JUST DESSERTS by Sally Cline


Women and Food
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 Midway through this extended collage of kvetching, British feminist Cline (co-author, Reflecting Men, 1987) cites a finding that women do not view cooking as drudgery and in fact can find it ``a creative and enjoyable process.'' But that gets lost in the barrage of quotes from women who hate themselves for secret bingeing, or are terrorized by the demands of raging, loutish husbands for hot meat-centered meals (and heaven help her if he sees any gristle!), or lose sleep and miss out on career advancement for worrying about what to serve their families for dinner, or feel physically sick when they find themselves in supermarkets. (Cline quotes several women who share this extreme reaction and none who take the task in stride.) Cline's major arguments are that ``all women, not merely an extreme few, match their passion and devotion to food with an addictive and emotional irrationality'' while men simply see food as fuel; that ``all women are controlled by the male mythology that fat-is-bad''; that women control food--and abuse their power over the children they feed--because they cannot control their lives; and that even in the US, where some men help cook, men don't share the responsibility or the cleanup. Certainly there is much truth to these assertions, but in Cline's hands they are mostly just that- -flat statements that bracket the quotes and personal confessions, often harping on already familiar points (or restating what has just been clearly said within the quotes) or, it seems, overgeneralizing from what might indeed be common experience. You might want to buy the book, for the mirror many women readers may find it or just for the fascination of other people's secrets. But without much analysis or any direction for change, it sounds mostly like a lot of good old-fashioned unliberated whining.

Pub Date: July 15th, 1991
ISBN: 0-233-98510-7
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Andre Deutsch/Trafalgar
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 1991


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