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Women Can't Cook


canucklehead
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Well, yes. . .actually while I *can* remember many stories of chefs or *foodies* learning the ways and the wonders of food, the stories are generally set in a home kitchen or a family kitchen or the kitchen of a friend or even while standing in front of a lovely display of fruit at a market.

There are not many stories to remember where the impetus was a dinner at Jean-Georges or others of that ilk.

Exactly.

Maybe this will be the new path of foodwriting.

"How Dining at the Altars of Foodiedom Made Me Who I Am Today"

by A Knowledgeable M**F**er.

:laugh::laugh::laugh:

"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan

eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

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For the other question of when people learn to cook, there is also

a socioeconomic class element involved....

Maybe not so common in the West these days, but in many other regions,

if you had household help (housekeeper, cook, whatever) you

never had to learn how to cook before or after marriage, moving out of

parents' house, whatever.  Maybe only fancy party food to impress guests....

Yes. I recall many years back reading a newspaper feature about Princess Grace telling Caroline that she (Grace) was sending her (Caroline) to Paris for a month or so to study cooking at Le Cordon Bleu.

Caroline reportedly refused to go, saying, "Why should I learn to cook? We pay people to do that."

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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Well, yes. . .actually while I *can* remember many stories of chefs or *foodies* learning the ways and the wonders of food, the stories are generally set in a home kitchen or a family kitchen or the kitchen of a friend or even while standing in front of a lovely display of fruit at a market.

There are not many stories to remember where the impetus was a dinner at Jean-Georges or others of that ilk.

Maybe this will be the new path of foodwriting.

"How Dining at the Altars of Foodiedom Made Me Who I Am Today"

by A Knowledgeable M**F**er.

It's a funny one-liner, but not really fair, I think, to the point that was trying to be conveyed. Namely, that in exposing some of his friends to carefully prepared food, including his own cooking, he saw some recognition in his friends regarding how food could be treated with respect and enjoyed. They evidently did not gain this experience in their own home growing up whatever their other advantages. Whether someone happens to be wealthy and this occurs at an expensive restaurant is really besides the point. There is also quite a bit more in the post.

Hey, I never thought I'd be sticking up for a Dookie. (Tarheel fan)

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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Having met the aforementioned Mr Ramsay, let me just say that:

I have been cooking for myself and others since I was 5. My mother was a single mom with three kids and could not afford to take us out to McD or Wendy's or whatever on a regular basis. She worked graveyards shifts so that she could be home when we got home from school. Then she would get up, and cook dinner for us. I always felt bad because her "breakfast" was our dinner!

Needless to say, my interest in food was started at a very young age. We canned fruits and vegetables in the summer. We had a garden. I learned to make my own breakfasts because my mother got caught in traffic a lot on her way home from work....I learned that there was a difference between the quality of food that was made "by mom" or came from a box, eg: Kraft Dinner, which my brother relied on heavily.

I therefore learned quite early that food could be a wonderful thing. My mother was dismayed more than once when she woke up to all the neighborhood children in the house eating the pretzels that i had made. Dismayed, but proud, because she knew that she would never have to worry about me in regards to food.

I have now been in the cooking industry for 13 years.

When I met Mr Ramsay, it was a number of years ago. He was in town promoting one of his books, and the restaurant that I worked at did a Ramsay dinner. We cooked items from his new book, and he was in the dining room explaining to the guests what his inspiration for said items was. At the end of the night, he came back into the kitchen to thank us for the good job we had done on his food. We were cleaned up by then, and I had actually gotten changed before I realized that he was actually going to come and visit with the staff. I was the only female in the kitchen that night...highly unusual. He took one look at me and said: "So who's wife are you?"

I have never been so offended in my life! The man is a pig as far as i am concerned. And I agree with many of the statements here...I feel sorry for his wife and children. He certainly isn't doing anything to help the "problem".

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Whether someone happens to be wealthy and this occurs at an expensive restaurant is really besides the point. 

