Saturday, November 28, 2009

A Woman's Place is in the Kitchen

The title of today's blog may come as something of a surprise to those who know that in my former life pre-cookbook selling, I did my PhD in women's history. No I haven't had a complete turnaround, in fact what I wanted to celebrate today is a bit of girl power. I have just put together my latest catalogue , and it dawned on me (as I'm sure it has dawned on many others, I'm just a bit slow on the uptake) that while men may dominate the kitchens of the world's restaurants, many of the best food writers were/are women! As a sample from the catalogue: Elizabeth David; MFK Fisher; Jane Grigson; Claudia Roden; Anna Del Conte; Ada Boni and Madeleine Kamman write/wrote engagingly and knowledgably about regional cuisines, food history, the science of food, the rituals of food and more. Marcella Hazan; Alice Waters and Julia Child were trailblazers in many ways. In Australia we've got Stephanie Alexander's bible The Cook's Companion; Maggie Beer's scarce and collectable Maggie's Farm and Maggie's Orchard; Margaret Fulton remains as (if not more) popular today as when her first book came out in 1968. I was tempted to do a catalogue of only women writers, but then I would have had to leave out some male stars of the food writing world - Ambrose Heath; Waverley Root; Harold McGee among them.

So have a look at your own cookbook shelves and see if there is a similar pattern there. Why is it that men are so dominant in the kitchen professionally-speaking and yet it seems to be women who dominate food-writing. An interesting discussion to be had there.

By the way I have now set up a Facebook page for the business as well as a Twitter account which I intend using to publicise new acquisitions and specials in the shop. I know, I know this is the girl with an Aga in the kitchen and a phobia about Thermomixes, but hey it's the GFC, us small business owners need to use any tools we can to get ahead.

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