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Kitchen as Gender-re-assigned Space?

Maybe I should just make this a blog ABOUT Mark Morford's columns. His most recent is about his salad spinner and his observation (which is definitely borne out by my experience) that most of the folks he knows who like to cook are men. And most of his women friends don't cook. Anyway, that got me wondering...if the fact that more men seem to be into cooking these days might have something to do with the very clear trend in the construction of domestic and commercial kitchens to conceive of those as social, performance spaces. The kitchen is no longer cut off from the dining room or hidden from view. Food preparation is no longer (women's) work to be taken care of backstage. The process is performance; and the performers are masters at work, connoisseurs, gastronomes (which makes them sound fat), epicures (which makes them sound effete), foodies.... And at least as often as not, they are men. He's not "the cook," call him "Chef." (BTW, I'm addicted to the food network.) And, is it just me, or does Martha Stewart always look incredibly uncomfortable in the kitchen? Like, just before the camera started rolling, somebody (a guy, no doubt) showed her exactly where to stand and how to turn on the food processor and how big a spoon to use to scoop the cookie dough. Not like Emeril. There's a man who's in command of his kitchen and who's not afraid to get dirty in it. Shine a spotlight anywhere (even in the kitchen) and men will grab it.

September 18, 2004 in Space & Place | Permalink


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With a phrase like "gender re-assigned" I was expecting a very different discussion.

Posted by: Steve Portigal | Sep 19, 2004 10:24:25 AM

Hi Steve. Guess I'll have to spice it up a bit if I don't want to lose my (only) loyal reader. Paradoxically, discussions of gendered space tend not to be very sexy. I came across this book on Amazon a few months ago: STUD: Architectures of Masculinity (link below). Gotta love the title, but I saw it at a used book store last weekend and took a pass on. Just flipped through it, but it looked pretty weak.


Posted by: Jay | Sep 20, 2004 12:29:59 PM

But weren't men always chefs and chefs always men? While women were considered less the artists of cooking? Look at the show "Iron Chef" - no women there... And is Chef gender-neutral? I think society believes the term is male.

Posted by: ed | Oct 15, 2004 10:37:10 AM


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