I think that's fair. I realize, reading back over my post, that it looks like I was equating money with exposure - I wasn't. I was equating it with improved opportunity for exposure to foods not normally cooked within your own home.

"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan

eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

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I was the only female in the kitchen that night...highly unusual.  He took one look at me and said: "So who's wife are you?"

Wow. :blink:

So much for the "it's all PR" argument. :wink:

"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan

eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

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The man is a pig as far as i am concerned.  And I agree with many of the statements here...I feel sorry for his wife and children.  He certainly isn't doing anything to help the "problem".

Dont feel sorry for his wife, they still have a great relationship because he was spared having to see her give birth to their children, so he is still attracted to her.. So although she cant use his car or his kitchen, she still is allowed to sleep with him.. :wacko:

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The man is a pig as far as i am concerned.  And I agree with many of the statements here...I feel sorry for his wife and children.  He certainly isn't doing anything to help the "problem".

Dont feel sorry for his wife, they still have a great relationship because he was spared having to see her give birth to their children, so he is still attracted to her.. So although she cant use his car or his kitchen, she still is allowed to sleep with him.. :wacko:

Well, at least she's good at something. :raz::huh:

"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan

eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

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The more and more I think about this, the less of a big deal I am finding it to be.  Why is it so unusual that college-age young adults don't cook?  If their parents did most of the cooking at home (mine did until the end of my college career, when my (single) mom was traveling a lot, so I stepped in), and they went to a college where they had a meal plan and crappy little dorm kitchens (at my school they were called "tea pantries"), why would they be able to cook?  Toast bread, yes.  Simple meals, possibly.  But really, truly cook - without a recipe, be able to improvise, etc.?  It's not so unusual, or unexpected.

From my personal experience growing up in the suburbs during the 80s and 90s its entirely possible that the parents of these non-cooking college women didn't cook either. Of all of my school friends, I can remember two families, other than my own, where the parents actually COOKED. Most of them just picked up prepared foods from delis or supermarkets or ordered take-out.

Luckily for me, all of us siblings cook, or at least know how and I attribute that to having a mom and grandma who cook and enjoy good food.

Believe me, I tied my shoes once, and it was an overrated experience - King Jaffe Joffer, ruler of Zamunda

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Well, yes. . .actually while I *can* remember many stories of chefs or *foodies* learning the ways and the wonders of food, the stories are generally set in a home kitchen or a family kitchen or the kitchen of a friend or even while standing in front of a lovely display of fruit at a market.

There are not many stories to remember where the impetus was a dinner at Jean-Georges or others of that ilk.

Maybe this will be the new path of foodwriting.

"How Dining at the Altars of Foodiedom Made Me Who I Am Today"

by A Knowledgeable M**F**er.

It's a funny one-liner, but not really fair, I think, to the point that was trying to be conveyed. Namely, that in exposing some of his friends to carefully prepared food, including his own cooking, he saw some recognition in his friends regarding how food could be treated with respect and enjoyed. They evidently did not gain this experience in their own home growing up whatever their other advantages. Whether someone happens to be wealthy and this occurs at an expensive restaurant is really besides the point. There is also quite a bit more in the post.

Hey, I never thought I'd be sticking up for a Dookie. (Tarheel fan)

In one of his previous points he conveyed a bit of personality in the conversation relayed between him and yet another fine young woman from a "good family" where his response to her was "I hate you" based on the fact that she stated that she could not cook.

I don't care where exposure to food happens. I do care that people watch their arrogance levels - most particularly when they are claiming they "want to help".

My own background is in fine dining and as being executive chef to the very wealthy. I have nothing against that world at all.

The point that I see Brian trying to make is that *he* knows a lot. And apparently nobody else around him does. And he seems particularly concerned about the girls in this group not knowing a lot.

As a girl (or as someone who used to be and who turned into a woman at a certain age) I am offended for these girls. *If* he knows so much, and *if* he cares so much, it simply is not coming off that way from where I sit and read it.

