Every woman in my family cooks. When I think of my maternal grandmother, I think of the boiled amaranth greens she'd put on top of congee, the iron from their roots bleeding across our bowls. My paternal grandmother was famous for her shizitou, a fist-sized meatball skirted by mushrooms and baby bok choy. My aunts fried halibut, pinched pork wontons from scratch, and turned out pans of Shanghainese kaufu in accordance with old hand-me-down recipes. For New Year's celebrations, my mother would fold daan kouk, miniature egg omelets meant to represent imperial sycees and prosperity in the New Year.
My father, who'd worked as a waiter and prep cook as a teenager, behaves differently in the kitchen. He would never have the patience to coax individual daan kouk from a steel soup ladle held over an open flame ("Just make one big omelet and cut it up!"). His foremost concern is efficiency: the quickest way to sear the most dumplings, the best way to get rid of leftovers (fried rice), the fastest way to fold wontons, nevermind how they looked. My brothers do not cook at all.