You Lost Me at Grilled Caviar

There has been much chattering about how Michael Pollan and the rest of the foodie crowd would like women to get back in the kitchen. Alternatively, about how feminism killed home cooking. I don’t understand how it’s any surprise that food marketers grabbed onto a current social movement and told women that processed food=freedom. That doesn’t mean that real feminism had anything to do with it. It only means that marketers co-opted the rhetoric of feminism.

Feminism surely responded to the woman’s role in housework–some argued that instead of rejecting housework because it is “women’s” work and undervalued, maybe we should appreciate it better and pay those who do it, even for their own families. Cooking is work. When there are other jobs to attend to, coming home to cooking is not always attractive.

Emily Matchar, of New Domesticity, has called Pollan to task a number of times for “get back in the kitchen” arguments.

Cooked, however, is not as sexist and ridiculous as I was promised. It is, however, ridiculous and precious.

I do not see how I needed to hear about another fancy chef doing fancy things by making a special caviar-grilling(!) pan so that the smoke might lightly kiss the $3200/kg caviar without fully grilling it. I mean, this is cool and all, but if we are trying to make a legitimate argument that we all need to cook at home more often instead of buying microwave dinners OR dropping big bucks on wood-kissed caviar, this is not that argument.

In the next chapter, which I read approximately 1/4 of before losing interest, I am told repeatedly how affordable cuts of meat work splendidly in a braise. True, but what about the eminently budget friendly bean? Some people (c’est moi!) don’t even buy the “cheap” cuts of meat, because some of us only buy meat that the likes of Pollan would approve of, and even the “cheap” cuts are about $10/lb.

So obviously this isn’t a how-to for encouraging people to actually cook more. This is preaching to the choir of people that stock coconut oil and interesting multigrain flours in their pantry. The oft-denigrated crowd that regularly microwaves their dinner does not give a shit about what Michael Pollan has to say about that.

I really liked The Omnivore’s Dilemma, but I am having a harder time getting through this installment of paying attention to what I eat.

Sure, we as a country ought to put a little bit more work into our food. The economics argument of specializing being more efficient may be true, technically, but what is the hidden (or not-so-hidden given our variety-pack of health problems) cost of that specializing? What weird things are we eating, really, if we rely on outsourcing our meals?

I might still finish this book, but it’s been put on notice.