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Food for Thought

March 08, 2010

Here Are The Great Women Chefs!

International Women's Day BlogaroundThis post is part of Blog for International Women’s Day put on by Gender Across Borders. A list of all the participants is available here: International Women’s Day Bloggers Directory

Apparently the world has lost track of its great women chefs. At least, that is my interpretation of the incessant stream of articles with titles like Missing: Great Women Chefs in New York, Where have all the women chefs gone? and oh so many similar articles.

Lots of people are helping in the search for the missing female chefs, too. Seattle Tall Poppy is looking for them. Regina Schrambling found some toiling away in kitchens of ethnic restaurants. Gastronomista finds some of the elusive creatures at the Bocuse d’Or competition in Where the Great Women Chefs Are,

In Why Are There No Great Women Chefs?, whose name echoes Linda Nochlin’s "Why Are There No Great Women Artists?" Charlotte Druckman examines not just the search, but the question itself. You really should grab the PDF of that article and give it a read next time you put your feet up for a few minutes.

While searching for the women chefs, one often hears that women do pastry, while men do savory, and there does seem to be some truth to this. It is also true that pastry chefs seem to get much less fame and fortune than savory chefs, but is this related to the higher proportion of women in the sweet kitchen? Maybe. Then again, maybe not.

Continue reading "Here Are The Great Women Chefs!" »

August 13, 2009

Bacon: One American’s Outrage

This post comes from Chris Perrin, who writes at Blog Well Done. One evening on twitter, Chris offered to write a guest post and I invited him to pick something he might not write for his own site. A few days later, Chris sent me this piece, convincing me that the simple instruction to 'write something you wouldn't post at your place' was a great way to elicit marvelous guest posts. When you are done reasing, stop by Blog Well Done and encourage Chris in antics like Fantasy Top Chef.

The following public service announcement comes to you from Blog Well Done and good, God fearing Americans everywhere.

There’s a threat out there, lurking in the grocery store and hiding in the hearts, refrigerators and arteries of American citizens.  It’s more disruptive to American values than even health care reform, which can only cause all of us to be happier and healthier.  Read my lips, no good will come of it.

But back to the matter at hand.  Some call this threat I speak of a silent killer.  Some find it thoroughly addictive.  Some call it delicious, delicious pork fat.  Everyone calls it: bacon.

That’s right bacon.

Continue reading "Bacon: One American’s Outrage" »

May 13, 2009

Food that squicks out other people

When theKid was a young'un, she had a signature omelet: hot dog, grape jelly, and sharp cheddar.The precise genesis of this creation is lost to time, but it was surely her own concoction - the specific combination has remained unappealing for nigh on a quarter-century now. More than that, perhaps, is the ongoing joke of my horror at the mere idea of the thing. (But if I liked it where would the fun be in that?)

I was reminded of theKid's omelet today when I was at Shakesville, a feminist site with a side of food, where they asked people:

What's a food you love that horrifies most other people?

The thread is a hoot, although I found at least a couple of things I love on the list. Those rolls of pastrami/cream cheese/pickle, my grandmother used to make those for me when I visited. (Is it a Jewish thing?) Other choices, say, turkey skin that is "nice and soft and fatty and moist" just make me cringe. Which is, I suppose the point of the list.

The entire list is here.

For balance, What is your idea of the perfect meal? Oddly, this has less than a hundred comments while the other is creeping towards 200.

Even odder, I can't come up with food that I eat that horrifies other people. This probably says more about the people I hang out with than me, but still...

How about you? What do you love that squicks other folks out?

August 01, 2008

Recapturing a food memory

Just last weekend, someone asked me what the first thing I remembered cooking was. I thought for a minute, and then I lied to them, saying, "Pound cakes. I took decorated pound cakes to my teachers every year and I baked them myself!"

In my defense, I truly did think that it was the correct answer when I said it - and I did bake pound cakes for my teachers - but a few days ago, something else came across my desk and made me reconsider what was first.

I was presented with the need to pay tribute to Mimi, my grandmother - the woman who, more than any, shaped the kitchenMage I am today - in a single photograph, and one with odd constraints at that. Remembering that recent conversation, I once again went rummaging through cookbooks and memories for the very first thing I remember making.

Needless to say, it wasn't pound cake.

Continue reading "Recapturing a food memory" »

April 09, 2008

Quick question for the vegetarians, vegans and the like...

