BLUE SUN ROOM

Zoë's cooking

POSTED BY: PHOENIXROSE
UPDATED: Monday, September 3, 2007 06:51
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Friday, May 18, 2007 7:32 PM

PHOENIXROSE

You think you know--what's to come, what you are. You haven't even begun.


Why is it that in every single fanfic I can remember reading, Zoë is portrayed as a horrible cook? I can get characterizing her as a woman who might not like to cook, but that doesn't automatically mean she's terrible at it. There's only one time we see her cooking in the series, and Wash treats it like a reward. "I musta done good." is what he says upon recieving some 'wife soup'. He doesn't eat any of it because of the little scene with Mal, but he didn't seem to be dreading the taste at all to me.
So why - why - do fanfic writers insist on casting Zoë as the crew member who's night to cook everyone dreads? Sometimes even the woman who thinks she's a decent cook but isn't? That one in particular seems totally against her character. She's a woman who's very aware of herself and those around her; she would know if she was a lousy cook. She also wouldn't get offended if told she was a lousy cook. Like I said, she probably doesn't enjoy it and it seems to be a rare thing to see her in the kitchen, but how does that translate over to all these other things? I do not understand, and it's really starting to grate on me.


Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.

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Friday, May 18, 2007 7:36 PM

BLINDOUTLAW


it could be because she is the warrior woman, so some people think her skills don't extend to the kitchen. But you never know she may cook up the greatest meals on the ship and she just doesn't get the chance to do it, but we just don't know.

now if Jayne cooked a meal *shudder*


mmmmmmmm wife soup
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That was when i found out my pants were on fire, and that's my Courageous story.

- Jimmy the Blindoutlaw

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Friday, May 18, 2007 7:47 PM

PHOENIXROSE

You think you know--what's to come, what you are. You haven't even begun.


Quote:

Originally posted by Blindoutlaw:
it could be because she is the warrior woman, so some people think her skills don't extend to the kitchen.


But that would be like thinking a warrior woman wouldn't want to wear a slinky dress. What I like and what I think everyone likes about Joss Whedon is that his characters are well-rounded. They're people, rather than archetypes. There are facets and nuances to them. Mal and Zoë are not, for example, the fearless, flawless leader and the strong right hand. They're people. People who were scarred by a terrible battle, who have held each other up through life and work well together. People who run into problems and don't make it out without a scratch on them. People who can fire a gun AND cook AND love deeply AND struggle with their demons... and and and! Most writers seem to understand that when it comes to Mal, but not as much with Zoë. Sometimes there's the two Zoës in a story; the warrior and the wife. She's written differently in the context of her relationship with Wash than any other time. That's also wrong, since she's always the same woman who protects her crew and loves her husband, but at least it takes into account that she has that. But a lot of post BDM fic, of course, doesn't have that, and Zoë fades and is the strong right hand who can't cook


Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.

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Friday, May 18, 2007 9:56 PM

THEREALME


Without meaning to offend any writers here, there are not many around with the talent of a Joss.


TheRealMe, Captain of the Sereni-Tree

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Saturday, May 19, 2007 1:40 PM

MISSTRESSAHARA


If I may, not disagreeing with you here, but they may have picked up on something Alan said in the commentary for War Stories, now it's been awhile since I watched it but in the commentary Alan jokes how Zoe is supposed to be this terrible cook but in real life Gina is a fabulous cook and even had a party (she and hubby Lawrence Fishburn) and had Alan over and Gina cooked this huge meal, all courses. Nathan replies really? And Alan says yeah she makes great food.

Now you know how people are, they hear one thing from the actors or things dropped by the writers produces directors and they think of it as canon. I'm not sure if Alan was joking, but that just may be where they heard it, sublimanally remembered it, and just took it as rote. If you want to make sure you should pop in War Stories and skip right to the end where she's serving Wash the soup (with the commentaries on) and you can hear for yourself.

I hope my long winded addition wasn't too much to read.

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Saturday, May 19, 2007 1:58 PM

RIVERDANCER


Yeah, you're right. I watched it just now and he says something like "Gina cooked for me and it was great and I had always though of her as a bad cook because she didn't like to cook on the show, but the actual person is a great cook."
Funny how people think those kind of things. I've known plenty of people who hated to cook but were still okay at it. Folk gotta eat.

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Saturday, May 19, 2007 11:01 PM

JETFLAIR


I've never taken particular issue with (or even noticed) the cooking thing, but this does bring up an issue I have with fanfic portayals of Zoe in particular.

