On not cooking

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On not cooking

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An image from a 1950s magazine advert: “My mother liked proving that a woman could work full time and still be a perfect housewife”

It’s been almost 15 years since I overheard my son’s school friend, visiting for the weekend, ask if he thought they could have scrambled eggs for lunch.

My son said, “Sure, I’ll ask my mom.”

Then the friend asked if they could have scrambled eggs with onions. There was a long, ruminative pause. Finally I heard my son say, “Actually, maybe we’d better wait till my dad gets home for that.”

This must have been the stage at which I was still cooking but drew the line at anything more than two ingredients, not counting salt and pepper. This was, I’d say, three-quarters of the way along a culinary path that led me from being an ambitious cook, poring over a puckered, sauce-stained hardcover of Julia

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Francine Prose is a novelist and critic. Her latest book is “Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them” (Union) 

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