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In appreciation of those who cook

    Yawdy's Smoked Chili Oil

    By Arlene Bishop to her partner, Yawd Sylvester, formerly the chef at Toronto’s Lula Lounge.

    Like you I’ve read articles on the inequality of household jobs but the job of making dinner has to be the most unbalanced gig in a household. The job of ‘making dinner’ is misleading because it actually contains a series of tasks: organizing, planning, shopping, stocking, prepping, cooking, preserving, storing, cleaning, and the earning required before any of it, and each one taking mental and physical energy, creativity, and time.

    Granted, in this house our meals are made by a nurturing, thoughtful, creative multi-talented actual chef, but the tasks are the same from household to household, especially if anyone has special dietary needs.

    In our house, Yawd makes at least two meals (gluten-free veggie for me and healthy teenager-friendly for the giant teen) and he does it on a very modest budget. Our fridge is always ready to fuel. For example, right now there are fixins’ prepped so that it would take me no more than 90 seconds to make myself a beautiful salad for lunch.

    That 90 seconds is actually the point I’m trying to get to: because Yawd has taken on the role of running the kitchen, I have more time in my day to tend to other things like my creative career. And it’s not just a little time – a substantial span of continuous time where I’m free to start and complete tasks. It’s huge.

    Anyone who works at home doing creative work knows how important it is to be able to think and work something through. It means I can plan, batch, compile, edit, render, upload, tag, promote, research, write, edit, layout, download, upgrade, administrate….so many music business tasks that are made manageable only by being able to sit with them from start to finish.

    This is new for me. When I became a mother my creative work got carved into 20-minute batches, sometimes longer but seldom more than two distracted, exhausted hours.

    Now there are days when I can do what I need to do and a healthy dinner magically appears. What’s my point?

    My point it is that whoever has a person in their life that manages meals from day-to-day has an advantage to further their career and earning stream.

    They have more creative time. More leisure time. More time in their day. More control over meeting their deadlines. Yes, I also do the shopping, cleaning, and organization, and I have jobs in the house that are also time and energy consuming, but I’ve noticed that the heavy lifting of making the meals is a job that is under-valued and misrepresented. It’s a big time sucker. I’m grateful. I’m lucky. I don’t want to take that for granted.

    Thank you, Yawd.

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