I am in the middle of writing a cookbook and would like to include some tips for parents of children who have declared they will no longer eat food with faces. Whether it's nutrition, the meatless recipe that you cooked 3-4 times a week at first, or the delicate handling a child who seems to be rejecting your lovingly prepared meal, parents need help with this. So, two simple questions:

  • If you could some advice to the parents of a newly vegetarian/vegan child, what would it be?
  • What is the worst thing you can do if your child decides to eat a meatless diet? (Personal experiences from hell are welcome.)

Thanks for your contributions, everyone.

February 02, 2008

Martha Stewart's next Big Idea

I have just been over at Martha Stewart's site telling her what I think her next big project should be. The list is varied, including a lifestyle magazine for pet owners, which would have "pet crafts" (My cat won't hold still while I decoupage her.), Martha stores (Seriously, doesn't she have them?), and a merchandise line targeting a younger demographic (rolls eyes - isn't everything already?).

My choice? A magazine for people with food allergies. At the moment, this is running even with the pets. I'll make you a deal. You vote for the food allergies magazine and I'll draw you a pattern for the ring-bearer pillow for your dog, if that's really what you want at your wedding.

Martha wants your opinion. too. Stop by The Martha Blog and check out the list of contenders for the next Big Idea.

January 07, 2008

Equifinality and the 30 minute meal

First, since I can't put the link in the title, and I was recently at a writing workshop where it was pointed out that you shouldn't throw out obscure words without enough context to make it fairly clear what you meant: equifinality

While I have been know to snark about Rachael Ray (hereafter known as RR) from time to time, she does have a good idea from time to time. I even laud some of her goals: if 30 minute meals (hereafter known as 30mm) got people "into the kitchen" (whatever that means; is there some study somewhere?) and if CAKE helps get people thinking about some of the problems we've got with kids (and adults) and food in the US (and elsewhere), then brava!

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December 19, 2007

the cookbook whisperer

cake book

As an unapologetically enthusiastic cook, I own a lot of cookbooks. A quick survey from where I sit reveals four bookshelves-one with easily 125 books-and six piles of books in varying states of precariousness. Books with recipes make up the bulk of these, but McGee, Nestle, Pollan, Schlosser, Parsons and others contribute a couple dozen reference books to the clutter in my office. It should be noted that I can only see the dining room and my office.

Out of sight, the guest room has a bookcase of food essayists, designed to be read in small bits: Reichl, Steingarten, Bourdain, the annual Best Food Writing series. Two more boxes, utterly untouched, sit where they were shoved under the entryway bench a few months ago "until we build more bookshelves," an event I expect to happen real soon now. Like next year.

Continue reading "the cookbook whisperer" »

November 26, 2007

post-Thanksgiving debrief

Pull up a chair, pour yourself a drink and take a moment to consider what you loved about last week and what you weren't so fond of. Yes, I know you just finished cleaning up and there are still leftovers in the refrigerator. I understand that the last thing you want to contemplate is how to roast the turkey next year, but, like childbirth, you will utterly forget the pain of this year by next November. This will make you believe that brining a turkey in a lot of salt is good idea – it's not – and that you can have too many kinds of cranberries – you can't, we had three...and five people.

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October 22, 2007

Dear PETA, women are animals too...

Dear PETA,

What is it with the soft porny commercials and naked women? Are you truly so blinded by your desire to save furry critters with faces that you forget women are critters with faces too? Those women were even somewhat furry too, before you made them get all waxed and shaved so they could get nekkid for your tacky ad campaigns. (Apparently natural is good for sheep but not for girls.)

The women in your ads all too often appear to be the victims of some sort of strange fetishized sexualized violence. Naked, vulnerable, marked up like exotic animals, chained and caged. And yet, lovely. Thin, yet curvy. Beautiful, beaten and bound. Sometimes dead.

The gap between this and many a movie you can't see without mom and dad is skimpier than that piece of lettuce that you, PETA, think passes as clothes.

For a group that can work up a head of steam over a goldfish, you sure don't seem to get that women are people too. Seriously, the women of PETA (that sounds like a Playboy layout doesn't it?) are starved, shaved, waxed and laid out for someone's 'viewing pleasure' (surely not mine) like...what am I looking for...oh yeah, a piece of meat. Irony much?

Yeah, yeah, yeah. This is more of the same old PETA tripe. You have been exploiting naked women in what they say is an effort to stop the exploitation of animals for decades now. But someone sent me a link to this Alicia Silverstone video and asked me if I thought it would help animal rights.

Um, yeah, not so much.

Continue reading "Dear PETA, women are animals too..." »

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