In my family, we’re not too strict on gender roles. The ladies can do what the guys can — build parts of a house, chop down trees, put oil in the engine and air in the tires.
(Of course, our family does respect gender lines to some point. None of what the girls can do ever has opened the guys up to sewing curtains or decorating cookies, though they have planted a few hostas and made dinner a time or two.)
Carver resident Margaret Thomas won’t tell you that she was always a skilled cook. Thomas learned to cook the hard way — through trial and error.
“I come from a really big family,” she said. By the time she was out on her own, “I would cook too much all the time. When you come from a family of 11 it’s hard to learn to cook for one or two,” she said.
I’ve lived my entire life between the southwest mountains of Virginia and the Sandhills of North Carolina. I think that makes me a true Southerner.
It’s surprising when things so natural to my Southern self are alien to others. Grits, for instance. I serve cheese grits to all of our house guests from ‘off’ just to see how they react. You wouldn’t believe how many people don’t eat grits just because the name sounds strange.