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Women Can't Cook


canucklehead
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I guess I should be offended, but I'm not. Not one bit. I am a bit older than his target demographic in the article, but I've been making the same argument about my generation since the 80s. (Before the days of Food Network).

I'd played with cooking as a kid, but it was really college where necessity won out over hobby. I either had to eat pizza for the rest of my life or teach myself how to cook. Out of my circle of friends, I was the only one who could cook. Anything. They lived on pre-packaged foods, take-out, dorm food... some of my friends probably didn't have a veg their entire time in college.

Over time, I did meet other cooking enthusiasts, but we were a rare breed (always popular at the office/lab potlucks). I'd argue that FN had a lot to do with popularizing home cooking in the 90s. At the very least, it brought some of us out of the closet.

Of course, it appears that we're backsliding now. A little grocery store reconnaissance demonstrates this easily. Most grocery carts I see are full of pre-packaged "heat-n-eat" crap, canned veggies, and (horror!) pre-cooked processed meats. And most of those carts are pushed around by women 25-45 who are at least 40lbs. overweight. Many have small kids in tow.

So, yep. I have to agree with GR based on my own unscientific observations over the last 20 years. Sad, isn't it.

Anna

------

"I brought you a tuna sandwich. They say it's brain food. I guess because there's so much dolphin in it, and you know how smart they are." -- Marge Simpson

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It wasn't a generalization about British food, it was a generalization about people who think each subsequent generation gets closer to hell in their handbasket than the previous one.

It was a cheap joke at the expense of the Brits, which is fine as my response was a cheap joke at the expense of the Yanks.

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I'm curious why Gordon believes women *ought* to be able to cook well.......and that the same standard doesn't apply to young men??

Extending the quote from GR I made in my earlier post, you can see that he is saying that the same standard does appear to apply to young men:

"Seriously, there are huge numbers of young women out there who know how to mix cocktails but can't cook to save their lives, whereas men are finding their way into the kitchen in ever growing numbers."

I'd agree with that as well - all the friends of my generation who are most into cooking are men.

PS

Edinburgh

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Wait, does this mean he thinks the previous generation of British women could cook?

...and we're all deeply impressed by mom's apple pie over here of course. Run me through the entire canon of American home cooking not derived from your British ancestors would you, I've got 30 seconds to spare.

Speaking of generalizations....

My KOREAN born wife's family's AMERICAN home cooking has nothing to do with British cooking. My AMERICAN born children eat Korean, Algerian and French.

They'd be surprised to hear about their British ancestors.

I can be reached via email chefzadi AT gmail DOT com

Dean of Culinary Arts

Ecole de Cuisine: Culinary School Los Angeles

http://ecolecuisine.com

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It wasn't a generalization about British food, it was a generalization about people who think each subsequent generation gets closer to hell in their handbasket than the previous one.

It was a cheap joke at the expense of the Brits, which is fine as my response was a cheap joke at the expense of the Yanks.

I see. Thankfully everybody loves Australians (even ones that are about to become British

:unsure: . I will let you know if the quality of my cooking declines at this point).

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I'm curious why Gordon believes women *ought* to be able to cook well.......and that the same standard doesn't apply to young men??

Extending the quote from GR I made in my earlier post, you can see that he is saying that the same standard does appear to apply to young men:

"Seriously, there are huge numbers of young women out there who know how to mix cocktails but can't cook to save their lives, whereas men are finding their way into the kitchen in ever growing numbers."

I'd agree with that as well - all the friends of my generation who are most into cooking are men.

I know equal amounts of people (male/female) both older and younger that are "into cooking".

Let's face it - it is not the most common thing to find in a person today.

One small difference here that has some sort of internal effect that I'd like to mention, though:

Men who enter the home kitchen are lauded and hung with accolades, slapped on the back and told what a fine fellow they are. (And indeed, they certainly are.)

Women who enter the home kitchen are *generally* not. Generally what they hear is a holler out from the other room of "Bring me a beer, will ya?"

:rolleyes:

Edited by Carrot Top (log)
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Again, I would like to mention the value that "professionalism" (or even aspects of all that glitters) holds here in our society (USA).

I tell people that I was an Executive Chef and I am wreathed with smiles and interest, with curious questions and excitement from people.

I tell people that I am a mother - who cooks for her children at home - and the sorts of things that I like to make. . .and I am suddenly surrounded by a fog of glazed disinterest, with glances around to see who else might be pounced on by the audience for a "better story".

When (or where) home cooking is respected by the society, you will have people cooking at home.

Edited by Carrot Top (log)
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Women who enter the home kitchen are *generally* not. Generally what they hear is a holler out from the other room of "Bring me a beer, will ya?"

