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Cooking With "Modernist Cuisine." The Gender Divide


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Of course we've all been following the "Cooking With Modernist Cuisine" topic.It's amazing.

I'm fascinated that the posters on this topic, are conservatively, 90 per cent male. Ladies (with the exception of the always inquisitive Anna N.)why aren't we all over this topic?

I can say the obvs: Boys like toys, whether in the garage, the office or the kitchen. Even dudes who flunked tenth grade biology and never took physics just love the tools and the science of Modernist Cuisine. And the results on the plate, of course.

My eye on the female citizens of eGullet tells me that my sisters aren't science impaired. We like to cook, have brill skills, and yet this topic seems like either a snooze or an fun fest of male passion and nerdiness.

My excuse is easy: I can't afford the book. What's your's, Sistergirls? Is it a difference between female "real food" v male "This is the most fun since I learned to program in Basic?"

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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I'm a woman! I bought 2 books and sold one to a guy in Dubai to pay for both sets. I've made the mac and cheese, the mushroom ketchup and the beef glaze for the hamburger. I bought a Sous Vide Supreme last July and truly love the ease of it. We had 72 hour short ribs for dinner tonight, and I've got another batch of ribs in the brine for the pastrami.

I live in a very rural area without any interesting grocery stores. We are going to the city next Thursday and I will get the Korean pepper that I need to make the kimchi, now that I know not to let it sit on the counter for 24 weeks.

I've worked in restaurants, mainly in the 80's. I have a degree in biochemistry and spent that career working for the USDA.

The new husband doesn't want a centrifuge in the kitchen. I've tried. He freaked out a little bit when the second set of books arrived.

I want me some pea butter. I am going to have to find a hiding place for the centrifuge.

I got the Texturas experimental kit and about 6 other Artistre ingredients all from Zach at For the Gourmet. I am just thoroughly enjoying Modernist Cuuisine, both reading it and trying the recipes. So far I have been safe and tried things others have posted about in the MC threads. I am now feeling confident enough to try things on my own. For me this book is just so very exciting, so much fun. Does that mean I'm a boy nerd?

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Of course we've all been following the "Cooking With Modernist Cuisine" topic.It's amazing.

I'm fascinated that the posters on this topic, are conservatively, 90 per cent male. Ladies (with the exception of the always inquisitive Anna N.)why aren't we all over this topic?

I can say the obvs: Boys like toys, whether in the garage, the office or the kitchen. Even dudes who flunked tenth grade biology and never took physics just love the tools and the science of Modernist Cuisine. And the results on the plate, of course.

My eye on the female citizens of eGullet tells me that my sisters aren't science impaired. We like to cook, have brill skills, and yet this topic seems like either a snooze or an fun fest of male passion and nerdiness.

My excuse is easy: I can't afford the book. What's your's, Sistergirls? Is it a difference between female "real food" v male "This is the most fun since I learned to program in Basic?"

I have the same problem: Can't afford it, so I'm biding my time until further editions come along, and the price drops a bit. The chemistry and physics grab me a bit more than the gadgets.

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

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. . .

I'm fascinated that the posters on this topic, are conservatively, 90 per cent male. Ladies (with the exception of the always inquisitive Anna N.)why aren't we all over this topic?

...

Kerry would be in here big time except she is at a certain disadvantage - I HAVE HER BOOK.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Honestly, I'm not sure. I certainly couldn't afford the books, but I'm not sure that I'd buy them if I could. It interests me as an observer and eater, but not so much as a cook, I guess. Mr. Kim got me one of those mini kits for Christmas - you can make about 5 things - and I haven't set aside the time to experiment with it yet. A lot of it just seems 'fiddly' and I'm not much for fiddly. That's not to say that I wouldn't LOVE watching someone else fiddle with it and I'm really enjoying the thread.

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Hey! I'm a girl!

I've got 'em and I've been cooking with them and active in the threads. I've made the Mac & Cheese before I ever got the books, I've made the mushroom ketchup, attempted the gelato, and have my eye on a few other things. Currently waiting for my chamber vacuum sealer to arrive before trying much more.

I've read through the first volume and on to the second.

I hadn't noticed the gender division, but then again, pretty much everything in my life is that way. I'm a software engineer by day, into video games, like to read scifi/fantasy and science books (among other things), and like to cook enough to buy Modernist Cuisine. I'm used to being in the boy's club. I dunno why most women aren't into this stuff, but they're not. I don't let it worry me.

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I'm a woman and Maggie, the title of your thread intrigued me much more than "The Modernist Cuisine," which is to say, not at all. I don't think that was because I'm a woman so much as because I'm old. At my age, I've seen a lot of fads come and go. "The Modernist Cuisine" sounded to me like another silly, transitory fad. So in my case, it wasn't because I don't like gadgets and toys. I actually do. It was (and I sorta hate to admit this) because I didn't have the slightest idea as to what it was, and it sounded too inane for me to even want to bother to find out. I figured by the time I got interested, the fad would be over, so why waste the time to learn about it.

Sure enough, as I always feared, I've become my mother.

In her waaaaaay later years.

Not sure that helps you, Maggie, with your scholarly research.