It seems like everyone wants to write her as hard and cold, even ruthless. Where, exactly, was she like that in the series? In the series, she's a thinking, feeling, loving, and compassionate woman. The fact that she can also deal calmly with violence, fight, kill, and control her emotions seems to throw a lot of people.

Why can people wrap their heads around the fact that tough, cold, and violent Mal is also a caring, human, and even softhearted man.....but not be able to do it where Zoe is concerned?



"Love keeps her in the air when she oughta fall down, tells you when she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home." .......We love you, captain.

"This is the captain. We may experience some slight turbulence and then.....explode"

www.serenityverse.com - Zoe necklace replicas, Serenity dogtags, jewelry, image gallery w/ custom DVD covers, other goodies!

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Sunday, May 20, 2007 8:44 PM

AGENTROUKA


Very much in agreement about the cooking confusion.

Or the hard-ass portrayel confusion.

I'll add some confusion about her relationship with Mal.

People love writing her as.. protecting him against Inara. Basically, warning off Inara not to hurt him like some overbearing older brother stereotype.
Out of anyone on the ship, Zoe should be best able to understand Inara's side of the equation, that being a woman with a profession that can stand in conflict with her relationship to the man she loves. If Zoe tried casting stones, Inara would probably point at her glass house, but I think Zoe's too self-aware of that.

So... that particular cliche always annoys me. I don't like when people revert to stereotypes without really examining if they even fit.

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Saturday, August 25, 2007 8:12 AM

RIVERFLAN


First of all: the cooking issue. I think the reason is that a lot of folk have narrow minds. Too much bad TV (Firefly is good TV) But just because she doen't like cooking doesn't mean that she can't cook. It just means that she doesn't like to. And remember the line "Wife soup. I must have done good." Maybe she just saves her cooking for treats, rather like the way you treat your pet to pet treats when they do good.

The hard-ass issue: I think that folk see "ex-military" and think "stone killer". That's not true. Yes, some people end up like that, but not all. That vision is mainly caused by narrow-minded folk.

And Zoe wouldn't talk with Inara like that. She's not some over-bearing older bro. She respects that Inara and Mal are adults, and can be responsible for themselves.

That's my two cents worth. Bwaa!

River: "The human body can be drained of blood in 8.6 seconds, given adequate vaccuuming systems."

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Sunday, August 26, 2007 3:40 AM

SPACEANJL


Zoe in the war was a 'stone killer'. Remember Tracey and his take? But she has moved on from that, and although some of it was probably meeting Wash, not all of it. But the scant background gleaned is that she is career military, from that background, and that she was born and raised shipside. (sources: OVC's, scripts.) I think she can cook, but doesn't enjoy it as a relaxation. I think she enjoys good food as much as anyone, but I don't think she lives for the sensation of taste, or relaxes over creating just the right flavour to a batch of sauce. (Yeah, I'm a glutton, with a very large library of well-used cookbooks.) She may not have grown up around a lot of 'real' food.

Also, Jayne cooking? We've seen it, beginning of OiS. He and Book chatting, and Jayne is flipping little patties of some sort perfectly happily. He likes his food, and I could see him hunting and prepping meat.

Now, I've written Simon as a dreadful cook, because he's never had the experience of it. (Plus, I knew some medical students at Uni. Really, you do not want to know. *shudders*) He obviously still lived at home until the Breakout, and I imagine the Tams had servants.

Zoe and Inara? Not a lot of interaction between them in the series. I think they respect each other, but are very different people. I can see Zoe being a little unnerved if she thinks her commanding officer (and friend) is losing focus and risking taking them all down over something. But I don't like the fics that have everybody in everybody else's business all the time. Inara and Kaylee indulged in a little girl-talk, but that was clearly down to their personalities. Zoe and Kaylee may have done in the past, but there is quite an age/experience gap there. The only way a close-knit group living in a small space will cope is if they do leave other folk alone.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007 11:01 AM

SCHOONER


here're my opinions of the crew members culinary expertise, starting with the one's there's some evidence for

Book: Most likely the best cook on the ship, and the most able to use limited implements and ingredients. Look at the dinner in the pilot as proof

Kaylee: Best of the regular crew, she's the one who bakes Simon's birthday cake out of protein, but gets the frosting as chocolate-y as possible (OOG).

Simon: The worst, he can't even swallow his own cooking (Ariel). To quote Jayne "Smells like crotch"

Jayne: In OIS he's able to cook and carry on a conversation at the same time, something I wasn't able to master for years. It looked like Book was not dreading it, so it can't be that bad.

