Friday, July 10, 2009

The Anti-Cooking Taboo

There is a taboo amongst muslims which I have noticed. It seems that its a cardinal sin to hate cooking and to not do it. Quickly you will find yourself frozen out if you do not participate in fundraising dinners or cook the meals for potlucks etc. Not willing or able to host an iftar at the mosque? That's social suicide. If you do cook and its not from scratch then you're out! Bring something from a store and people will ask you the recipe to try to embarrass you. Sorry I don't care. Everything for muslims seems to revolve around food. Haliquahs..bring your quran and bring a dish or bring your quran and the host will make a buffet. All interactions involve food..want to get together with a friend? Then you will have to either host or go to a visit which includes food. Sometimes is nice but the pressure to always do it? Can't muslims just go to the movies, or the coffee shop or the playground together? Doesn't seem like it. That's what I miss about being a non-muslim...the layed back life of just hanging food strings attached. Guess I'll always feel like an outsider..since its not Islam that brings us together but sadly food.


  1. I have been in communities where this is not the case. Many ppl have been very forgiving where I have been, alhamdulillah. There were times when we invited ppl over to the house and we had nothing but instant ramen noodles which my husband whipped up. and I have gone to potlucks just bringing drinks, and store bought stuff and it was not made into a big deal. But most times I am the one wanting to bring somethng and feel obliged to. I hung out with alot of young ppl who don't even know how to cook, and fod is really not an issue, except you do the occasional mutual good humored teasing of "you can't cook?" :)

    this seems to be a phenomenon in your community, and I'm sorry you had to encounter it. Just like some reverts encounter abuse of women's rights in Islam when they enter Islam and then generalize it to all Muslims, it's not fair to generalize it to all Muslims in whatever issue it is. May Allah bless you with good company, and in that matter may Allah bless me with the same here in this new town. Ameen!


  2. I just don't worry what they think. Most of the sisters we've dealt with were raised to cook these elaborate time consuming meals everyday. I'm not ashamed to order pizza when I have guests. Sometimes I'll bake a cake which I enjoy doing so there's something homemade :)

  3. Asalaam U Aliakum Sister,

    I really enjoyed your post and you have hit the nail on the head. Sadly I don't agree with one of the lady's comment that is it a phenomenon which belongs to your group alone. It is very widespread and is almost getting to be sinful the way muslims cook massive amounts of food and spend countless hours cooking just to gain praise at potlucks or other funtions. We all need to wake up to the wastefulness and greed associated with cooking practices in muslim circles. Especially with Ramadan around the corner I hope we all can remember what it is about..inshallah.

  4. Wa Alaikum salaam

    Good to know I'm not the only one who has noticed this is a problem. Insha Allah this Ramadan will be used to invite the poor to one's home where the food will be put to good use and no one will see the good deed. That would truly be for the sake of Allah.

  5. ASalaamu alaikum,
    Hope you don't mind me going backwards into your blog... This caught my attention. I get nervous sweats when people drop by, thank god my husband doesn't invite his friends over! I chaulk it up to being raised differently--the adab of having house guests, and learning to cook when you are 13 yrs old. My family and our friends were all of the my house is your house, help yourself (or ask first, then get it yourself). I sort of like this informality, but I also adore being on the receiving end of Muslim hospitality. It is a lot of work I realize, but if you are already at home and cooking all the meals it is pretty easy to include one or two more or offer something recent. Mot so in my house. We rely on leftovers, and I usually never have cookies in stock for guests,if I do I end up eating them long before any people get invited. I don't mind cooking for myself and my family, but I have also heard a lot of complaints from picky spice eaters who think we can't cook because we don't spice it up as much. Potlucks, sure. Iftars-Oh mama! I only wish I knew how to confidently whip up a huge industrial sized pot of something. I just stay out of the social scene.
    Problem solved ; )

  6. Wa Alaikum Salaam

    I love people going backwards in my blog! Rofl to all your comments. I agree with all of them. The social scene is not only fraught with these cooking things but then there's the we can't be bothered talking to you because you don't know our language thing! But that's a whole other post!