Feminism, Sensuality and the Kitchen

Prima Donna's picture
Submitted by Prima Donna on Sun, 2006-04-23 06:04

Gents (and lovely ladies!), I'm interested in getting your feedback on this topic. In my latest podcast I'm talking about feminism and sensuality, and the havoc the former has wrought upon the latter, particularly in the kitchen.

I realize that I'm likely preaching to the choir, but in case there is a voice of disagreement I'd like to discuss the idea with all of you, as it's part of my larger vision for getting these thoughts out to the public. (I can only imagine the hate mail that's going to come from this one. Oy.)

Smiling


( categories: )

Oh, Claudia!

Prima Donna's picture

What a magnificent thing to read! I don't even really have words for a response right now, because I'm simply tickled. Smiling


-- The Gilded Fork

Food Philosophy. Sensuality. Sass.

Hey Jennifer?

Olivia's picture

Just this last week I've had a much better experience of cooking for us all. Instead of doing it with a half heart, I've immersed myself into it as an important expression of love and care. It really helped to do this little cognitive shift! Thanks to all who replied to me on this.

Amen, sister!

Prima Donna's picture

I indulge in those whenever possible, too. Shoes...mmm...

Smiling


-- The Gilded Fork

Food Philosophy. Sensuality. Sass.

Ha!

Olivia's picture

Now that sounds just like me - but my obsession is scrummy shoes, clothes and jewellery. I may have to guide my pedantry down a more useful track I fear.

Indeed.

Prima Donna's picture

Yes, Claudia, I think that's definitely part of it. I likely take it a step further (deeper?) than most because cuisine is literally my obsession, so I do revel in flavor, texture, color, etc. I can swoon over a beautiful food photo; but then I'm a freak. Smiling


-- The Gilded Fork

Food Philosophy. Sensuality. Sass.

I definitely get a sense of

Olivia's picture

I definitely get a sense of pride from cooking for my loved ones - especially when they enjoy the food. It's a matter of wanting to enjoy cooking for my own pleasure. What I'm getting from you guys is that you enjoy it because it's a basic act of everyday survival that you turn into a creative act of love which is tangible.

Thanks for that tidbit,

Prima Donna's picture

Thanks for that tidbit, Becky. That's going on the "to consult" list immediately. Smiling

I'm so glad you enjoyed that part of Atlas, too; she captured a great deal in one or two short sentences. I can definitely see falling in love with a man after he's presented a meal out of love for you and your well-being -- nicely done. Smiling


-- The Gilded Fork

Food Philosophy. Sensuality. Sass.

Also artichokes

Becky Pallack's picture

Another source for you to consult for the topic of sensuality and food might be Pable Neruda. I especially love "Ode to an Artichoke" and "Ode to Wine."

Why I love waffles

Becky Pallack's picture

Oh man, I love that part of Atlas too. It only enhanced that proud feeling I get when I make a really nice meal for my man or for friends and they tell me how good it is. That is so satisfying. (If only I could feel that way about doing the dishes.) It's nice the other way around, too. I fell in love with my hot objectivist boyfriend when he made me waffles.

Lovely!

Prima Donna's picture

Bill, these are all wonderful suggestions. (Want a job?) Smiling As I've said many times, and will continue to say, it is all in how we approach the act of cooking: Is it a pleasure, or does it feel like a chore? If the experience itself can be made more fulfilling on a personal level, there is a great deal of enjoyment and satisfaction that can be gotten from it.

I often think of the passage in Atlas where Dagny is cooking for John, and she comes to an understanding that providing a meal for the man one loves is of a spiritual, fulfilling nature, and not the duty is has been condemned to be. I think cultivating that mindset is an important part of the process.

If any of you have further ideas on this, and a microphone handy, I'd love for you to leave a thought or two on the recorder I've installed at Food Philosophy for voice comments. If you click "Leave a Comment" a little Java applet will launch so you can record a message. If there are any sweet nothings, I have the option to keep those private. Heh. Smiling


-- The Gilded Fork

Food Philosophy. Sensuality. Sass.

Help for Claudia

Bill Sipes's picture

My parents both grew up during the Depression and had experienced the feeling of not always knowing the origin of there next meal. Subsequently, Mom and Dad very openly took pleasure in providing and preparing wonderful family meals. Everyone in my family now enjoys using food as a tangible expression of love and we practice this expression with each other as often as possible. I would love for you to have this same kind of connection with family meals so here are some ideas.

