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Gender, Charisma and the Food Network
Unformatted Document Text:  19 advised, he promises to ‘reeducate’ her about how to cook (9-11-02), sexistly implying that she was already ‘educated’ about cooking. Then, he frames his advice as something that is necessary for her to please her man, a goal he assumes she inherently desires. When advising men, he teaches them the most mundane of male cooking skills, like how to cook pancakes (6-11-02) or how to grill (8-14-02). Grilling, a skill taught to ‘helpful’ dads, is notable because it is a safe skill to teach men. It is usually thought of as ‘men’s work.’ Outside of the ‘feminine’ kitchen and allowing them to deal directly with the elements, barbecuing is safe cooking for men (though women still often do the food prep work). In her analysis of cookbooks aimed at kids in the 1950s and 1960s, Inness (2001) found that the girls were addressed as future cooks, while the boys were encouraged to master a few specialty dishes and approach it as a hobby (132). In fact, outdoors, on special occasions, is where men’s cooking was thought to shine. This pattern continues today, as men (unless it is their vocation) are rarely responsible for food preparation. This is reinforced on Food 911. For example, in one episode, a father who ‘needs help’ says that his entire family has ‘food issues.’ As the episode begins, the father explains that he is on a diet, one of his daughters is a vegan, the other is trying to be a vegan, and the mother has various ‘food issues.’ Therefore, Florence establishes that he and this poor dad have a big challenge, though the father usually does not have to cook at all. Inness explains that boys learn from an early age that cooking isn’t really their work, but when they do cook it should be fun, not the daily chore it will eventually be for women (129). On Florence’s show, women are shown as passively accepting this scenario. In fact the grilling novice’s wife says ‘teach this guy how to grill some chicken,’ not ‘teach this guy how to cook’ (8-14-02). On another episode Florence says ‘this working mom is going to need help.’ This

Authors: Ketchum, Cheri.
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advised, he promises to ‘reeducate’ her about how to cook (9-11-02), sexistly implying that she
was already ‘educated’ about cooking. Then, he frames his advice as something that is necessary
for her to please her man, a goal he assumes she inherently desires.
When advising men, he teaches them the most mundane of male cooking skills, like how to
cook pancakes (6-11-02) or how to grill (8-14-02). Grilling, a skill taught to ‘helpful’ dads, is
notable because it is a safe skill to teach men. It is usually thought of as ‘men’s work.’ Outside
of the ‘feminine’ kitchen and allowing them to deal directly with the elements, barbecuing is safe
cooking for men (though women still often do the food prep work).
In her analysis of cookbooks aimed at kids in the 1950s and 1960s, Inness (2001) found that
the girls were addressed as future cooks, while the boys were encouraged to master a few
specialty dishes and approach it as a hobby (132). In fact, outdoors, on special occasions, is
where men’s cooking was thought to shine. This pattern continues today, as men (unless it is
their vocation) are rarely responsible for food preparation. This is reinforced on Food 911. For
example, in one episode, a father who ‘needs help’ says that his entire family has ‘food issues.’
As the episode begins, the father explains that he is on a diet, one of his daughters is a vegan, the
other is trying to be a vegan, and the mother has various ‘food issues.’ Therefore, Florence
establishes that he and this poor dad have a big challenge, though the father usually does not
have to cook at all.
Inness explains that boys learn from an early age that cooking isn’t really their work, but
when they do cook it should be fun, not the daily chore it will eventually be for women (129).
On Florence’s show, women are shown as passively accepting this scenario. In fact the grilling
novice’s wife says ‘teach this guy how to grill some chicken,’ not ‘teach this guy how to cook
(8-14-02). On another episode Florence says ‘this working mom is going to need help.’ This


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