potlucks are concerned...

...Am I making much ado about a small thing? Am I simply jaded by the two church potlucks I attended this weekend, and to which I alone brought our family’s offering, no matter my last month’s breakthrough? Do I need to see the church potluck with a different lens, one that focuses more on hospitality and charity, and less on a kind of inequity that broils my insides?

In my experience, and here I am primarily thinking of my experience at the two Baptist churches I have recently been a member of, most church potlucks are initiated, organized, and managed by small teams of people comprised of women and men. I have certainly seen women and men involved in bringing the food, organizing the food, cooking/reheating the food, and serving the food. It seems to be men who do all the heavier lifting - the arrangement of tables and chairs as required. It seems to be women who do the bulk of the cleaning up afterwards.
 

Carolla

wondering & wandering
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I thought the comment about bake sale - that women are expected to contribute, but men are rarely asked - was interesting. I don't think I've ever seen men involved with bake sale contributions at church and in my workplace, unless it was to collect the money.

I also found the observation re contribution expectations for single women vs single men to be pretty accurate, in my experience. I must be more aware of this at time of occurrence.
 

Jae

Well-Known Member
I thought the comment about bake sale - that women are expected to contribute, but men are rarely asked - was interesting. I don't think I've ever seen men involved with bake sale contributions at church and in my workplace, unless it was to collect the money.

In my experience it's usually (but not always) the women who do the baking and the selling of the baking, and the men who do the majority of the buying and the eating. Is one kind of contribution better than another?

Carolla said:
I also found the observation re contribution expectations for single women vs single men to be pretty accurate, in my experience...

I really haven't.
 

BetteTheRed

Resident Heretic
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We have a couple of notable exceptions ("Snack Jack" for VBC) and always plenty of help with dishwashing. AND, as per a usual UCCan congregation, it is weighted somewhat old, men die younger, etc., so there are always more women workers than men.

It's a bit wyrd, actually. I, for instance, clearly have some administrative and organizational skills. However, I'm also a woman, and one who can make a pan of date squares while asleep (albeit, almost inevitably with a cat hair or two in the pan). My friend, E__ makes similarly scrumptious date squares (without the cat hair). She's our Amnesty contact, and organizes letter signings on a monthly basis, also organizes a weekly lectio divino bible study group. What are we both known for? Our date squares.
 

Seeler

Well-Known Member
For many years I was the one who planned and prepared the dish for potlucks - whether at church or any other occasion. I didn't mind. After all, I was the one who was big on attending church events, and he worked long hours as a trucker - and I found out that my best contributions were either crock-pot dishes or salads. But then he retired - and over the years he joined the model railway club, and we bowled and eventually started dancing - and these activities occasionally required potlucks - and he didn't think that crock-pot or salad was good enough; we should take a casserole (which meant cooking it at home, transporting the hot dish, then keeping it hot until ready to serve without having it dry-out, be overcooked, or lukewarm.)
Solved the problem - now I often suggest that we take something from the store - rolls and cheese, a fruit tray, a vegie tray, a tray of squares. (we can get away with that now since we're old). Or, if it's 'sandwiches sand sweets' he helps me make the sandwiches. I've managed to convince him that a sandwich made of deli-sliced roast beef, cheese and a slice of dill pickle is just as welcome as a fancy rolled aspargus sandwich - and far less fuss.
 

Luce NDs

Well-Known Member
Square dates that can actually be well rounded out and broad-based support for those men that can't do much in the kitchen end ... cooking up abstracts? There are variants, or variance on the rule ... as a vast collective likes variety ... there is the institutionalized major majority regarding Avalon and avarice ... mythical land of reality? Is there virtue there ... in rare wyrd cased ... if adequately connected and communicating ... with everything ...

Loosely defining the eternal and inclusive of the dissociated ... that's something else again we don't understand ... a vast ET-ude ...
 

KayTheCurler

Well-Known Member
My partner does his share of the meal cooking, but not the baking or general housework (in fairness I should admit that he does most of the heavier jobs). He prepares the dish for an monthly pot luck we both attend. We noticed that the single men make or buy a dish to share, but mostly it is the female member of the couples who do the cooking.