1. Dedicate some small portion of your disposable income to making cooking more enjoyable. That may be anything from getting some good knives or a good mixer to buying music to play in the kitchen. Make it a set amount every week that you put back so that you can actually anticipate when you will have enough to purchase your new toys. (my experience is that most women respond very positively to anticipation)

2.Allow everyone in your family to be a part of the process. Start by teaching your children how to prepare simple side dishes and then move to their favorite family recipes. I know that as a child I was thilled the day I learned how to make my own grilled cheese sandwich. If your husband is good with a grill, goddammit, let him be good at it. Eventually, you may find other family members taking on whole meals.

3. If it isn't already, let meal time be family time. Work on being engaged in your enjoyment and your loved one's enjoyment of the food and each other. Cooking may take on a different light. I know that something as simple as shaving becomes a pleasure if it is in preparation for a hot date.

I hope these ideas help you take pleasure in having a beautiful, well fed family.

Yes, dear.

Prima Donna's picture

I know, Ross, you need to beat your chest and feel manly. Duly noted.

The new show is a recap and evaluation of some of the comments that have been posted by readers, so take a listen if you are so inclined.


-- The Gilded Fork

Food Philosophy. Sensuality. Sass.

You betcha cuddly ass

Ross Elliot's picture

You betcha cuddly ass sensuality + cooking ain't the domain of women!

Ever seen a man wield a knife, shaman-like, over the chopping board? He moves, he cuts, chops, slices & juliennes! He quaffs le bon vin and makes it all seem soooooo easy!

We are not Devo--we are men. We are culinaria personified!

Excellent idea.

Prima Donna's picture

Thank you for the kind words, Claudia. I hope you find some culinary inspiration there.

The rolling butcher block is an excellent idea, and at least it's on wheels so you can maneuver it around a small kitchen. I'm glad I could help to work toward a solution for you. (I wonder if they make them at a height for midgets like me?) Smiling


-- The Gilded Fork

Food Philosophy. Sensuality. Sass.

I just checked out the

Olivia's picture

I just checked out the Gilded Fork site - very elegant indeed.

I think I'll invest in a big butcher's block bench on wheels. I can just see the children now pushing past it in the kitchen and then pushing past the fridge door that opens the wrong way... and then pushing past the open dishwasher to get to the pantry for a biscuit! I think we need a bigger kitchen.

Anyway, thanks Jennifer for applying your mind to my complaining.

Thank you.

Prima Donna's picture

Thanks John. You've brought up a great point, as I do not believe sensuality and cooking are solely the domain of females -- they are universal. We will also talk about men, and whatever else we can think of. Somehow I think the men won't send me hate mail, but I can never be sure of such things. Smiling


-- The Gilded Fork

Food Philosophy. Sensuality. Sass.

No Stooping

Prima Donna's picture

Hi Claudia. Please call me Jennifer.

The Gilded Fork is an online food portal with food and wine articles, recipes, simple & elegant menus, and food podcasts. You can access it from anywhere in the world (OK, except maybe from China, since we're talking about sensuality).

I empathize with your plight, though in the reverse. I'm short, so if I try to knead bread on my kitchen counter, I either need a stool or I need to move everything to the kitchen table. Is it possible to use a butcher block cutting board with legs on it to raise your "counter" level (or a series of them in a row)? This would save you some ache.

Julia Child also had this problem (she was 6 feet tall, I believe), and she did develop a hunched back, so I can understand why you face the task without enthusiasm. I'll think of some other ideas for you, at least away from the stove. Of course, you *could* tell the beloved to install customized counters! Smiling

Jennifer


-- The Gilded Fork

Food Philosophy. Sensuality. Sass.

least attractive points

Olivia's picture

Thanks Malcolm and PrimaDonna. It is definitely more pleasurable when my beloved is in the kitchen with me.

Is the Guilded Fork a show broadcasted in the States? I'm on the other side of the zoo.

Since you asked I've had a think about my point of resistance to cooking.

I'm tall and kitchen benches are not high enough. I literally have to stoop to make a meal - or stand with my legs spread apart to lower my height so my back doesn't take the brunt (this looks she-devil kinky man and I have trouble just getting on with it if my Dad's in the room).

