Hey there and welcome to the BigAppleSchool podcast. My name is Sam.
And today we’re asking what’s the craic about cooking and cleaning. So we’re gonna find out whether we enjoy cooking and cleaning. What are the famous chefs from our different countries, the home task we may not like.
What about cooking programs, cook books – do we enjoy those? What does the phrase ‘Mom’s home cooking’ or ‘mom’s home cooking from the states’ mean to us? Do we think it’s a good time for a family to get together? Do we have set meals during the week?
Is it exclusively for a wife to cook and clean? Oh, we’re gonna ask, find out more later. You’re gonna find the definitive answer to that.
And should a single guy or a single lady be able to cook well? Is that really a big deal if they’re living alone or with their parents and they don’t know how to cook – is it a big deal? And various things like that. Okay. All good to go?
Are you rare and good to go? Do you know that word? Rare and…? Do you enjoy cooking?
I don’t know how to cook. So I do have my things that I’ve been making while I was… now in Russia, I’ve been putting olive oil in a skillet and chopping up vegetables and throwing them in. And that’s what I’ve been having every day, so it’s very nutritious.
And would your daughter say you don’t know how to cook either?
Yeah, she knows how to cook. Because she’s vegan, and so she’s very particular, and so she definitely knows how to cook.
And you’re a vegetarian, aren’t you?
Yes, although… what am I called? A pescatarian!
Ooh my goodness, what’s that?
Someone who eats fish but doesn’t eat other meat?
Right. And would you eat dairy products?
I’m not supposed to, but because I’m here, I can’t find much food, so I have been eating cheese and yogurt. And I don’t like to do that, but I have to.
Is it for your health or for your conscience?
Yeah, because of the animals.
Fair enough. Okay. And I could say I’m kind of indifferent to cooking, if I’m honest. I don’t dislike it, I don’t… I think if I’m distracted by other things while I’m cooking, you know, if I have a TV on, or something to watch or listen to or to do while I’m cooking.
As long as cooking part doesn’t take away from doing other things – I think I like to have it on in the background – the cooking I mean. So I have something cooking and… We have a halogen oven, which is..
It’s like a glass ball, and light bulbs are halogen bulbs, and they heat the oven, you put the stuff down into this container, close it up, and turn on the timer, and it’ll heat it up by halogen lamp. I think it’s quite efficient actually.
And it turns off when it’s hot enough, and it turns on when it needs to heat up again, so I think it’s quite efficient in that regard. And that’s how – just put something in there for 20-30-40 minutes, and you can leave it alone.
And come back to when you need to, you know, or on the cooker on the hop, so. I don’t hate it, but I wouldn’t say I love it. I wouldn’t say I enjoy cooking either, to be honest. Do you enjoy cleaning?
It makes me feel so… Like I’ve achieved something. So if my life has been all topsy-turvy and if I clean something, I feel really good about myself. And oftentimes if I have some kinda of big task to do, when I was in college and I had to write a paper, I had to clean the house, and then I could sit down and write my papers. I love to clean! I’m good at it! Every little detail.
And it’s a good exercise.
I do this certain what I call modern mop dance – should I describe my modern mop dance?
You know how you have to get down to your hands and knees if you don’t have a mop – if you have a mop, you just stand. Well I don’t have a mop, and I don’t get down on my hands and knees.
I have to bend over, and I do these counter-circular movements with my right hand as I chausse to the side, and so it’s very quick and efficient. And it’s very contemporary, like a modern dance!
Very good! Could you do it as a performance?
I could! Although I did perform it to my daughter, she didn’t think it was funny, she didn’t think it was creative. She walked out.
I’m not impressed, mom. Bye. Wow, okay. I wasn’t expecting that, I wasn’t. So cleaning for me is… I wouldn’t say I dislike it, I used to clean a small flat without a hoover. We call it a hoover, maybe you know it as vacuum cleaner. Do you call it hoover?
Well, it’s made by hoover.
Yeah. Well, sometimes they’re made by hoover, yeah.
Whether it’s made by hoover or not, we call them all vacuum cleaners.