:rolleyes:

They don't even have to be cooking to get that shout, just in the vicinity of the fridge :wink:

PS

Edinburgh

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I see. Thankfully everybody loves Australians (even ones that are about to become British

:unsure: . I will let you know if the quality of my cooking declines at this point).

DEFRA figures for the year ending 2003 (the latest available) show a 15-20% increase in the cooking ability of Australians awarded a British passport, although that was regionally adjusted down 7.3% for those living north of Watford.

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Interesting topic... lots of variables.

I'm a woman and I can cook. I have a full time job, a family, and a pretty active social life. I still cook. I love to cook. In my case it stems from my mother, and her mother before her. My mom worked full time (still does) and if you wanted any of her attention after work, you could find her in the kitchen... and hey, since you're here, make the salad for me. Hey, could you measure this for me or open that for me? She never made cooking seem like a chore and we all talked and caught up on the days news and activities while we were doing it. She got excited if she tried a new recipe or if the fat on the pork roast was really nice and crispy. We tasted and shared and we enjoyed it and I'm trying to pass that along to my daughter. My two-year-old loves to watch me cook. She drags her little chair up to my island, pulls herself up by the towel bar, and asks the usual toddler questions... "What's that?"... and I tell her what I'm doing and what ingredients I'm using. She can already identify 5 or 6 spices in the spice rack. I think she's gonna do just fine and hopefully she'll never look at cooking as a chore or something beneath her.

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It wasn't a generalization about British food, it was a generalization about people who think each subsequent generation gets closer to hell in their handbasket than the previous one.

It was a cheap joke at the expense of the Brits, which is fine as my response was a cheap joke at the expense of the Yanks.

Nope. You are reading it as

does this mean he thinks the previous generation of British women could cook?
when the intended statement was
does this mean he thinks the previous generation of British women could cook?
I would have made the same joke about American women, had the article been about them. Jokes about British food are about as embarassingly hackneyed as the Benny Hill sketches they still seem to play on BBC America. You should give me a little more credit than that.
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I totally agree with Gordon Ramsay (in fact, I've been saying this for awhile).

I'm 20 years old.  I'm no doubt one of the younger on this board.  I do not know a SINGLE woman my age (or within 5 years) who can cook a simple meal from scratch.  Most can't even prepare Kraft dinner without some sort of catastrophe.  I've never dated a woman who could cook, nor have any of my friends.  I do however know quite a few men my age who can cook (mostly due to spending time in the food industry during teenage years).  I will not say anything like women aren't capable of cooking (since my grandma was an amazing cook, my mom pretty decent), but this generation of women CANNOT COOK.  I would love to date a girl who could prepare an edible meal from scratch, but it seems I'm out of luck. 

BTW, if anyone wants to knock my own cooking skills, I have been working in high end cuisine for a while (and not as a commis either).  Alot of 'foodies' seem to like to dismiss Gordon Ramsay because of his style (he says things the way he sees them, doesn't try to be nice to avoid wrecking fragile egos), but his credentials, restaurants speak for themselves.  BTW, if anyone thinks GR is mean, try working with high caliber french or italian chefs...

This was a well-stated post. Although I do not not explicitly work in food-service I must admit that the entire generation, with very few exceptions, of kids my age has absolutely no conception of good food or basic cooking. I am not saying that tradtional gender roles are or ever were a good thing, but it cannot be denied that the average 20 year-old girl working or going to school is near braindead when it comes to cooking. Ramsay is not denigrating the females who strive to reach the top of their profession, he is simply remarking on the complete lack of initiative taken by younger women to get into the kitchen and learn how to cook decent meals for themselves.

Ramsay's original statement was not sexist in and of itself; it was only portrayed that way in the headline. He simply notes that many young women today place greater emphasis on entertaining (i.e. mixing cocktails) and similar pursuits than learning how to cook for themselves.

Has the world turned topsy-turvy in the past 20 years?

1st year University, residence, food service not available on weekends. The boys were ordering pizza/Chinese, smearing peanut butter on bread, or eating out, the girls were cooking. Not cooking gourmet meals out of the little scungey galley kitchen, but familiar with the use of a stove, which is more than the vast majority of the boys of that time could say.

I will say that most of the young people I come across now know more about opening a frozen dinner than cooking a fresh one, but I don't find the girls any more ignorant than the boys. If nothing else, the girls can usually bake cookies.

Agenda-free since 1966.

Foodblog: Power, Convection and Lies

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Ramsay is not denigrating the females who strive to reach the top of their profession, he is simply remarking on the complete lack of initiative taken by younger women to get into the kitchen and learn how to cook decent meals for themselves.

