The April 2 issue of The New Yorker has a truly stupid article about Gordon Ramsay. Ramsay is a chef in the Anthony Bourdain mold – a man’s man sort of dude, fond of yelling, tuffness, and hierarchies. An illuminating sample:
“Young man, what’s your name?”
“Your knot,” Ramsay said. “It’s very big, don’t you think?”
“You know what they say in Britain – the bigger the knot, the smaller the cock. Young man, I’m sure your cock is very big. Will you do something about your knot, please?”
Scintillating bedtime reading for feminists, no?
The article is written by Bill Buford, who aspires to be such a dude but knows he isn’t cut out for it, so he tags along after such dudes and lets us mortals into their hideous begging-for-anger-management lives. (I suffered through the entire, interminable audio book Heat, his love letter to Mario Batali that began life as an article exactly like the one on Ramsay.) Buford is The New Yorker’s go-to guy for articles that praise and promote the continuation of top-dog patriarchal ideas about the cooking world.
He and the chefs he so loves to write about fetishize violence, suffering (of the people working under the top chefs he loves so much, and of course of the animals they cook), cruelty, and general asshole-ness. This aspect of cooking culture is part of the reason I refuse to call myself a “chef.” I’m a cook. I cook, just as women have for centuries. I want no part of this male cooking universe.
The same issue has a comic (p. 43) that completely puzzles me. Is the guy stuck in the swimming pool? Then what’s up with the step-stool? Is he just so excited about summer that every day he makes a notch on the pool wall? Is this somehow humorous?