Okay. So in my region at least, if not the UK, we tend to use hoover, because I guess it was the first company that we knew, or at least that was popular that made vacuum cleaners, so we just call them hoover and hoovering, I want to hoover, I’ve done the hoovering, you know, that sort of thing.
It was strange for the Australians when I told them about it, but we don’t think anything of it, but so… Hoovering is okay, you know, I don’t mind hoovering I think. It can be a little bit hot, because there’s hot air being pushed out of it, but I don’t mind it.
Again, I don’t love it, but I’m happy with the results, you know, when you’ve cleaned – and you look at it. I guess it’ an achievement too. I’ve got the flat cleaned up, and it feels so much better, you know.
And so do you make patterns on the rug or the carpet?
No. Well, I don’t have carpet at the moment.
Do you just use vacuum on the floor?
Yeah. There is… So you can adjust it for either… You can set it for carpets or for hard floors. So, hard floors at the moment. No patterns, no. My mom actually has a robot hoover. Have you heard of those?
Oh yeah, cats like to ride on them.
We have no cat, so we’re safe. My dog’s scared of it. My parents’ dog – they’re scared of it. But yeah, it’s around. It takes a bit longer for it to do the same job, and it’s not quite as good as ordinary hoover, but it saves my mom, who’s not the best sometimes in health.
So it saves her a bit of time and stuff, so it’s great. And then they can do a bit of hoovering occasionally, with the real hoover if you like, or a real vacuum. Okay. So, now we know where we stand. What are the best famous chefs in your country?
Well, I don’t know, cause I don’t ever watch actual shows, but since they’re very theatrical and dramatical, I’ve seen excerpts of one yelling at someone else, and a lot of pans, and skillets flying. But my only connection to a chef is… You’ve heard of Julia Child, right?
I think I have, but you have to remind me.
Yeah, I think she was British. Julia Child?
That’s a stereotype, right? That you know all the British. Anyway, I think she’s passed. But her niece was a student of mine, an adult student in my adult class. And so that’s my only connection to a chef.
And just I’m sure you would be interested in anyone else that this niece of Julia Child’s was married to a weatherman on a weather channel. So that’s my connection.
Yeah, right. That’s interesting. Do you know the man’s name?
Very generic. So I know Jamie Oliver, which is a very popular guy. And Gordon Ramsay, which is probably one of those guys who throws and swears and is really quite extreme. But I suspect it’s more for the cameras than anything.
Maybe he’s angry at times, but it’s more for the cameras. Jamie Oliver is an interesting guy – he promotes good healthy eating at schools and stuff, so he’s actually quite a good influence as far as food and stuff goes. And have you ever watched or do you watch cooking programs?
Totally averse to cooking.
Okay, so I know how to make salads, and that’s what I eat. I make fruit salads, green salad, and then cooked vegetables, potatoes, spaghetti. And then the salmon. My favorite meal that I would cook all the time when I was in the states would be salmon, add some cranberry sauce, add some spinach salad. I’d eat it every day.
Sounds good. … would be proud. Do you eat out?
Me too, me too. Do you like sushi?
No? Wow. But you like salmon, yeah?
I like salmon, cause it’s cooked and it’s a top water fish, which is important. Sushi I’m not sure, and it’s raw and I don’t like that.
I think in here salmon in sushi is actually cooked. Yeah, but I can’t promise.
Then I don’t think it’s sushi. If it’s cooked, then it can’t be sushi.
Yeah, it’s sort of a safe sushi. I’ve only heard that, I don’t know much about it to be honest.
Okay, so, when I was in LA in my 20s, there was a famous sushi bar on Sunset Boulevard, and David Lee Roth would go in there. And so sometimes we would go in there and hope to see David Lee Roth. And you know who David Lee Roth is, right? Van Halen! Lead singer of Van Halen!
In the 80s. So that’s my only connection to sushi.
Went to sushi to see a famous guy. I occasionally… I mean I don’t really watch cooking programs, so if I… Cause I don’t really watch TV, it’s not a big thing anymore to watch like ordinary television that’s produced in a country. So I tend to watch YouTube and occasionally watch a guy called Barry Louis on YouTube.
