Religion in the kitchen

Once upon a time there was a little girl, swaying around the room in time (or possibly out of time) to Ready to Roll. Ready to Roll was a television programme which aired every Saturday night at 6pm and through it we learnt what songs were 'top of the charts'. My strongest visual memory was of the makeup worn by the band "Kiss".

The little girl (me of course) sometimes, egotistically, liked to imagine herself on television, swaying around to music and being the centre of a visual universe.

Which is what we can all do now, through Youtube. Similarly, through blogging and other internet tools, we can create our own narratives, present ourselves to the world through a lens of our own choosing.

I've been thinking about this a bit lately. I like words, and for the most part cannot be bothered with pictures. Other people have totally fabulous photos on their blogs and relatively few words. Even though I write about fairly mundane activities, I still select only the bits which grab me in some way, culling all the rest. I cull my strops at my family, I cull everything to do with work, I cull most errands and often opt for what I've been thinking over what I've been doing. I don't write about my dreams.

In my blogging world, women feature strongly. The male blogs I read are mostly political, all written in the third person and concerned with public rather than private life. The only exception is The Greening of Gavin, who writes about his green journey with a focus on his home-based decisions and does write in the first person.

The women in my blogging world are cleaners and cooks and school lunch makers and dental appointment taxis and nose-blowers. But that is not what they write about. They write about their passions. They write about the things which they find enabling and which give them dignity.

On the whole, a little religion is necessary to give passion to homemaking. We all need a bigger picture to know why we are vacuuming, cooking, washing dishes and doing laundry again. In my blogging world, happy woman bloggers subscribe to one of two creeds, with several subscribing to both: Christianity and Environmentalism.

'Cos it is surely about time we noticed that environmentalism functions as a religion for a significant group of people. Whereas many Christians base and assess their actions and opportunities on the question "What would Jesus do?", in a very similar way many Environmentalists base and assess their actions and opportunities on the question "Is this good for the environment?"

Isa's thesis project has given me so much to think about - thank you Isa. Sometime soon, I'm going to have a stab at responding to a question which has been lurking in my brain for a while: what is it about Sally Fallon's Nourishing Traditions project which is so appealing, even despite the obvious flaws in many of her sidebar assertions throughout the book?


Anonymous said…
As we've come to expect, a thoughtful post.
Can't wait to hear your answer - I've been wondering if it's not even about that particular book, but about taking control of food and education, understanding what we're eating, knowing where it's coming from, wanting to learn from past experience, wanting to connect (with growers, with seasons, with our place), wanting to slow the hectic pace of life (go slow food)....and it just so happens that Fallon gives us some of that. When we can no longer ask our grandparents what they did with their wheat or cream or cabbages, or how they ate through winter.... Sally fills us in on what might have been done.
I have to admit to having read precious few foodie books and so I'm not "up with what's being said" - but I'm very cynical about/wary of chemical concoctions masquerading as food, and so Fallon was bound to appeal - no?
More to say, but Gulliver is nearing the end of his travels near my bedside and is calling.
~ Rachael
Johanna said…
I'm tempted to say, nah, it's just because now I have permission to eat a big fatty lamb roast. lol.

But seriously - SO true what you say - that deep appeal of WAPF dietary principles and Fallon's book.

What is that appeal? Such a good question. Thinking now ... it deals with the concept of nourishment and the comfort of food in a deeply compelling way, so that you feel nourished and comforted just reading it. Not only is it about delicious food, but it gives the message 'there, there, everything will be all right if you eat like this ...and you can make everything all right for your family if you feed them like this ....'

And, well, I guess lamb roasts are pretty yummy too.

Hmm ... need to think more about that.

Good point about the religion too ...
Sharonnz said…
Yeah - go the lamb roasts;-) And butter, and cream and and and...

I have some vague thoughts around Christianity and tasks in the home but am in much need of the coffee brewing on the stove before articulating. Maybe one of those "over the teacups" we'll need to have in real life one day;-)

But yes, I remember you saying years ago that environmentalism has parallels to Christianity in terms of its apocalyptic view of the world - and maybe we're all trying to be little green Jesus' in terms of our saving actions?
Thank you, Rachael, Johanna and Sharon.

I think my mother and grandmother had reasonable food practices and my mother in particular is a good cook. But the doctors have been indoctrinating them and that dratted canola margarine is on both of their tables now instead of butter.

I think all of you are articulating things which are buzzing around my head and I've now got some books from the library which I'm looking forward to in relation to some of this.

I think the WAPF devotees form a third religion amongst happy woman bloggers I have encountered. I'll be back to this, says she who has just spent a large amount of money at the supermarket tonight.
Isa Ritchie said…
From a theoretical perspective (or at least the one I'm using), Nourishing Traditions and the WAPF provide a kind of food praxis - see Paulo Freire's work on educational praxis (Cuban literacy campaign) - combining theory and practice in a politicising way - encouraging criticism of the dominant paradigm and offering an alternative that's based on something many people can relate to: the gastronomy of our ancestors. Anyone who knows about the sorry state of modern food is likely to struggle with it, but there aren't many comprehensive alternatives. I, for one, would seriously struggle to be vegan, and it's not something traditional cultures were into either.

I agree that it's a bit like a religion - interestingly enough the term 'praxis' is often used by Christian groups. We get so much contradictory information about food - that something's good for us one minute and bad the next - and WAPF philosophy seeks to synthesize nutritional information with traditional food. It has its flaws and weaknesses, but it's comprehensive, holistic and something about it makes a lot of sense. I don't follow the menu plans and I have only attempted a handful of the recipes, but the values are appealing to me.

Thanks for another thought provoking post

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