This may be a function of his age. Nothing wrong with that. But as the world could use a few more "nice guys" rather than guys who sweep around sure of their mastery of all being arrogant to whomever stands before them - I felt it imperative to show my opinion of such behavior.

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I was the only female in the kitchen that night...highly unusual.  He took one look at me and said: "So who's wife are you?"

That's INSANE :laugh::laugh::laugh: I am suprised that you did not put him a stretcher.

I agree with the Mr Ramsay's statements that generally - people cook less and this is not a good thing. However, as I said before, I am still not sure why women get the pointy end of the stick.

I was watching a food safety show (only in Canada would this warrant a 1/2 hour of programing a week) and these kitchen experts were tsk tsk-ing a family for there poor kitchen clean up habits. Things have been set our fire, food is left out forever, the fridge is growing its own crops of mushrooms, etc... The visual shown on the program as these litany of crimes are described is the poor wife shuttling around the kitchen grabbing food and trying to placate the kids and husband.

Then it turns out the woman is a GP with a busy practice and the husband is a stay at home dad. Good for them. Regardless of the earning arrangements - the message with the visuals was that it was somehow the woman's fault that things had fallen into such dis-array. Now - I don't believe in vast conspiracy theories - it is just that it is very easy to put people into set roles.

Is'nt it good to live in time that such assumptions should never be made? People make their own choices. If they choose to cook less - well tough shit for them, they are losing out on something good. This is true regardless of gender.

Edited by canucklehead (log)
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He took one look at me and said: "So who's wife are you?"

I have never been so offended in my life!

Please don't leave us hanging like that: Inquiring minds would love to know what you replied and what he then said, if anything. In other words, did it get worse or better?

How much worse?

Mike Harney

"If you're afraid of your food, you're probably not digesting it right because your stomach is all crunched up in fear. So you'll end up not being well."

- Julia Child

"There's no reason to say I'm narrow-minded. Just do it my way and you will have no problem at all."

- KSC Pad Leader Guenter Wendt

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^I was so astounded at the time.....It was the '90's for god's sake....I thought that those kinds of sentiments were long dead. Guess I was naive.

Anyway, I have an acquaintance working for him now. I think that they will both have their hands full. She is full of spit and vinegar. :biggrin:

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I think I said something like:"Actually, I work here. I made the such and such...did you enjoy it?"

To which he had no audible answer.

I am no hero.

Let's just say that I didn't think that my chef would be impressed with me telling off his guest chef for the evening.

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My mom was/is a practical cook of the meat & 2 veg school. She did it because that is what women of her generation did. Period. No hate. No love. Just a part of life. Like dusting.

Me? I learned to cook because I love to eat, and I love to eat good food. And because every Saturday morning, Julia Child told me I could be a wonderful cook if I just gave it a try. And I believed her with all of my heart. Seriously. :smile:

Food MATTERS to me and to some of my friends, women & men. But it just doesn't matter to a lot of people. And with all of the fast foods and the convenience foods and etc., out there, if you don't care about food, why bother to learn to cook it? Who cares?

Hmm, I used to really like watching old Gordy’s shows. Not anymore, though. After all I have read here wrt his attitudes, the heck with him. :wink:

Anyway, I have an acquaintance working for him now. I think that they will both have their hands full. She is full of spit and vinegar. 

He let a mere female work for him??? No way! :shock::biggrin:

Edited by shelly59 (log)
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In one of his previous points he conveyed a bit of personality in the conversation relayed between him and yet another fine young woman from a "good family" where his response to her was "I hate you" based on the fact that she stated that she could not cook.

The point that I see Brian trying to make is that *he* knows a lot. And apparently nobody else around him does. And he seems particularly concerned about the girls in this group not knowing a lot.