He is a guy who claims to not be… And he’s not a professional chef, he doesn’t own a restaurant, he doesn’t really… You know, he hasn’t got an education in cooking, but he’s self-taught, and he’s learning from himself in his own kitchen.
And he’s showing different recipes and how to do them. He’s quite successful actually. He’s been successful with his YouTube channel – lots of people like him, so he’s Barry Louis and his channel’s called My Virgin Kitchen, because he says ‘I was completely new to the kitchen’.
But well, he’s been doing it for a while now, so not quite new. But certainly. He’s got, you know, a very homely atmosphere, and he’s not talking down to you, cause some of the chefs can, you know, here’s how you cut an onion, and it looks like they’re doing some kind of paper… What do you call those Japanese…?
Origami with an onion, and the knife… And there’s no chance I’m gonna do that. But when I follow this guy, I’m like ‘Oh I can realistically do that’, you know, what he’s doing, I can realistically…
That reminds me of home ec, cause way back in the day before you were born probably, in the 60s and 70s, I went to school in the 70s, we were required to go, we were required to learn Home Economics and had to learn how to cook and sew.
I knew how to sew. And in our cooking class we learned how to slice a banana at a slap, oval.
Workshop – that’s for the boys, mechanics.
No, you’re right, but when I got to school they already said that that’s sexist.
Guys and girls both had to do woodwork and technology, and so the girls learned to build with wood, and circle boards and all that. And then we all did home economics, together as well.
I mean I was very proud of the stuff I made, whether or not it was really that good, but yeah.
I haven’t learned that actually. Could be missing out. I think it was more… To be honest I don’t think it was much teaching at it. I don’t want to criticize, but it’s more practical, which probably is the best way.
So we learned how to set a table, and of course I knew how to do that, yeah.
It was more ‘let’s cook together’ and then if you do anything drastically wrong, they should tell you, but… I think it was useful actually. My mom, of course… I learned a lot from my mom. I mean, it wasn’t necessary for me, I think, but I did learn from my mom.
And I used to watch my mom as a wee boy. I used to watch her make what we called buns, which cupcakes, I suppose, you would know as. And my mom used to… I used to love watching my mom cook and bake, especially baking actually. I was always waiting for the buns.
Did she let you eat the dough?
Sometimes, yes. Yeah the cookie dough, or the biscuit dough, whatever it was. And yeah, I used to enjoy helping, but not really helping.
Yeah. Not really helping at all. Okay. So, well, if you’re ever watching YouTube, maybe have a look…
Probably not, you’re not that interested. Maybe some of these guys would be interested in Barry Louis. And you can get a few more extra subscribers, My Virgin Kitchen. Are there any home tasks or chores that you really detest? Apart from cooking.
Oh, well, what else are there?
Well, some people really hate ironing.
Yeah, but who irons their clothes? I mean, don’t you wear wrinkly shirts?
Well, before I was married and when I was living alone I had the excuse… I decided I’m gonna buy myself an iron, this is really bad. People will think I’m awful, I didn’t buy an iron because I said if I buy one I’m gonna have to learn how to use it.
And so I kind of… My mom told me ‘listen, if you take things out straightaway from the washing machine and kinda hang them up, or if it’s a dryer especially, if you hang them up straightaway, take them out as soon as possible and hang them up, then it shouldn’t be so bad’.
Not so bad, but it still will be wrinkly. This is a science -you first take the yoke a shirt, and then you do the yoke and then do the collar and cuffs, then you make sure you have a crease along the sleeve, and then you do the front and then the back.
Actually, it’s something that I want to learn, cause at the moment my wife’s doing it. I mean, she doesn’t do everything for me, but she does do the ironing. She doesn’t seem to mind about that, but I want to be able to do that myself.
She doesn’t mind. She doesn’t complain. And I do thank her for doing it, but I want to learn. I’d probably watch her and maybe if I see my mom, I’ll watch my mom. Because I once tried to iron, I hate ironing I must say.
You still know how to do it.
I don’t know how to do it.
Good teacher – you gotta study it, practice it.
I need to watch, I think watch and then try it myself, but I once tried to do it and the problem was – I wasn’t at home. I was living in Belfast at the time, this is a capital of our region. And the house where I was staying there was an iron board, but it wasn’t straight, it was bent.
