Thursday, February 15, 2007

Is This Really Progress?

On the gender-equity front, the New York Times yesterday ran a slightly bizarre piece about alpha cooks that I am still trying to figure out. The piece is about the conflict in the kitchen between the more chef-oriented partner (apparently, this is usually the guy, based on the breakdown of anecdotes and the headline: "He Cooks. She Stews. It’s Love.") and less cooking-driven spouse.

On the one hand, I think it's terrific that we've moved to such a place in terms of kitchen gender roles that the Times can run an over-the-top article about how men have become little Napoleans of the rangetop, but the whole piece sounds like it's trying too hard. Are alpha cooks on the rise? Is it mostly men? Is the Times plumbling for conflict where none exists? Does it matter? The piece doesn't really answer any of those questions.

But in the larger sense, the emergence (if only in the minds of NYT editors) of cooking as a level playing field is a nice trend. The more that can be done to blow up the idea that cooking, wage-earning, cleaning, childrearing, lawn-mowing, etc. etc. are the sole domain of one gender, the better. But cooking style as grounds for divorce? That's a reach. (Thanks to Keith for sharing his bookmark of this.)


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