A Long Way to Go: Conversations about Race by African American Faculty and Graduate Students

By Darrell Cleveland | Go to book overview

5

WHY ARE THESE WHITE WOMEN
TRYING TO RUN MY LIFE?
ONE BLACK WOMAN'S EXPERIENCE
TOWARD EARNING A DOCTORATE

Theodorea R. Berry

I remember spending many hours in the kitchen with my father as he prepared meals for the family. I especially enjoyed watching him prepare sautéed cabbage. He would carefully clean out the kitchen sink, complaining all the while that we (his children) didn't do a good job cleaning the kitchen after washing the dishes and that he shouldn't have to clean the kitchen sink every time he wanted to cook.

We had a stainless steel double sink with a one-handle faucet. He would spend approximately five minutes scrubbing the sink with a sponge and dishwashing liquid. “Don't use a scouring pad; you'll scratch the sink, ” he reminded me. He would spend the majority of the cleaning time rinsing the sink to ensure that no soap residue would taint the vegetables to be cleaned.

After this meticulously cleaning, he would half-fill one side of the sink with plain water. He would proceed to cut up the cabbage, green pepper, and onions and rinse the cabbage in the basin of water. He would rinse the peppers and onions. separately, in the colander and place each of the cleaned vegetables in separate bowls.

After this point, he might take a break, but I always knew he was ready to cook when he reached inside one of the lower cabinets and pulled out the big metal pot. This was the pot my parents used for all of the large dishes usually prepared for Sunday dinners and other special occasions. The only other time I ever saw my dad pull out this pot was for preparing cabbage. He would rinse out the pot, turn on the front burner, and place a one-pound block of 100% butter inside the pot to be melted. When the butter was nearly all melted, he would drop in the sliced onions

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