But why pick on the women? Why is it imperative that the WOMEN take the initiative and get into the kitchen"?

Its all so odd, to me anyway. Its as if he is implying that the fellas are all excellent cooks, like their mums before them, but the gals have just given up and are content to make the perfect martinis?

So, ok if I come over to the UK, I will find the guys in aprons, up to their elbows in Bangers and Mash, and the girls standing around mixing drinks. :raz:

Edited by shelly59 (log)
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  QUOTE(shelly59 @ Oct 25 2005, 01:27 PM)

  But why pick on the women?

I thought it's rather obvious. Cooking at home has traditionally been a woman's responsibility.

So he IS being sexist. Just checking.

Yeah. He's sexist and using it to get attention for himself, too.

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At least he lets her prepare the salads ...

Now Gordon Ramsay's wife is bidding for fame as the designer of a dish to rival the Caesar and Waldorf.  The Chelsea salad is London's answer to the world's most famous salads - both American concoctions.

Tana Ramsay hopes her creation, launched this week at the Brasserie restaurant in the Peter Jones department store,

:hmmm:

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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Although the Telegraph article points out that the chef's comments "might come as a shock to Ramsay's wife, Tana, who cooks for their four young children in a separate kitchen at home", in fact, Ramsay has been deriding his wife's abilities in the kitchen for years. This from a Telegraph interview in May 2004:

"Tana is banished from his £500,000 kitchen in their Wandsworth home (she has a smaller, MFI version upstairs). Why is that, I ask? "Because she might ruin it! She might burn things. God knows what havoc she could wreak," he says, looking genuinely aghast.

"The next thing you know she would be coming up with recipes for Claridge's menu. It would read: 'Such and such, by Mrs Tana Ramsay.' No f------ way. I am the chef, this is my world. She is a school teacher."

Which hasn't stopped Tana Ramsay getting the job as glossy UK magazine Grazia's food editor.

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"Tana is banished from his £500,000 kitchen in their Wandsworth home (she has a smaller, MFI version upstairs). Why is that, I ask? "Because she might ruin it! She might burn things. God knows what havoc she could wreak," he says, looking genuinely aghast.

four children, huh? :hmmm:

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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I'm quite sure that this is a fact, all be it anecdotal:

"Seriously, there are huge numbers of young women out there who know how to mix cocktails but can't cook to save their lives, whereas men are finding their way into the kitchen in ever-growing numbers.  Trust me: I am only telling you what I've discovered."

What the article doesn't mention is that we're coming from a very low base when it comes to men's involvement in the kitchen, so yes, the numbers are growing. There's a surprise. I would be very interested to hear his observations on how men clean up after their cooking, or is this traditional task left to the cocktail swigging women?

But I'm not insulted at the tenor of the piece, because, yes, I sense that there's quite a bit of truth in it, if you take out the gender spin (which does lend more oomph to what is effectively an article very short on substance). Of course the article doesn't relate to a niche market like eG and friends, but if Gordon gets more people cooking and eating well, I'm all for it, and the more noise he makes about it, the more people he's going to reach.

The thing is, as mentioned upthread, home cooking seems to have become a bit of a competitive sport (hmmm... is there any correlation between that and the entry of more men to the kitchen?) and I think that many people who could once russle up an acceptable pasta dish, now feel like they can't really cook. I don't think the Atkins diet helped the image of the simple pasta supper either. And when someone like Delia does an easy basics TV series, she is rubbished for the instructive detail on how to boil an egg (by other chefs who should be more inclusive and get the idea).

So, maybe we should just accept a few home truths and try and make things better:

1. The traditional role of a mother teaching her children (mostly daughters) to cook has diminished, and tired career women are really trying to do their best, but there are not very many superwomen out there. Some of these tired career women do look down on stay at home 'domestic' mums, so Nigella does have a point.

2. Many busy families don't eat together any more.

3. There is less emphasis on cooking/home economics as a subject in schools (this is an assumption).

4. Society has become more affluent and people can afford to eat out more (money rich, time poor).

So what is required is some hook and recruitment mechanism. Jamie did a lot for school dinners, and Gordon, who has an even higher profile should be a major TV draw, and the shock media tactics are just all part of the deal. I'm a big Ramsay fan, I just hope he doesn't do a revisited series.

Edited by Corinna Dunne (log)
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Your points are valid, Corinna - except that I can not believe that his shock tactics will either entice nor charm any woman into wanting to enter a home kitchen.

Hmmm... I'm not so sure. One woman's food is another woman's poison...

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