As I was scrolling through Facebook waiting for my food to arrive at dinner, I happened across an article Spoon recently published titled, “Here’s Why Ina Garten’s Latest Cookbook Title May Be Problematic.” Like many of our readers, I was shocked. What could America’s sweetheart, Ina Garten, possibly have written that may be problematic?
I skimmed the article looking for an answer, but was instead greeted with the title, Cooking For Jeffery. Thinking I may have missed something, I reread the article thoroughly only to find that this was in fact the title, but the only thing I found problematic was the article’s reasoning.
The author’s argument was that our beloved Barefoot Contessa has become a beacon of domesticity, and that the title of her newest cookbook “seems to diminish her success” because Ina is cooking for her husband. While I love that Spoon has given this author a platform to speak her mind, I am going to respectfully disagree with her opinions and use this platform to, in turn, speak mine.
Before Ina became the Contessa, she was a nuclear policy analyst for the White House. Yeah, you read that right. Last time I checked, jobs like that don’t scream “cult of domesticity.” But even if they did, what’s wrong with that? I’m all for feminism, I truly am. But since when did feminism mean bashing what other women want to do with their lives?
When I watch the Barefoot Contessa, I don’t see a woman being forced to labor and cook for a man. I see a woman who loves food and wants to share her love with her husband. The title Cooking For Jeffrey is not problematic. What’s problematic is viewing a woman giving her husband a shout-out in her cookbook as anything less than loving.
At Spoon, we’re given the opportunity to voice our opinions, an opportunity for which I’m truly thankful. However, I believe that as writers, it is our job to share information with readers in the most accurate way possible. I do not believe calling this cookbook “triggering” is accurate.
My generation is known for several things, but most frustratingly we are known as the “politically correct” generation, and while this doesn’t come up a lot when writing about food, I think it’s important to talk about this issue. I can understand if we call articles about eating disorders triggering, or even articles about mental health. But calling this cookbook triggering honestly seems like clickbait, and our readers deserve better.
I obviously don’t know what Ina’s intentions were with her newest cookbook, but I do know that it’s going to be in my Amazon cart later today. I think it’s only fitting to end this on a positive note, and what better way than a quote from the Barefoot Contessa herself: “You have the ability to manifest beauty in your life — now go out there and do it! Just don’t forget your trusty square scone cutter.”