Does this have symbolic ramifications or what? I mean I have to stoop for fucks sake! How anti an objectivist code of living is that!

Keep it comming then

Rick Giles's picture

Rick, the show is ongoing -- we've only scratched the surface with this one.

Well then...can't really argue with that.

"Not knowing how to cook is

John M Newnham's picture

"Not knowing how to cook is like not knowing how to fuck"
- Robert Rodriguez

The sensuality involved in cooking is beyond the masculine or feminine. It can be such a pleasure, or a complete chore. I hate to rush, but I've put together wonderful meals in my own enthusiastic and somewhat clumsy style, very quickly. And when I have the time, I have taken such care and poured so much love into the prep that afterwards I would rather watch the family eat than eat myself.

Jennifer, this podcast was great. Very nice to see you around again!

John

Claudia, I applaud you for

Prima Donna's picture

Claudia, I applaud you for taking care of such a sizeable brood! Smiling

As far as learning to enjoy the process more, that is one of the primary missions of my podcast and of the Gilded Fork as a whole. Believe me, we do understand how difficult it is with modern schedules to have the time to enjoy such pursuits. We're hoping that by evoking the senses more, and by examining in depth the sensual aspects of cooking (and celebrating them), we'll be able to help people come to a new understanding of food's sensual enjoyment.

Perhaps you will come along for the ride, at least for a short while, to see if anything we have to say strikes you? There might be a "Eureka" moment where some new approach to the cooking makes it a bit less tedious for you.

What part of the process is least attractive to you? I'd love to talk about this. Thank you so much for joining in the conversation. Smiling


-- "The discovery of a new dish does more for human happiness than the discovery of a new star." Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, The Physiology of Taste

involvement --

Robert Malcom's picture

Why not get the others involved with the cooking process, instead of, as it seems to be, up to you......

about cooking for crowds

Olivia's picture

See, I struggle here. I cook for a large family most of the time, seven in total.

I have this resistance to always happily taking myself into the kitchen to cook every night - operative word here is happily!

I was just saying to Glenn tonight that I sometimes find it hard to raise my attitude above the old "just get the dinner over with so we can relax" mentality.

Is there an insight you can give me so that I can perhaps shift my thinking to enjoy cooking more? It's such a constant.

Excellent, Landon

Ross Elliot's picture

Excellent, Landon Eye

Patience...

Prima Donna's picture

Rick, the show is ongoing -- we've only scratched the surface with this one. Do be patient. Smiling

I've given what I think is a valid reason for learning to cook -- it is a sensual experience. It's not for everyone, but I'd like to get as many people interested in that aspect of it as possible.

I have no idea what you mean by that last sentence.


-- "The discovery of a new dish does more for human happiness than the discovery of a new star." Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, The Physiology of Taste

False advertising

Rick Giles's picture

Yeah, interesting and fun Ms. Keep 'em comming.

But: false advertising!!

I thought I was going to get some deep questions about femininity and sensuality answered? Nup. Not that your opinions aren't great on their own without any philosophical substructure...but yeah, glad to know you're working on that.
Your insight that boys like to play with hardware seems a handy clue into what human need 'playing with food' satisfies.

And can we get a better reason why one should learn to cook in a capitalistic world? Why bother, when you can have it cheeper and faster off the supermarket shelf?
Your answer to that reminds me of another question- "Should Earth's gravity suddenly reverse itself, will you be prepaired"?

So, you know. Let's raise the bar on food philosophy, ah what?

Ha!

Prima Donna's picture

Landon, that's quite good. Smiling

Well, Jody, this is one of the reasons why I'm diving head first into philosophical study and research right now. I want to stand on two solid feet when debating these issues, and right now my knowledge and skills are not where they need to be. If I clone myself twice I should be able to get it all accomplished in short order. In these instances, "Fuck Off" just isn't enough of a comeback. Smiling


-- "The discovery of a new dish does more for human happiness than the discovery of a new star." Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, The Physiology of Taste

cat fight

Jody Gomez's picture

Jennifer, don't go kicking that little philo girls ass. She can't help it after all; you know that an undergrad in philosophy, in today's ivory tower is nothing more than a big ole survey course that confuses the hapless victim. At least make it fair to the poor girl, and fight with only one branch of philosophy Eye

Couldn't resist

Landon Erp's picture

Miss Dildo, the master debator.

