“You learn to cook so that you don’t have to be a slave to recipes. You get what’s in season and you know what to do with it.” Julia Child
At my cooking school we say ‘There is no better way to get to know a place than through its food.’ This is because I truly believe if you want to know something about the way people are living, look at what they are eating.
The rise of fast food culture in North America coincided with the second wave of the feminist movement, when more women entered the workforce than ever before. This post WWII backlash against domesticity gave birth to the drive through, the TV dinner and a whole slew of products to help women move into the workforce without seeming to slacken on their domestic responsibilities.
One of the things I love most about living in Mexico is the respect and dignity given to food production and what we would term ‘women’s work’. It was as a stay-at-home mother that I learned about Mexican food. Living in a small village we didn’t drop our babies off at daycare – we hung out, meal planned and behaved basically in a way that my mother and the women of her generation fought very hard to avoid. And so it goes around. The difference is that I was able to choose. Choice is the difference.
In her essay Take Back the Kitchen Marguerite Rivage-Seul writes ‘As I look forward to a healthy planet, I see that “reclaiming the kitchen,” that is, wresting control of intimate acts of eating from corporate fast food giants, asks more from us than making community meals. If we want to ride a fourth wave of feminism, we need to take the positive steps to change the structures that distort our food consumption.’
I love that line … ‘intimate acts of eating’. Because what we eat is intimate! Intimate not only in the relation of the food to our bodies but our relationship with the world around us. Every choice has a political impact- overwhelming to think about but true.
As obesity and diabetes rates have risen, so have the locavore and organic food markets. Only this time around, it’s not just women’s work. More than ever people are understanding the long reaching effect of their food choices.
So what are you eating?
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