A few years after he retired my partner joined two new groups locally - the Legion and a political party. A few weeks after joining the Legion I answered the phone and was told
"This is Jane W from the Legion. We are holding the Vimy Tea on Saturday. Will you bring your contribution of dainties to the Hall on Friday or on Saturday morning?" I acted dumb.
"Yeah - I think I saw an poster about that at the grocery store. I'm wondering why you are phoning me though?"
She replied "We need to know when you will be delivering your dainties". 'You DO realise that I'm not a member of the Legion and have never attended one of your teas?".
"You are on my list of people to phone - all the members get phoned". "Then maybe you meant to phone my husband who IS a Legion member? Would you like me to have him call you back when he gets home?"
"Oh no, don't bother him - I'll get one of the other ladies to make extra".

The political party also phoned me for cookies to serve at their constituency office. They too were greeted by my feigned confusion and an offer to tell my partner that they had called.

Over the years I have noted that the local United Church is fairly 'liberated' in its ideas and actions around 'pink jobs and blue jobs'.
 

ChemGal

One with keen eye
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I haven't been to a church potluck in quite some time, but for potlucks in general I find them to be fairly equitable. Chemguy has them at work and many of the men do make a dish for them, single or not. Chemguy has organized a few, as has another man and a woman. When it comes to what he brings, I offer ideas, but he does it, I think I bought some of the groceries one time.

We have plans to play games with friends and everyone will bring a dish in a little while. Chemguy gave a few suggestions already of what to do. They are 'my dishes', he would never make one of them from start to finish. He helps significantly though. One uses chopped apples, we have an apple slicer but I can't use it myself, so he will do that for me and often also cuts them into smaller pieces. Similar for another things that requires cut up veggies.

In the kitchen in general, he handles all the meat as much as possible, I have issues with raw meat. He does any of the difficult cutting like cutting a raw spaghetti squash in half. We both will cut up veggies but he will do more of it, but I tend to do it more often in small quantities. Cooking any rice or grain sorta product (couscous, quinoa) is me because he does a poor job of it. Flavouring often comes down to me. There are many times when he will be up on the weekend and have all the meat and veggies ready in the slow cooker and I add all the extra stuff.
 

Carolla

wondering & wandering
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Quick thinking Kay - I'm sure you were the talk of the telephone chain after that! It is so interesting what assumptions are made.
 

ChemGal

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I do think a bit of a generation gap is at play. My Dad would often make his own things for potlucks though, but thinking of his groups over the years I think many of the wives would do it.
 

Carolla

wondering & wandering
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My mate has become our household chef since he retired about 10 years ago - prior to that I primarily shouldered that day to day responsibility. So now, when we are invited to potluck things he automatically just assumes he'll do the prep. I often offer suggestions, and sometimes I'm even permitted in the kitchen to prepare something ;) It will be an interesting adjustment for both of us when I retire!!
 

Carolla

wondering & wandering
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I do think a bit of a generation gap is at play. My Dad would often make his own things for potlucks though, but thinking of his groups over the years I think many of the wives would do it.
I agree ChemGal - I think the 'traditional' roles go back to when the household tasks were the exclusive preserve of women, while men 'went out to work to support the family.' Now that is changing - but still I do know working women who expect little from their spouses - no doubt there is back story to that.
 

Waterfall

Well-Known Member
How many women check the oil, put air in the tires, fill up the gas, fill up the window washer fluid, wash and vacuum the car, etc...before and after a road trip? Or repair the car?
 

BetteTheRed

Resident Heretic
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In my life, if I don't do those things (or pay Jiffy Lube to do them), they don't get done.
 

Seeler

Well-Known Member
Interestingly, years ago when IT companies just getting established, and most of the staff were young creative types, both my kids worked for the same company for awhile, and it seemed almost every second week they were having some type of celebration - birthday, transfer, difficult job completed before the deadline. Seelerboy was living away from home. He'd phone "Mom, I need to borrow your blender and crockpot, and what is cilantro?" And he'd tell me this recipe he was making for a potluck. I noticed Seelergirl, who was back home, never seemed to be cooking. When I asked she said, "Oh, I'll just pick up something at the Supermarket across the street.
 

Jae

Well-Known Member
How many women check the oil, put air in the tires, fill up the gas, fill up the window washer fluid, wash and vacuum the car, etc...before and after a road trip? Or repair the car?

Yobo does most of them, save for car repairs. Good thing our middle son is an auto mechanic.
 

ChemGal

One with keen eye
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How many women check the oil, put air in the tires, fill up the gas, fill up the window washer fluid, wash and vacuum the car, etc...before and after a road trip? Or repair the car?
For the general easy things to do, I do tend to do them for the vehicle I drive. Chemguy will get the gas for me if it's cold out and I need it, but that's a health thing.
 
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