Wednesday, 10 October 2007
Are male cooks taking over?
As an avid lifelong reader and collector of cookery and other books about food, I've recently noticed that there seem to be more books , recipe, cookery, call it what you will, by men than women, with the possible exception of Nigella Lawson and her latest offering, Express. The titles I've been buying, reading and sometimes cooking from have all been by men, and include Nicholas Clee's Don't sweat the aubergine and his blog - he wrote about oxtail stew a couple of days after I'd just made a huge one at home, with meat from my local butcher, Upton's of Bassett in Southampton, who also make delicious pies and pasties. Nigel Slater 's Real fast food is another recent buy - I gave the free copy I acquired when I bought a magazine to my son- which has some good recipes and ideas, even though it was first published in 1993. It would now seem to have become one of those kitchen classics, which one returns to again and again. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is another food writer with strong opinions on lots of different aspects of food. His recent collection of journalism "Hugh fearlessly eats it all" is an interesting gathering of articles covering a wide variety of food issues and makes me think that bit harder about what I'm eating. A recent visit to one of the three local branches of Waterstones bookshops showed that the faces on display in the Cooking section were mostly male. A few years ago it was probably more female than male -but there are probably now more professional chefs publishing books and appearing on television. This seems to be a re-run of the early days of cooking on TV, when those appearing on TV were mostly male , for example Graham Kerr, Philip Harben, although not forgetting the terrifying Fanny and Johnnie Craddock