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.

Wild Sourdough

Meet my starter: Neko!

I love bread, but more and more it just tastes like filler. My husband and I started going to a neighborhood Farmer’s Market open year-round to incorporate more whole foods and seasonal finds into our meals at home. One of our favorite vendors is a sourdough bread baker. I started doing a bit of research into wild yeast and thought this is bread I would be more than happy to eat! After trying a few loaves, I started to wonder how I can do this myself Continue reading “Wild Sourdough”

Bus Reads for December

Commuting to Seattle by bus five days a week gives me a lot of reading time. Here’s what I read on the bus in December:

Sal by Mick Kitson. A beautiful book despite its tough subject matter. The sisters, Sal and Peppa, are adorable and charming. Sal, the oldest, has been taking care of her younger sister for years as her mom drinks the days away. Her mother’s boyfriend uses the mother’s addiction to his advantage and sexually assaults Sal numerous times. Despite this Sal is tough and getting prepared because the boyfriend has made it known Peppa is next. With Sal’s resourcefulness and determination the girls will flee to the woods and start a life of self-sufficiency. ​Also, there is so much hope in this novel! Continue reading “Bus Reads for December”

Food Comics and Manga

I’ve been reading a lot of food-focused manga and comics recently. Maybe I’m just a hungry person? I do like food, but really, while these manga and comics share the culinary theme they span some wildly different story-telling territory; from D&D-esque dungeon crawlers, to queer slice-of-life stories, to cooking competitions. Some of these stories even include actual recipes (though a few use fictional ingredients).

Delicious in Dungeon by Ryoko Kui
Follow a band of adventurers as they attempt to rescue a party-member from the dungeon’s infamous red dragon, but not before killing and cooking up other monsters along the way. You can try to make these recipes at home, but you’ll have a difficult time finding all of the ingredients…

Get Jiro! by Anthony Bourdain Continue reading “Food Comics and Manga”

DIY Holidays: Crafty Gifts and Gifts of Food

Today is Black Friday, the traditional start of the holiday shopping season and historically the busiest shopping day of the year. If the idea of battling frenzied crowds for the latest must-have doo-dad makes you want to pull the covers over your head and never come out, we have an idea for you – make your own gifts! You’ll get to stay home, avoid the clogged streets, and maybe even learn a new skill. And nothing says you care like a homemade present! Here are a few recent titles to inspire you:

Miniature Terrariums
Terrariums are among some of the easiest, quickest and cheapest crafts to make. Try it out yourself at our Holiday Craft workshop coming up next Thursday, November 29th at the Central Library, 5:30 pm (free and open to all while supplies last).

Take a Tin by Jemima Schlee
You’ve probably got a few tin cans lying around the house somewhere. Upcycle these ubiquitous household items into lamps, storage and other fun gifts. Continue reading “DIY Holidays: Crafty Gifts and Gifts of Food”