So I mean, how could you iron something on an iron board, and the iron as well was…
You have to do it on the bed or the floor, that’s no excuse.
Yeah. Well, I did try and it turned out really bad and it took me ages. I just kinda gave up. And I know it sounds strange.
I think you could say there’s some kind of secret to it, but there’s really not, you just have to know.
So I kinda gave up, I mean, but I really should learn it because I think it’s not fair expecting… Well, spoiler alert for later, but it’s not fair to expect her to do all the ironing. Yeah, so you don’t have vacuum cleaning? Ironing?
Well, I don’t need to vacuum, because I have bare floors, and so I do my modern mop dance.
And then I don’t iron, I’ll just wear wrinkly. And so I have nothing else to do.
Okay. So you’re happy. Dusting?
Dusting, yeah, I think it’ll be dusting. I just put that under cleaning, and it’s all one thing.
Okay. So you’re not totally averse to cleaning.
Neither of us I think are. What does the phrase ‘mom’s home cooking’ mean?
Well, my dear mother always went to work and so we didn’t always have that meal at the table though we were very young. So mom didn’t really cook very much. But I will tell you this – there is one time where after I had my baby.
She actually worked all day, and she’d come home and she’d cook me this dinner. I cleaned and I did everything, so it wasn’t like I wasn’t doing anything. But she would cook this wonderful meal and that was at the time where I did eat some meat,
so she’d have these pork chops that are very thin and well-done and salty. This beautiful corn on the cob, and salad that was chopped just so, put this dressing. And so good, and so nutritious.
My mom… And dessert? You’re not too keen on dessert, are you?
I probably had like three cookies during lunch or something.
So what… I should let you know – when you say cookie, I think… What we call in the UK, we have American style cookies, so they are big like if you’ve ever seen the subway ones? They’re kind of, I don’t know… Would that be maybe 5 inches or something, like, what’s that? 25?
I don’t remember. It’s like in the palm of your hand, that kind of size. It’s quite big. Well, my palm. It’s quite big. If you say cookie, that’s what I assume. But I guess it’s not necessarily…
Yeah, the cookies come in different sizes, so I think of Oreo cookies, so I had like 3, or chocolate chip cookies.
So they’re small. Cause in the UK, I let you know, we have the word biscuit, which is what we use for Oreos, we’d probably traditionally call them biscuits, right? And things like that… Well Oreos are more like traditional British, oh, it’s not British, right…
But we have many different types of biscuits that are similar. And then but we also have like these fresh-baked, with chocolate chip cookies, which are like American style, you know. They’re much bigger normally, but maybe smaller, like thinner I mean, but much wider in diameter, so yeah.
So we kinda have American culture in there too. Mom’s home cooking for me is roast dinner. It’s a very traditional popular in the UK. And then pudding. Of course not every day or not even every week, cause that’s unhealthy.
Mom’s quite good at … meals, unhealthy meals. She thinks carefully about her sons. And did, especially when we were growing up. She didn’t want us to lose out on nutrients or anything, but didn’t want us to be overeating either.
But we enjoyed pudding at times and custard, apple tart or apple pie you might know it as. Or rhubarb!
You know, just talking about that, one time my mom came to visit me in LA at Thanksgiving. And I said ‘you know what mom? Let’s not worry about traditional Thanksgiving, let’s just go for what we really wanna eat. So we made three pumpkin pies and we ate that for our Thanksgiving dinner.
Sounds good. And that’s quite… Is it sweet, pumpkin pie? Cause I’ve never…
It could be like cinnamy and milky.
It’s kind of in between like dinner and pudding, I guess.
Yeah! I mean, it’s pumpkin, it’s like a fruit salad.
It’s kind of, yeah, best of both worlds I guess. Okay. And it’s a fruit, pumpkin, isn’t it?
No, I think it’s a vegetable, it is a squash.
Right. Okay. Do you think it’s good for a family to eat together?
Yeah, I think when there are children, I think children should learn how to sit at the table nicely, and learn some table manners, and how to set the table, and how have a conversation without these digital things attached to the palms of their hands.
Yeah, I think people should at least some portion of their life they should experience family dinner.
