Date Completed: (10/22/2015)
At first glance, this book is oozing feminist thought, from the pink accent pages to the concept behind the book: women chefs in America. Unfortunately, the book does not deliver its promise. Druckman brutally reinforces gender roles and gender stereotypes. The way she compiles the information she gathered from 73 female chefs does not promote the female agenda (perhaps it’s a white feminist approach? idk, seems misogynistic). I would give this a 4/10; interesting idea, but the writing misses the mark a little.
Druckman, and many of the chefs featured in her book, spend a lot of time hashing out what they perceive the general public thinks of female chefs in America. For example, “To a disinterested or underexposed eater, a bakery is where you go to buy the items you were too busy to make for yourself. It’s a retail annex of the domestic kitchen, a place circumscribed as female – a cupcake hut.” What I would’ve liked to see more of is how female chefs perceive themselves and what they bring to the table. More about how they succeed than where they fall short. If what Druckman was trying to do was point out the faults in what society thinks about women chefs, it might have been more effective to interview laymen and juxtapose society’s thought about chefs vs. what the chefs think of themselves.
In fact, the best part of the book (besides the knowledge that I garnered about female chefs in America) was Gabrielle Hamilton’s interview that Druckman revised in its entirety in the penultimate chapter. I look forward to reading Hamilton’s memoir, Blood, Bones and Butter.
Charlotte Druckman is a journalist who typically writes about food. She’s written for The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. Although I can find plenty of her writing samples online, there is not much information about herself.