I was chopping some ingredients for the shepherd’s pie I was making last night. I don’t think I’m a particularly good cook and I don’t even really like cooking anymore. But it usually slows me down and makes me a bit contemplative. I like thinking about cooking, the idea of cooking. The anthropology of cooking. How my father-in-law never once left anything on his plate in the twenty years I ate with him. He grew up in the depression. How my parents’ generation often laced their meals with a ton of salt before taking a bite because they and their parents never learned how to season food properly. How every city on the Mississippi has a different kind of BBQ like they have a different kind of blues. A migration north after slavery. It changed a little with every stop along the way.
Then I remembered something I first heard in the seventies. That most every great chef in the world was a man. I thought that was interesting at the time and now I think it was part of a seventies thing to de-stigmatize cooking in the west for men. But really, it’s a bunch of B.S. More sexist dogma. Of course most great chefs were men. They didn’t have ten children to raise. Most great composers and painters and novelists and just about everything else were men at one time. Because they were the only ones allowed to do it. It’s like saying all the great baseball players before Jackie Robinson were white.
As I watched Trump these last few months I realized that as determined as philosophers and theologians have been over the last five thousand years in their pursuit of the ever elusive truth, maybe truth doesn’t really exist. It’s objectively true that most of the world’s great chefs have been men, but that truth doesn’t tell half the story.