As a girl (or as someone who used to be and who turned into a woman at a certain age) I am offended for these girls. *If* he knows so much, and *if* he cares so much, it simply is not coming off that way from where I sit and read it.

This may be a function of his age. Nothing wrong with that. But as the world could use a few more "nice guys" rather than guys who sweep around sure of their mastery of all being arrogant to whomever stands before them - I felt it imperative to show my opinion of such behavior.

I don't deny my arrogance when it comes to food. In fact, I'm proud of it. I think that most people on eG are food snobs to one degree or another; they're here to share their knowledge and to learn from others. I find that in most situations amongst my peers I'm doing most of the sharing (though I have learned a fair amount about more obscure ethnic cuisines during my time at Duke).

The "I hate you" line was included not to directly show off my arrogance but instead to bring the story down to the human level. This girl is one of my closest friends. We all live together, eat together, go to classes together, and spend about 20 hours a day together. I would NEVER say this to someone I wasn't comfortable with; that's simply bad manners.

As to the supposed inherent condescension of my posts, perhaps you're right. But I (unlike some of you) am not attacking specific indiviudals for their beliefs. As Megan notes, to many outside of the food world that fact that the most of general public, men and women, can't cook is pretty irrelevant. To me, however, the fact that young "people/women/whatever you politically correct individuals feel is the most appropriate epithet" is very unsettling. This would be analagous to a militant feminist discovering that young women don't care about women's rights or equality (and yes, that was meant to be somewhat inflammatory). The general public doesn't care the Ramsay says women can't cook, it's only within the context of eG that this becomes a very interesting discussion.

I'm just passionate about food, just like Ramsay, and find some trends in modern culture upsetting. I like that my grandmother can make an old-school pot roast, that my mother can still recall the Japanese staples of her youth. They, for better or for worse, know how to make these things, and this is a good thing. My father can't cook a damn thing and I hate him for it. I don't discriminate based on sex. I discriminate based on lack of initiative and ignorance.

edit: This thread still owns. One of my favorite ideological debates on eG that I've taken part in.

Edited by BryanZ (log)
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though.  After all I have read here wrt his attitudes, the heck with him.  :wink:
Anyway, I have an acquaintance working for him now. I think that they will both have their hands full. She is full of spit and vinegar. 

He let a mere female work for him??? No way! :shock::biggrin:

Is she allowed in the big boy kitchen?

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I really don't know.

I haven't heard from her in a number of years. I only found out she was working for him because her last boss (who is good friends with my chef) let me know that that is where she is. He and I both had the same reaction: God help them both!

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My father can't cook a damn thing and I hate him for it.  I don't discriminate based on sex.  I discriminate based on lack of initiative and ignorance.

Again, Brian, I can see some of your points clearly. But again, why use the word "hate"? It is a strong word. Small hatreds are not the same as big hatreds.

And anybody that has seen real hatred knows this and still reacts to this word as anethema.

This is your father you are speaking of. You truly "hate" him for not being able to cook?! If you need to hate him, I would hope it would be for something larger than that, one skill that is not within his scope or perhaps his interest.

Male or female, not everyone "needs" to love food. It is a pleasure and an excellent thing when they do. But to claim "lack of initiative and ignorance" in knowing how to cook as something good to use to *discriminate* between individuals in the human race does seem to me to have a higher than average arrogance to it. There are many ways to live. We do not have to "hate" people who choose different paths. Not unless they come up and punch us in the face or something, and personally I do not view "those who do not cook" as doing that to me.

It may be that what you seek in a woman is that she does cook. It may be that you have not seen a lot of this. But sitting there with your notebook in hand, sorting out the "ones who do" from the "ones who don't" might keep you in a very limited position in terms of finding this thing. For nobody really wants to be assessed with that cold of an eye. Particularly when romance is somehow part of the picture in some way.

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The semantics of the word "hate" aren't exactly pertinent to the points I was trying to make. Though I will admit that in the literal sense using "hate" was inappropriate.