Yeah. And actually, well, another question – should they pray before meals?
Yeah, I think, that’s a way of saying that they’re grateful and they have gratitude for having abundance and I think every… You know, I think that ancient Greeks they always had to pray for being thankful.
I think it as well, because at those days in those countries, I mean, they didn’t necessarily have food unless the harvest was good. And I mean, if the weather wasn’t good, then they would just not have food, or not have as much food, and so I think they were more appreciative.
Yeah, they’re connected to where the food comes from, not just plastic wrapped around it in a grocery store.
Yeah, nowadays we just take it for granted maybe a little bit. Well, my family, my mom had us all eating every evening, and one meal a day together. Which was a great thing I think, it’s a good thing. And we, you know, don’t go to your room, don’t go to living room, we’re eating together.
And it was okay. And we chat together, we didn’t always have mobile phones, and when I was growing up, they weren’t a popular thing. Probably when I was around 16 actually, so we didn’t have that problem. Maybe distracted by something else, but it wasn’t a mobile phone, or cell phone.
Well, telephone would ring, and you may or may not answer, ‘No, we don’t answer the telephone during dinner’.
Yeah, I think my parents, I think they did something. But it wasn’t so often that it rang, so not a big deal.
Do you have any set meal days? Like this day… I know this isn’t your food, but I know some Americans might have a meatloaf day, I know, it’s not for you, but would you have specific meal for a specific day?
I think you need to plan meals for your family. You need some kind of schedule, unless you’re just haphazardly throwing things around. So I don’t need that, I always lived alone or had my daughter. Just let’s put some noodles in a boiling water now, let’s have spaghetti.
At the moment I haven’t really planned… I mean, I don’t have a plan as to ‘what do I want to eat? Well I had that yesterday, I don’t want that today’, you know. But I think my mom, as far as my mom goes, she would have maybe five or six good ideas already, you know, that she uses regularly.
So it wasn’t set meals days that some families would have, but it was ideas and she knows there’s food there for the right meal, so we’ll do that meal today.
And so she’s got something up her sleeve to make us food. Is cooking and cleaning really just for a wife… oh, controversial…. And not for a husband?
Well, I can answer that question just by looking at the channel of русский роман. On that channel that I’ve discovered, channel 18, they have a series of series of shows, and it shows men with their aprons on, cooking for their wives just…
Whaaaat? Terrible! Don’t’ come my way with that!
And they show women with their aprons on, cooking for their husbands.
So they definitely show this big equality that we fought for and here it is.
But why do women have smaller feet? Is it not to get closer to the sink? It’s a joke! It’s a joke, I promise!
It’s a joke, I’m laughing, it’s a joke. I’ve hear of it, it is a joke.
And the bowling chain, it’s not… It’s not good. I mean, my mom and dad have set me a good example – my dad… I don’t think he loves cleaning or cooking or whatever, but he helps my mom and traditionally my dad worked more than my mom, so he helps.
You know, because he can. He comes from work, he helps my mom, he doesn’t normally do it all. But he is a good role model for me in that regard, and he especially does the dishes, cleaning up the dishes. And that is my new role as well, with my wife and I.
I tend to do the dishes. She more often cooks to be honest. But I mean, I will cook if she’s busy, and I’m not, I’ll cook. And so I don’t think I’m as good as cook. There’s one dish that I make better than her I think,
which is like throw-in pasta, some tomato sauce, tuna – I throw it all into a pan and hope for the best. And she says that I make it better than her. I don’t know, but she’s generally better cooking. So we kinda share.
Yeah, sounds equal – one cooks, one cleans.
But she, you know, she tends to think, I think it’s a mentality, very traditional mentality in Russia, and she’s Russian, that the wife should be doing it. So sometimes she says ‘I should be doing that!’ I don’t know. It’s fine, I’m doing it, we can share, it’s not a problem.
But I don’t mind that she thinks it’s her job. It doesn’t annoy me. But that’s how we do it. I think.. So, I mean, it really more or less depends on who’s busy, you know. If you’re busy, then let your partner do it, and vice versa.
