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men, women, the politics of baking

Karen Allendoerfer ravena at cco.caltech.edu
Wed Dec 18 15:06:18 EST 1996

In article <2FE963E375B at bio.tamu.edu>,  <JFRUGOLI at BIO.TAMU.EDU> wrote:
>This week I baked a mess of homemade Christmas cookies for lab meeting 
>instead of picking up bagels. Why?  Because I, too fell victim to the 
>need to show what someone else mentioned-that "I'm a good scientist, but 
>hey, I can cook too-see I'm still a feminine type at heart".  This is 
>kind of funny because my husband's as good a cook as I am and we both 
>cook regularly, but I cook for company.  Go figure.

I can sympathize with this, I really can.  I used to make these chocolate 
truffles for my graduate department's evening meetings, and people loved
them.  It was a real ego boost, for the most part.  I also used to
bring them to parties; it helped that they are 1. very easy to make, and
2. I like to eat them too.

On the other hand, I haven't made them (or other things) as much recently
since I became a postdoc, and this was something of a conscious choice.
I don't have any kind of reputation at all for being able to cook as a
postdoc, and I like it that way.  I bring cheese and bread, or fresh
fruit, or muffins, to lab meeting.  Your comment about baking a mess of
Christmas cookies really hit home to me, because I was tempted to bring
homemade Christmas cookies for lab meeting this week too, and then I 
thought, am I NUTS?  Look at everything I have to do (I'm going away for
2 months, subletting my apartment, packing up for Christmas, trying to
write a paper and an article, Christmas shopping, applying for a job, and
finding someone to take my cat; and I had to prepare a journal club last
week and a research meeting this week).  At least for me, this "proving I can
cook and am still 'feminine' " took a pretty easy back seat to a mess of
more important things.

Maybe it's just me, but it seems to me that we'd all do ourselves a big
favor if we just took a deep breath, took the plunge, and brought bagels.
How worth having is a "femininity" that has to justify itself with 
homemade cookies?

Just my $0.02 brought on by holiday stress :)


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