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Feminism's fault that people can't cook?

(68 Posts)
sethstarkaddersmum Sat 18-Sep-10 09:38:04

From a feature in today's Telegraph on Rose Prince's new book Kitchenella:

'Prince is championing a return to the feminine-inspired, nurturing kind of practical cooking that disappeared around 1962, a casualty of feminism.'

People often fling this claim casually around but it doesn't ring true to me - my working mum was always a better cook than her SAHM mother and anyway DH and I both cook and feminism doesn't seem to stop us.

The change in schools to food technology rather than cooking (design a pizza box rather than actually make a pizza) seems to me to be more of a factor.


BooBooGlass Sat 18-Sep-10 09:41:04

'A casualty of feminism'?! What a twonk.
And yet, I can see why people might think that. Those blasted women daring to step out of the kitchen...

sethstarkaddersmum Sat 18-Sep-10 09:46:59

LOL BooBooGlass.

You know, my mental image of feminist activism is of it all starting off on the kitchen table with a big vat of lentil stew bubbling away in the background grin

Maybe feminism made people unable to cook because the feminists forced everyone to eat lentils and thus put them off proper food.

BooBooGlass Sat 18-Sep-10 09:55:11

It bothers me that when women were told we could 'have it all' what was actually meant was that we now have to do it all. So of course, if people end up eating shite and unable to cook, it is the mothers fault for daring to get a job. I was privately educated, and Home ec consisted of designing the pizza box and learning to melt chocolate in a bowl over a pan. It's only now I'm 26 that I have any interest in learning to cook. Not that I've been cooking shite or using ready meals, but I've been in a rut of cooking the same 6 or 7 meals. And I have to say, all the private education in the world didn't teach me how to pay my bills or get a job, or indeed cook, so I think the whole education system needs to contain an element of 'real world' as opposed to purely academia. <Bitterly remembers the peals of laughter directed at 18 yo self when I asked my dad how to write a cheque>

fluffles Sat 18-Sep-10 09:56:48

what about a casualty of the long-working hours and materialistic and consumerist culture where pre-prepared is marketed agressively as it makes more money than raw ingredients, the more processed the more profit.

sparky159 Sat 18-Sep-10 10:02:50

i dont think its got nothing to do with
"a casuality of feminism"-
i just think that diffrent eras[and circamstances]saw diffrent ways of cooking.

i think that a lot of people are going back to cooking more "old fashioned food" though-
and having less convieniance foods.
probably-looking for cheaper things to cook/
more healthier living/more green living and probably even "nostalgia"[cant spell it]

i think more people are growing their own veg aswell.

yep-i agree-"what a twonk"

TrillianAstra Sat 18-Sep-10 10:14:03

I don't think food in the early 60s was that great tbh

sunny2010 Sat 18-Sep-10 10:42:57

I cant cook but I wouldnt say I am a feminist. Whats the point in cooking from scratch when everything is made to be easy to do imo. I doubt I will ever cook a meal from scratch I have had plans to in the past but just cant really be arsed with it. Also convinience food taste better to me like stir in sauce and waffles but then again I havent got a particularly refined pallette!

sethstarkaddersmum Sat 18-Sep-10 10:53:12

yes indeed Trillian, certainly not the case that everything was brilliant up until 1962 when it all suddenly went pear-shaped.

What happened in 1962 I wonder? Is there a particular feminist anniversary?

(Maybe the problem was that sexual intercourse began in 1963 as Philip Larkin says, and everyone was too busy shagging after that to cook.)

AvrilHeytch Sat 18-Sep-10 10:54:01

Message withdrawn

sarah293 Sat 18-Sep-10 11:00:29

Message withdrawn

ccpccp Sat 18-Sep-10 11:25:55

Seems that nowdays the person with the best cooking skills does the cooking. I know of several couples where the men cook the food.

I suppose the 'job' of cooking was once regarded as the womans, and she would have had those skills passed down from other women.

Its an easy logical step then, that with women freed from cooking due to feminism, the standard of cooking will have fallen. The skills are no longer being passed down.

Ready made stuff wont have helped either.

chipmonkey Sat 18-Sep-10 11:26:41

Oh yes, blame the women! And what a load of rubbish! I am a good cook, as good as my Mum who was a SAHM.

IMO both parents should be able to rustle up something decent in about half an hour, or throw a casserole in a slow cooker in the morning.