To judge people based on their cooking ability or their initiative to cook brings up an interesting point. Initially, I would say, yes, there's a good chance I'll like a girl more (and I use girl here only because I prefer female romantic company) if she knows how to cook. But again, this isn't because I expect women to cook, it's because I like people that like food. We're kind of extrapolating Ramsay's initial claim wayyyy beyond what he might've intended, but I still think this is all part of a very cool intellectual discourse.

Anyway, I undoubtedly place one's involvement in food in the "important" category when "evaluating" members of the other sex. I admitedly place greater importance on a girl's respect for food than a guy's. Somehow, the context of making a romantic dinner with a close male friend doesn't have the same allure that cooking with/for a young lady does. Maybe this is a weird quirk of mine, but I know that many eG foodies seek out friends and partners who share similar interests in food. When I find a dearth of females who have even a remote interest in food, it simply upsets me. I don't see much sexism in that.

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He let a mere female work for him??? No way! :shock:  :biggrin:

I'm sure it's been mentioned before, but in his "real" job (as opposed to his TV job) Gordy has mentored quite a few female chefs (Angela Hartnett being the obvious example) and has said in interviews that he is always glad to see women working as professional chefs. His comments obviously weren't aimed at chefs, but at young home cooks.

I'm not standing up for the guys comment, but he obviously doesn't have a problem with female chefs.

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This is a bit of a departure from the direction this thread seems to be going, but nevertheless. . .

How much cooking people do, what kind of cooking people do, and how well they do it, can't really be discussed without taking the larger picture into consideration. It is part of how the world has evolved in the past half-century or so.

My belief, which could be off, is that pre-WWII, people did a lot of home cooking, and were pretty good at it; they also tended to raise a lot of their own food. Obviously, that's a pretty broad generalization, and your mileage may vary.

I was born in the 50's. My memory is that everyone's mom cooked, although some did better than others.

In the 60's, when I was in grade school and junior high, there were only a few convenience products on the market, only a few fast-food places around, and restaurant dining was something most families did no more than about once a month, if even that. If my friends' mothers worked, it was mainly part-time. Divorce was all but unheard of. "Nice" people did not do it. I went to one Girl Scout meeting a week (I walked there from school, and walked home from there) and one dance lesson a week (we carpooled with friends).

In the 70's, my mother subscribed to the Time-Life series on cooking around the world, and I was fascinated, but could not try most of the recipes because the ingredients were just not available in our area. At the same time, the number of convenience products were appearing on grocery store shelves, and fast-food restaurants were increasing in number. Divorce became more prevalent, creating more one-parent families and more women who needed to work full-time.

In the 80's and on, a greater variety of produce began to appear in stores, along with a greater variety of convenience foods. Women working full-time became more the norm, one-parent families became more common, and parents began to see themselves a facilitators of their children's futures, enrolling them in language courses, sports, etc., and becoming truly concerned about the schools their children got into, whether their children were 9 or 19. Since then, ferrying children to and from extracurricular activities seems to have become a full-time job in some families.

Society has changed a lot since I was born. But if we are to assert that fewer people are cooking, then what conclusion can we draw from the fresh fava beans, Swiss chard, 12 varieties of mushrooms, etc. etc. I saw in the produce department today when I went to pick up yellow peppers and basil? Someone's using all this fresh produce, and even though this is Kansas, they're not feeding it to the cattle. Perhaps it's just that people aren't cooking out of necessity that much anymore, but more out of interest, and as a hobby. We just don't live in the same world we used to. Can today's women cook? Yes, and no. One of my friends just learned a couple of years ago that the way to get her cake out of her bundt pan is to both grease and flour the pan, and I don't know how that information missed her, since I learned it as a child. And after I perused the Swiss chard and decided I wouldn't have an opportunity to use it until next week, I went down the baking aisle, and found myself explaining to someone what baking powder is. It's not a matter of can we or can we not cook. It's just a different situation altogether.

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