Sisters Are Doin’ It for Themselves: Women in the Kitchen

There’s that old patriarchal saying that “a woman’s place is in the kitchen,” but in an industry dominated by men, it’s actually a lot harder to “get in the kitchen.” Just last year the Department for Labor Statistics showed that only 19.7 percent of restaurant kitchens are run by women. Things are changing, but it’s a cultural shift – kitchens have been notoriously unfriendly places for women between sexual harassment, long work hours, and lack of parental leave.

Here are two memoirs of women who have pushed against the norm and are changing the way we think about food.

Give a Girl a Knife by Amy Thielen

I’ve been finding myself craving the places my mom and I occupied – that female energy. The house I was raised in with that tiny kitchen where she taught me how to cook and bake. The kitchen at my aunt’s house, where all the holidays take place, filling up with all the women in my family and all the food. This book just felt like home to me, but also parts of my dreams too. Amy Thielen takes that leap to learn more about what she loves by attending cooking school in New York City then falls back into a familiar escape, her home in rural Minnesota, to make those meals for the people she creates her home with. Too often we put women in a box – if they want it all we shame them or if they want a simpler life we shame them, too. I feel like Amy really turns that on its head with a little bit of both. We can have roots and wings – Amy’s memoir is just that.

Want more Amy? Check out her cookbook The New Midwestern Table:200 Heartland Recipes and her show on food network Heartland Table!

Killing It: An Education by Camas Davis

After being laid off and ending a 10 year relationship, Camas maxes out her credit card to learn butchery in France. Camas is honest about who she is even while still trying to figure herself out, which was refreshing. She challenges not only herself, but us as readers to create a healthy relationship with our food and understand where it comes from and the sacrifice the animal is making. We also get to learn about the people she meets along the way who are breaking against the norm. She is very respectful and present, and asks that of others as well. Truly an education on ethical eating, this book confronts Americans’ preconceived notions and unhealthy relationships with food.

Want more Camas? You can find her teaching at the Portland Meat Collective and working with her non-profit the Good Meat Project!

~posted by Kara P.

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