A linguistic analysis of the ‘cookbook’ and the ‘recipe’.
The Cookie Incarnate
This work initially began with a focus on illustrating how the ‘cookbook’ and the ‘recipe’ can serve to show a change in dynamic regarding eating behaviours.
These texts can aid an understanding of food histories and the discourse surrounding female self-identity, cultural identity and ‘disidentity’ within the kitchen. My first response to these themes derived from Hillary Clinton's controversial comments in 1992:
“I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas, but what I decided to do was to fulfil my profession, which I entered before my husband was in public life.”
To combat the criticism, she released a recipe for her chocolate chip cookies which has since developed into the First Ladies baking competition. These recipes have become disproportionately synonymous with the adequacy of these women as mothers, with ingredients likened to personality traits. It is a competition that displays how culinary guides can reinforce gender identities and socialise women into feminine practices.
I held a workshop with a group of women and created some prompts for discussion topics. I had them all make their own cookie, accompanied by descriptors and illustrations. I collated all of the outcomes from the workshop and tried to use their understandings as a resource to develop a design process to further engage with. In making the Cookie incarnate zine, I wrote recipes for every cookie the women had created to represent their personality traits. Ultimately, The Cookie Incarnate stands as a critical analysis of not only Hillary Clinton's perception on the role of the domestic, but the discourse surrounding domesticity and how this language is embedded into cultural texts like the recipe and the cookbook. It formed the beginning of a process, which allows the language within cookbooks to be interpreted, dissected and manipulated.