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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I'm actually much more interested in the socio-economic division than the gender division. The price of this book alone essentially ensures only the affluent will be cooking from it.

Absolutely untrue! I have met church mice with more resources than I have but thanks to the generosity of a friend I have full access to the book. :smile: I doubt I am alone in this.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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I wish I were affluent. That book was the result of my combining every family gift for all winter holidays in 2010-11. (Chamber sealer was Father's Day/birthday in advance, in case anyone's wondering. :wink:) However, you can't argue that most people don't have $450-600 to drop on a cookbook no matter how they direct their meager disposable income.

Maggie, where did you get the 90% number?

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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I wish I were affluent. That book was the result of my combining every family gift for all winter holidays in 2010-11.

Same here.

It's not about affluence at all. Cooking and learning about it is my top hobby. Spending $461 (an no you do not need another $1000 worth of ingredients or "chemicals") on a set of books for that hobby is very much a good investment. I am not sure a gender-divide exists specifically when it comes to MC.

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog.

Which is to say, it can be so hard to tell who's male and who's female based solely on the usernames (and occasional avatar) on these forums that I think it's hard to come to any strict conclusions. Not that it's not an interesting question, as the replies in this thread have shown.

I agree with Florida that the question of socio-economic division is the more interesting one: this is a really expensive book, and for every one of us who is dedicated enough to give up all gifts from family for a year, or who has a wealthy benefactor, there are probably several working cooks or other food enthusiasts who would greatly enjoy and benefit from the contents but simply cannot afford access. Which is not to say that their price is in any way inappropriate, or that they're not worth the money, but I think it's important for us to remember how lucky we are to be able to devote the resources to them. On the other hand, I think it's also quite likely that the much of the information in them will diffuse throughout the cooking community over time, even among those who don't have direct access to the books. That's one reason why forums like eGullet are so great! And hey, I'm happy to share the information in my copy with anyone who's curious.

Matthew Kayahara

Kayahara.ca

@mtkayahara

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Won't it be available at libraries? So that virtually anyone that wants to see it, and belongs to a library, can?

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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I have a copy. Or rather, half of our copy is mine; the other half is my husband's. But keep in mind that one line in our wedding vows was that we promised to share the kitchen.

Since the books arrived, our bedtime conversation has been rather interesting, each of us reading nuggets from a volume to the other.

I <3 my husband. :wub: And I'm very very lucky that he was just as interested as I in dropping a substantial chunk of $ on yet another "cookbook."

MelissaH

MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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I'm actually much more interested in the socio-economic division than the gender division. The price of this book alone essentially ensures only the affluent will be cooking from it.

I'm not sure I agree that only the affluent or relatively affluent will be cooking from it but the price definitely ensures that I, unfortunately, won't have my nose in a copy any time soon.

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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People, people, people....this is EXACTLY why I love the Foursquare app so much. I wait until I see one of you MC-ophiles has "checked in" somewhere for a nice evening dinner, and I kick in your back door and take your books. Then I put the net savings towards the Polyscience circulator (unless I see one sitting there when I snag the books)!

In all seriousness, for me it's exactly like spending "too much" on a meal....if I skipped Citronelle last month and added another hundred bucks, I could have bought the set. It's whatever you prioritize.....I can probably afford neither but will inevitably do both. I make very bad, very delicious decisions when it comes to food.

And being a guy, I know that as long as "the boss" thinks the results are delicious, I can continue to get away with this behavior :raz: .

Jerry

Kansas City, Mo.

Unsaved Loved Ones

My eG Food Blog- 2011

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The books are no doubt expensive....but, I am not sure it's about socio-economic. Most of my friends won't spend this kind of money on cookbooks. Sure, they may say that they can't afford it. But those same people are spending that kind on money on electronic gadgets or purses or shoes, even if they really can't afford them. The truth is that they don't see the values in the books and therefore it's too expensive to them.

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^^I agree with this, I just got it, but it took some diverging of funds from other areas of my life-I haven't gone shopping for new clothes in quite some time!

But, I also think a sacrifice is worth it, being a molecular biologist-turned pastry chef, there is an obvious intrest. So, no matter how much of a stretch it could have been for my budget, I would have figured out a way to get my hands on it!

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I'm female, don't have the books and probably won't be purchasing them. I feel like I'm not "serious" enough about cooking. For me cooking is a lifestyle, not a hobby. One that I spend a good deal of time on and enjoy a whole whole lot, but it kind of is integrated casually into my day. I've given this question a lot of thought and have also posted some rather unpopular musings on the MC thread. I'm fascinated by the topic and would love to get my hands on someone else's books just for fun. But for some reason, this method of cooking just isn't for me.

I'm not sure if any of this has to do with gender, but I do think maggie might be on to something here. Of course the tom-boyish nerdy girls here are going to speak up in their own defense. But I do think men - IN GENERAL - are more mechanically inclined. And since the techniques seem to have more to do with gadgets, instrumentation and precision than other cookbooks, maybe MC appeals more to men? Maybe, maybe not.

And it could also be that more of the women on here are just too busy running busy households to devote so much attention and mental rigor to MC?

Edited by angevin (log)
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