And if you’re working full time, whether you’re a man or a woman, you should be… probably not be doing so much at home, or vice versa, so equality. I think it’s just practical. I mean, it’s not fair that one person’s working and they come home and clean it, no, that’s not practical.
Unless they’re both working of course. But then I think they should be sharing. Okay. So glad we settled that argument. So no arguments from you, guys? Should a single guy or a single girl be able to cook well?
I mean a lady, yeah. You corrected me. A single lady, sorry.
Okay, so, I’ve been single. Okay, so, the last bit of my life, last 12 years of my life I’ve been single, my daughter grew up and fled the nest, and I just had a bunch of cats, and I always had to protect myself from the cats. And so I would just get out of work.
No I mean they would be there wanting to know what I’m eating. And so I would just press myself very closely to the counter in between the garbage bin and the sink, and then just eat over the sink as quickly as I could. So what was the question?
Should a single person know how to cook well?
And maybe the dogs. If you aren’t careful in our house, in my parents’ house, the dog could eat your dinner. Especially if you leave it laying around. So, yeah. I think… I’ll answer this one – I think it’s a good thing, especially…
I mean, a single lady is expected to cook or to be able to cook. She’s then gonna get married or whatever. And even is she isn’t, if she has guests… I’m sorry, I’m not judging, but I think generally expected to cook. Not that I…
Or to have guests for dinner?
So I guess if you avoid having guests and avoid getting married, you’re okay. And a single guy… I think it’s good for a single guy to be able to cook.
Why do they get so much more credit when they cook? Like ooooh look at him, he’s cooking, oh!
I think because we’re expected to be stupid, and bad at cooking – I think that. Maybe because it wasn’t traditionally taught, you know. My dad isn’t as good a cook as my mom, and it’s traditional that the guy cooks.
Maybe because traditionally guys aren’t as good, maybe that’s why ‘wow! You can cook!’ I have people surprised at the fact that I can cook. I mean, I’m not an expert chef by any stretch of imagination, but I can boil an egg, I can cook pasta or whatever.
I can make myself an edible dinner, so I think it’s good for a point of convenience. You’re not always running somewhere to eat. Don’t have to go to a restaurant or we have here in Russia столовая, which means canteen.
It’s a kind of canteen which you can get on the high street, and not having to run there is a convenient thing, I think. So I think it’s not essential, but it’s helpful, useful.
Well when I’m watching the channel русский роман, I’ve not yet seen them bring home a takeout dinner and eat it there, and that’s different. Cause you watch American TV – they’re always having takeout dinner.
Well, you see, if you cook at home, you know you’ve cooked, you know what ingredients are in it, and I think that’s a bit advantage. Wherever you’re at, I mean, hopefully you cook from fresh, cause it’s healthier, but whatever you had, you know what you had, what the flavor is.
And you’re not worried what’s this extra stuff, it’s maybe very unhealthy. You know, sauce or whatever. If it’s there, it’s your fault, you know. That sort of thing. I think that it could be health advantage too.
And maybe cost, depending on where you’re living – sometimes it’s more expensive to eat out, so could be cost thing. Okay, I’ll finish with this – do you have any slang or unusual words connected with cooking or cleaning?
Well, I told you about hoover. I think that shocked you a little bit, yeah?
There is a… We have a few different words for potatoes, because they’re so popular by the way. I think they’re popular too in Russia, but we have words like tater, and spud. Spud is quite popular in Ireland. Don’t ask me where it comes from, but potatoes could be called spuds.
I don’t know how that is connected to the word potato, but that’s so. And you can call people a real good spud as well. Which is a good… It’s a compliment, by the way. So, yeah, it’s affectionate if it’s used for a person.
Spuds – we eat the spuds. Okay, so, it’s over already. We’ve finished our podcast, we’ve found out, we’ve investigated the craic about cooking and cleaning. So I found out more about Barbara. You found out more about me too.
How we do or don’t like cooking, not so much, we’re not so great cooks. Not so keen cooks. And cleaning – she loves cleaning, I – not so much. We talked a little bit about cooking programs, famous chefs.
We talked about different chores, mom’s home cooking, family, what you might do as a family regarding cooking and cleaning, and eating meals together. And what about single people – should they be cooking? So that was the craic about cooking and cleaning.