The scientist's view of the kitchen world
It seems to me that the vast majority of cooking blogs are created by and aimed at a very specific demographic: the stay at home mom (henceforth SAHM). Don’t get me wrong, being a SAHM is a wonderful thing but it’s just not for all of us. I am, for example, an Away From Home Wife. I’m working on a PhD in an applied mathematics field (non-linear wave theory in the atmosphere – cool stuff!), I have an MS and BS in mechanical engineering, and I dread the idea of staying home all day homemaking. That life just isn’t for me.
Then we get to the SAHM blogs. Here are some trends I’ve noticed: kitsch kitsch and more kitsch, 57 different type faces per page, desperate attempts (and ultimate failures) at a 1950′s retro feel, every dish is photographed with a macro lens, and, of course, they are all written and read by Mormons or some other fundamentalist Christian religion (the Mormon blogs seem to be matched by the Baptist and Evangelical blogs in make-you-wanna-puke, overdone cuteness).
I present into evidence Six Sisters Stuff. Beautiful pictures of food, and oh-so-sweet comments about how life is oh-so super awesome but damn is their food lousy to the taste or wretchedly unhealthy. Give me 60 more seconds and I could fill this page with identical blogs all devoid of really useful information for the woman or man who does not aspire to be Molly Homemaker. Indeed, they seem to be (and perhaps I’m being a bit harsh here) undoing all the good of the feminist movement. Do we cook because we want to enjoy our food and improve on a skill or because we are woman and cooking/homemaking is what we are supposed to do? Do we feel obligated to fill the Stepford Wife mold? If you feel the latter is the case, I’m sure the Bountiful Beauties up there would appreciate the web traffic.
Disclaimer before people start bellyaching. If your goal in life is to be the best housekeeping in the world then damnit, you go be the best housekeeper in the world! I’ll stand over here and chuckle to myself at the 2 hours you spent on that bouffant on your head while you wrinkle your nose at me for my “manish” propensity to change my car’s oil myself. It’s not the person I disparage, it’s the culture which says, “you can’t be a REAL woman unless your house looks like a spread from a homemaker’s magazine.” And it’s that ideal that I have spent my short lifetime fighting against.
But my lack of desire to make glitter-encrusted lamp shades and other Better Homes and Gardens kitsch crafts has in no way dampened my desire for good food. If this blog turns out as I see it now, it will be a repository of my knowledge on cooking technique, tools, and (of course) recipes. The only real way to become self sufficient in the kitchen is not to know an encyclopedia of recipies but rather to have the physical tools and mental know-how to put food together. Tell a man that eggs cook at medium heat and he can make scrabbled eggs. Teach a man that the protein matrix of the egg takes on different molecular structures depending on the rate of heat transfer in or out of the egg and he can make everything from omelettes to flan!
I’m not a Martha Stewart wannabe. I’m a scientist.