Love To Cook? You're Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don't

Illustration for article titled Love To Cook? You're Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don't

Today we commemorated the passing of the author of the trailblazing I Hate To Cook Book — Sample passage: "Add the flour, salt, paprika and mushrooms, stir, and let it cook five minutes while you light a cigarette and stare sullenly at the sink." — by reading the rants of a bunch of women who love to cook about why, despite centuries of seemingly contrary societal conditioning, all the people who are famous for cooking always seem to be men:

I think women cook different food, and I think women cook better food. It's more from the heart and more from the soul. I look at this whole molecular-gastronomy thing, and I'm like, "Boys with toys." They're just fascinated with technology and chemistry sets. I think we make better-tasting food. I'm sorry, I know that's politically incorrect.


And although we always strive for political correctness here at Jez we're gonna excerpt some other scandalous bits from the article because we should really get to the bottom of this.

  • Patricia Yeo: "I think men aren't as nervous about asking [for funding]. They seem to be able to say, 'Listen, this is what I want, give it to me.' Women, I think, have a harder time with it. You get notoriety because you're a woman, but do you really want the notoriety because you're a woman? You want to be known just because you are a great chef."
  • Rebecca Charles "RC: It's the boys' club. It's incredible, and I never used to buy into stuff like that."
  • Alex Guarnaschelli: You have to put on a pair of fishnet stockings, and you have to get yourself on television. I find myself hoping I can get on a TV show and then people from Oklahoma will come to my restaurant. Then I'll be able to make enough money to open my own place.

So yeah, essentially women have problems getting famous for cooking because cooking is housework and anyone who is too good at housework should be seen and not heard, preferably in heels and fishnets, but occasionally a dude can come along and break the mold because he knows how to talk flashy and over-analytical to other dudes while his long suffering pastry chefs roll their eyes and stare stubbornly at the sink. Kinda makes you want to forget the food altogether and smoke a cigarette, eh? Hey, it works for models! Which is still about the only career in which women make better money than men.

Top Female Chefs [New York Magazine]
Peg Bracken, 'I Hate To Cook' Author, Dies At 89 [NY Times]



I don't really think of cooking as "women's work" because I learned to cook from my dad, who learned how to cook from my grandpa (my grandmother hates it and is bad at it).

I'm just glad they addressed the Top Chef thing. Casey didn't lose because she was a woman. She lost because her dishes sucked. And her dishes didn't suck because she was a woman. Her dishes sucked because she didn't make them well (and compared to Hung and Dale, she's relatively inexperienced).

I don't know that not having women chefs has anything to do with the housework aspect of thing. I see it more as art and I think it's harder for women to achieve anything artistic independent of it being "woman," i.e. women's art has to do with flowers, women authors write women books, etc. Women chefs still make woman food = comfort food we can all get at home, while men get to be cowboys; culinary Jackson Pollcoks.