[Sca-cooks] Elizabeth Crocker
kingstaste at mindspring.com
Mon Jan 21 08:32:26 PST 2008
I have been reading this thread with great interest, and I am
prepared to say that I am guilty of this very thing. I have used the term
'housewife' when referring to food that is what I consider pedestrian in
nature. I learned it from the chefs I trained under, and have heard it used
in teaching and working situations.
Mind you, I don't consider a cooking school graduate a Chef either,
that comes with experience and the position itself. After three years in a
grueling apprenticeship, my certificate from the Labor Department says that
I'm a Certified Cook. My ACF creds say I'm a Certified Culinarian. Only
when I have had the job of overseeing a kitchen and its staff and its output
and have the job title can I be called "Chef". There is a distinct
professional hierarchy, and I was educated to respect that. Along with
that education I was taught to somehow disdain the home cook. I don't
really, I appreciate a well done home cooked meal, and really appreciate it
when friends WILL cook for me, because no one wants to try and feed a chef!
(oh, the irony). My friends and I are all foodies, fantastic cooks (present
company included) and can out-cater with the best of 'em.
I think it is the food itself I am referring to when I think in
those terms. Number one 'housewife' food in my head - the meatloaf. Oh,
how I despise meatloaf. I like a good forcemeat, a free-form sausage loaf,
I often use medieval ingredients like currents and pine nuts in a baked
ground lamb sort of affair, but the common, ordinary, everyday meatloaf is
something I loathe. My mom made them, bless her. She was a competent cook,
but nothing fancy. My dad did the fancy company cooking. We ate mostly
fresh food at the house though. In talking to folks over the years about
what they ate at home, I have become increasingly convinced that the
post-WWII industrial machine did us a huge disservice in convincing
homemakers that there was no point in slaving in a hot kitchen when modern
canned, frozen, and other convenience foods would free them from their
drudgery. It's the processed food of the 50's and beyond that gets that
'housewife' label from me now.
I will, in the future, try to refrain from what I know realize is a
hateful term. I can't say I will ever love the meatloaf, the frozen TV
dinner, or the canned asparagus, but I will do my best to disassociate the
foods from the people that have learned to eat them.
And my favorite all-time cookbook is the Joy of Cooking. :)
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