---Landon

It all basically comes back to fight or flight.

And here they come...

Prima Donna's picture

Guess I'd better warm up my debating skills. Smiling


-- "The discovery of a new dish does more for human happiness than the discovery of a new star." Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, The Physiology of Taste

Yeah man

Lanza Morio's picture

A good woman is the most wonderful, perfect, delecticious, scrumtalescent thing there is.

Nice to know we've got something to fall back on tho, eh Latka? Smiling

Word, Lance. Ya know, if I

Ross Elliot's picture

Word, Lance.

Ya know, if I didn't find women so gosh-darned, irresistably spankable, I'd maybe take a shot at you. Keep cookin'!

What's a woman need a man around for?

Lanza Morio's picture

Thanks Jen, some feminists might think of it like, "A woman doesn't need a man." And so all the fun give and take of a girl-guy relationship is out the window. In a case like this, cooking is likely to become a cold, practical matter instead of something to enjoy for itself.

I'm really enjoying learning how to cook stuff. Once or twice a week now I'll make something (angel hair w/ fresh pesto is my #1) and it's great fun.

Amen.

Prima Donna's picture

Very well said, Lance.

And now you can say it out loud if you wish! Smiling I've just added the capability to leave voice comments on my FP blog page, so I hope some of you will record a little message and share your thoughts with me. I'm counting on you, boys (and girls). Smiling

FYI, said comments will be listened to and approved before I put them live, so if you wish to leave a personal comment for me instead, just say so in the message and I won't publish it.


-- "The discovery of a new dish does more for human happiness than the discovery of a new star." Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, The Physiology of Taste

Amen.

Prima Donna's picture

Very well said, Lance.

And now you can say it out loud if you wish! Smiling I've just added the capability to leave voice comments on my FP blog page, so I hope some of you will record a little message and share your thoughts with me. I'm counting on you, boys (and girls). Smiling


-- "The discovery of a new dish does more for human happiness than the discovery of a new star." Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, The Physiology of Taste

Jen, enjoyed the podcast

Lanza Morio's picture

Jen, enjoyed the podcast very much. American women are stuck up and spoiled these days. Not all, of course, but that's the dominant trend. A girl in love wants to please her lover. There is certainly no shame in that be it about cooking or about anything else. Your lover is one of your highest possible values. Of course it's fun to cook for each other because it's fun just to be in the same room together.

I say that love is easy. There should be no hesitancy, no worries, no doubts. If the guy or the girl is insecure it messes up the dynamic which sooner or later means: no more lovin'.

Feminism has come to mean something like, "Women are superior to men." A woman who believes this can not fall in love with a man. Not cooking for the schlep is just a logical extension of this.

Casey, does your girl have a girlfriend for me? Smiling

Really nice,

Casey's picture

And so true, Jennifer. I lucked out with my girl, who is a master cook and wine connoiseur, but I definitely experienced the "cooking is slavery" mentality out there among the women when I was a young single guy. Me, I love to cook. Never understood the stigma because guys all cooked in my family. My uncle Lyle was the Exalted Ruler of the Elks, and you have to know how to cook a lot of potato salad to qualify for that position. My Uncle Lyle could cook A LOT of potato salad.

Julian!

Prima Donna's picture

That is wonderful to hear! Please do ask her to listen, as she is exactly the type of woman I want to talk to. Independence and sensuality go hand in hand as I see them, and cooking is one expression of that. An important one.

Thanks!

And Ross: Yes.


-- "The discovery of a new dish does more for human happiness than the discovery of a new star." Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, The Physiology of Taste

Great! I enjoyed that

JulianP's picture

Great! Smiling I enjoyed that podcast.

I think my girlfriend might enjoy it too. She was raised in an extremely intolerant, religious, conservative, and chauvinist culture, where women really are relegated to the kitchen and the bedroom, and educating women is frowned upon. As a child, she started rebelling, and the only way she could express it was to stay out of the kitchen as an act of symbolic defiance. As a result she never learned how to cook. She has come a long way, and realised that she can be strong and independent, and still enjoy the pure sensual pleasure of cooking good food.

I'll let you know what she thinks of the podcast.

So thank you again for the food for thought.

Cheers
Julian

"Ten inches is just

Ross Elliot's picture

"Ten inches is just right"???

Such a large appetite in such a small package, Miss. Mmmm?

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