Michael Pollan is probably not a sexist pig
In a post on The Dirt a few weeks ago, I commented on an article in Salon.com about the movement toward home cooking, and whether it was a call to women to get back in the kitchen.
Photo: PopTech, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Emily Matcher’s Salon article provocatively asked, “Is Michael Pollan a Sexist Pig?”
Pollan is best known as author of “The Omnivore’s Delimma,” which was a call to many Americans to steer clear of prepackaged processed products at the supermarket, and eat “real” food.
Pollan’s new book, “Cooked” laments the loss of cooking in American kitchens, and glorifies cooking. Matchar quotes Pollan, the “demigod food writer and activist,” as saying,
“[The appreciation of cooking was] a bit of wisdom that some American feminists thoughtlessly trampled in their rush to get women out of the kitchen.”
“Comments like this make me–owner of not one but two copies of “The Omnivore’s Dilemma”–want to smack Pollan…upside the head with a spatula. Claiming that feminism killed home cooking is not just shaming, it’s wildly inaccurate from a historical standpoint.”
Perhaps Matcher hadn’t yet seen “Cooked” when she wrote this. Her article appeared only a few days after the book was published.
In it, Pollan acknowledges concerns like Matcher’s:
“To certain ears, whenever a man talks about the importance of cooking, it sounds like he wants to turn back the clock and return women to the kitchen. But that’s not at all what I have in mind. I’ve come to think cooking is too important to be left to any one gender or member of the family; men and children both need to be in the kitchen, too, and not just for reasons of fairness or equity but because they have so much to gain by being there.”
Pollan understands that the gender politics of food are complicated. He talks about men taking on “heroic” tasks, at the barbeque and the four-star restaurant, while, “For most of history most of humanity’s food has been cooked by women working out of the public view and without public recognition.”
Pollan’s new book doesn’t “shame” women to start cooking again; it’s a call to everyone, including him, to get into the kitchen.
Tags: cooking, health, nutrition, politics