Now, just my thoughts:

Zoë: I imagine knows how to cook good solid army food that keeps a body going, and a couple of special "wife soup" things for Wash. It's hot, brown, and plenty of it (place that quote). Having been born vesselside and career military, this is the sort of food she grew up on.

Inara: Most likely has a select number of meals that she can prepare exquisitely, as part of a Companion's training. She would be hampered by Serenity's lack of ingredients and equipment.

Wash: Bachelor food, and knows how to make a few special things for Zoë. I'd place him in the "noodles, chili, and sandwiches" category.

Mal: Might be unexpectedly skilled. Growing up on a ranch, he would have maybe learned from the resident cook. Also, he prides himself on his independence, and part of that is being able to cook for oneself without getting sick or bored. Or, he also might be compeltely lost in a kitchen; after all, one of his first ideas was to hire a cook for Serenity.

River: A wildcard, as in everything. She might be able to recite entire cookbooks, but little practical experience. I'd love to read a fic where River tries to figure out how to cook dinner, or mixes her martial arts abilities up with chopping vegetables for stew.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007 11:27 AM

BROWNCOAT2007


All good points, and I'd probably have to agree with you on all of them, except the Wash bit... the whole "I was under fire once... well, I was in a fire... Well I was fired from a fry cook opportunity" thing makes me think he'd probably end up burning up the entire kitchen had he ever tried to cook... and the fic idea with River *falls over laughing* that'd be great to see...

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007 11:27 PM

SPACEANJL


I'm with Schooner on the relative merits of the crew, though I put Mal in the 'bachelor cooking' camp. Or as Jayne puts it; "Mal can burn water."
A fic with Mal and Wash attempting to cook could be...horrific.

And I did have River burning the dinner on one occasion. She can pick up what to do, but finds that theory does not translate into practice. Which would annoy her considerably. Were you thinking of something like that scene in 'The Long Kiss Goodnight', with the knife throwing, by any chance?

The Inara thing also rings true. I think she could order a fabulous meal, and probably do a few fiddly little canape things, but cooking basic food for a large number of hungry people? No. (It's harder than it sounds, particularly if you are working with limited field kit and a very basic ingredient spread.) And I don't think she's one to put up with doing anything badly; she'd rather not play, than lose.

Thinking about what the crew have to work with, food-wise, is also an interesting exercise. Rice or noodles, protein in different colours and not a lot else. You'd need to be quite skilled to get flavour and texture out of that. I imagine they have something equivalent to tofu, that you can marinade or smoke. And various sauces and pickles would be at a premium.

You just know that my OC character is the cook, don't you.

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Thursday, August 30, 2007 5:11 AM

DEEPGIRL187


I always wanted to write a fic where the main character was a cook recently hired on Serenity. But I always worried it get labled as a Mary Sue. Or perhaps I'm misreading the meaning of Mary Sue?

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"But I neeeeed tacos! I need them or I will explode! That happens to me sometimes."

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Thursday, August 30, 2007 7:08 AM

MAL4PREZ


Quote:

Originally posted by deepgirl187:
I always wanted to write a fic where the main character was a cook recently hired on Serenity. But I always worried it get labled as a Mary Sue. Or perhaps I'm misreading the meaning of Mary Sue?

Well, if she has mad skills and great hair and every man on the ship falls in love with her and every woman wants to be her best friend and she solves all problems and every storyline revolves around her... Yeah, Mary Sue.

If she's realistic and complex and imperfect and doesn't take over everything, not so much.

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hmm-burble-blah, blah-blah-blah, take a left

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Thursday, August 30, 2007 8:32 AM

MSG


yeah see I really think the ship needs a cook/housekeeper. Launder clothes, cook meals, nurse the sick ( along with Simon) and the basics... that could be interesting... where do I sign up?

"I'm not all that interested in the mental health of people who want to kill me. "- Leroy Jethro Gibbs


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Monday, September 3, 2007 6:51 AM

RIVERFLAN


Quote:

Originally posted by schooner:

River: A wildcard, as in everything. She might be able to recite entire cookbooks, but little practical experience. I'd love to read a fic where River tries to figure out how to cook dinner, or mixes her martial arts abilities up with chopping vegetables for stew.



Someone did write a fic about that, it's called... okay, I forgot the title, let me go look it up real quick.

Edit: it's called Home Cooking, and you wrote it, schooner! How silly can I be? I love that story, had me laughing my head off.



"The human body can be drained of blood in 8.6 seconds, given adequate vaccuuming systems." -River

"It's just an object. It doesn't mean what you think -River

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