And I know many a SAHM who relies on frozen meals, frozen spuds, frozen veg. How is feminism responsible for that?

wastingaway Sat 18-Sep-10 11:30:09

What's 'feminine' about cooking? Less barbecue, more glace cherries? confused

sethstarkaddersmum Sat 18-Sep-10 11:35:59

'Its an easy logical step then, that with women freed from cooking due to feminism, the standard of cooking will have fallen.'

It's an easy logical step but only if there is evidence that women actually were freed from cooking due to feminism.
A lot of them will have come to realise, through feminism, that it was a bit unfair that they always had to do it, but in practice the working woman has so often still had to do it; it is more common now for it to be as Ccpccp describes where both people work and the best cook does the cooking, but this didn't suddenly happen in 1962.

I'm sure there were women who went 'Right, sod it! I'm not doing this any more!' when they had their consciousness raised but was this really enough individuals to create a major social trend? In practice I'm sure a lot of feminists will have said 'I'm a feminist now so I'm going to teach you AND your brother to cook so when he grows up he's not as useless as your dad.' while still continuing to do all the cooking.

sethstarkaddersmum Sat 18-Sep-10 11:38:44

I also think there was something anti-woman, in the sense of not valuing women's traditional skills, in the way readymade food was marketed - ie the clever men in white coats can do better what you have been doing for years.

This coexists with the possibility for liberation caused by having the option of readymade food.

skaen Sat 18-Sep-10 11:58:27

Irritatingly its just another bit of bitching to try and get some publicity for another pointless cookery book in a completely saturated market. Ditto the attacks on Nigella and Delia (not Saint Jamie though hmm).

Working / SAH has nothing much to do with it. My mum always worked outside the home, I'm a pretty good cook and cook from scratch / batch cook etc. The cooking with mum was mostly cake/ celebration type stuff but none the worse for that.

sprogger Sat 18-Sep-10 14:27:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

EdgarAllInPink Sat 18-Sep-10 14:32:04

post- WWII ws the dearth of English food. marg relaced butter, evapped milk replaced cream... primula replaced cheddar...

proper cooking witgh good ingredients became viewed as the exclusive province of french chefs.

sunny2010 Sat 18-Sep-10 14:32:32

I am the same age as boobooglass and I dont know many people that know how to cook. Its not something that a lot of people bother with nowadays as you dont learn it at school and most people arent interested in it. I think it is mainly because we have so much choice nowadays you can cope perfectly fine if you cant or dont want to cook.

rodformyownback Sat 18-Sep-10 14:49:10

Me and DH can both cook but he's better than me cos I'm crap at timing, leave things to burn while I lurk on MN etc...

DM is a fantastic cook despite being one of those pesky feminists (although there were rather a lot of lentils in the mid 80s I seem to remember!)

Both my Grandmas(1 working, 1 SAHM) boiled veg until there was no flavour or nutrition left. Neither could be called feminists.

MIL (who pays lip service to feminism but obviously thinks DH's career is more important than mine and once tried to show me how to iron a shirt!) is a pretty crap cook tbh. SIL is a massive feminist but oddly imh expresses this in refusal to cook. So I don't know if she can or not

So I can't see any correlation in my family between feminism and cooking skills. Seems more men can cook these days which is surely a positive outcome of feminism?

Sad that the author of this book and presumable rightwing journalists see "antifeminist" as a selling point for this book! Can't say I'll be rushing out to buy it.

HerBeatitude Sat 18-Sep-10 14:49:16

I think feminism has actually raised interest in cooking as one of the lost arts of women. It tends to be women with a social conscience who also tend to care about where their food comes from, what's in it, what the raw ingredients add to it etc. as they don't want to be disempowered consumers eating whatever shit the industrial food companies choose to feed us. I only know one feminist who is not a brilliant cook - all the rest of us are shit-hot, eat yer heart out Nigella. grin

vesuvia Sat 18-Sep-10 17:03:33

I think the "around 1962" comment might be referring to the publication of that classic feminist book "The Feminine Mystique" by Betty Friedan in 1963.

Feminist influence on the school I attended probably did more good than bad, because it led to boys learning to cook as well as girls.

MayorNaze Sat 18-Sep-10 17:13:36

my dad is a chef

my grandad is nearly 80 and still makes his own jam

laziness is why people can't cook, not feminism

TrillianAstra Sat 18-Sep-10 17:42:36

Mayornaze- I'd say laziness is why people don't cook, but there are other reasons why someone might think they can't cook.

Fine to be lazy by the way, if you think that ready made meals taste ok, or that the improvement in taste is not worth the hassle of cooking.

In general object to the assertion that people these days can't cook, or English people can't cook, or young people can't cook. I don't think it is based on any evidence.

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