Food, Gender, and Culture with Alicia Kennedy
Welcome to another episode of the allsorts podcast! Today we’re talking to food culture writer and plant-based human Alicia Kennedy about gender politics, restaurant culture, and inequality in the food industry.
Buckle up for this one because Alicia is smart, passionate and she speaks her mind on all of the ways that politics, media, and culture play into how—and what—we eat.
In our opinion, examining the things Alicia writes about doesn’t happen often enough. And it’s critical to creating a more just and sustainable food system. For example, there are so many ways in which food is gendered: food prep and feeding a family is historically women’s work (and therefore undervalued in our society), yet fine dining and celebrity chef culture is overwhelmingly male. Alicia talks about what all of us can do to change these old tropes.
But this episode covers more than gender in cuisine; we also talk about the dichotomy between the class that writes about food, and that which grows and serves it. We talk about Big Food and why some corporations want to maintain the status quo, and how our society views our entire culture surrounding meat consumption. In the show, Alicia highlights why all this needs to change—stat!
Hungry for more? Let’s dish it out!
About Alicia Kennedy:
Alicia Kennedy is a writer from Long Island based in San Juan, Puerto Rico. She writes a weekly newsletter on food culture, media, and politics, and has a book forthcoming from Beacon Press called Meatless. Her newsletter, From the Desk of Alicia Kennedy can be found here.
On this episode we chat about:
- How Alicia took her experience from vegan baker and journalism positions at New York Magazine, Edible Manhattan, Nylon, Eater, and The Village Voice to a life-changing newsletter on Substack.
- The dichotomy between male & female expectations (and reputations!) in the kitchen
- Leaving the notion behind that “men have steak and women have salad”
- Whether or not women have to display masculine modalities of cooking (wield a butcher’s knife, animal-centric, nose-to-tail dining) to be considered a great chef, e.g. Gabrielle Hamilton
- Where and why changes about cuisine and gender perceptions are being made
- Why the “gatekeeper class” of culinary media (hellooooo influential food writers) need to see themselves as equal to restaurant workers rather than above them
- Whether or not meat alternatives like Beyond are going to—or should—replace most meat in the American diet. Or do we need to reconsider meat-focused meals in general?
- How the individual can affect the systemic nature of global issues on a local level
Learned something new? Have questions?
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Connect with Alicia Kennedy:
Alicia Kennedy’s Recommendations:
The Sexual Politics of Meat by Carol Adams
When French Women Cook by Madeleine Kamman
Diet for a Small Planet: 50th anniversary edition by Frances Moore Lappé
James Hansen’s piece on gender and cuisine in Taste Magazine