The Secret Ingredient: Sexuality in Kitchen Culture and Traditional Gender Roles
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Recipes can be reproduced, altered, modified, and perfected. Some even have secret ingredients that make them particularly special and unique. Those secret ingredients are at times not shared, nor passed on, or not even mentioned until you dig a little deeper or gain the trust and respect of those who hold them. The kitchen is the center of all these questions and confusions about what it takes to create the perfect recipe. Translating this into identities, it is in the kitchen where we learn about gender roles and how to act as domestics or consume as non domestics. The expression "a way to a man's heart is through his stomach" isn't just about the power and importance of good food. Rather if we dig a little deeper, the secret ingredient there is being a good housewife. The way we learn the recipe to gender roles is embedded in the labor that we see being performed in the kitchen. Over time, gender roles in the kitchen have transformed into recipes found in cookbooks on how to be a domestic rather than bake a good pie. The focus of this essay is to look at the journey of the recipe of gender roles and see it transform and reproduce through the different media. The maintenance still holds today in different forms, however like recipes, they do get altered, and modified and secret ingredients get added along the way. Sexuality in this case is the secret ingredient that modifies the traditional gender roles recipe. More importantly how does it challenge the existing recipe, and like all new ingredients added to a traditional recipe, does it make it ready for people to digest?