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Through the Kitchen Window: Women Explore the Intimate Meanings of Food and Cooking [Paperback]

By Arlene Voski Avakian (Editor)
Our Price $ 32.26  
Retail Value $ 37.95  
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Item Number 332828  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   315
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.75" Width: 5.5" Height: 8.5"
Weight:   0.9 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jan 5, 2006
Publisher   Berg Publishers
ISBN  1845203267  
EAN  9781845203269  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
These days any woman knows that the sensual pleasures of food and cooking are all too often obscured by the increasing demands of careers, families, battles over body image, and the desire for a life outside the "traditional" domain of the kitchen. Through the Kitchen Window offers a fresh look at food and cooking, arguing that food is a cultural declaration, an expression of hidden hungers, a symbol of our intimate connections to one another. Including memories of Latina, Geechee, Chinese and Indian kitchens, this book reveals everything from the painful struggles to overcome an eating disorder to the tantalizing delights of cornbread and barbecue eaten from a lover's hands, and challenges assumptions about women, food, and the true satisfaction of cooking.

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More About Arlene Voski Avakian

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Arlene Avakain is Professor of Women's Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Arlene Voski Avakian currently resides in the state of Massachusetts.

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Product Categories
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4Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Women's Studies > General   [3442  similar products]

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Embassy of Cultural Tradition  Apr 9, 2008
For the two weeks my grandchildren join their dad at our house every summer, we celebrate: Thanksgiving dinner one evening, an Easter Egg hunt early on a cool morning, and always a Father's Day picnic with fried chicken and potato salad. It's the only time all year we're together, and family memories are more important than the calendar. Food is an important and essential part of the memories. Writing in Through the Kitchen Window, Helen Barolini sees the kitchen as "an embassy of cultural tradition." We are ambassadors of our heritage.

In this fine book, Arlene Voski Avakian presents a collection of American women's essays, poems, and recipes considering the importance of food, cooking, and kitchens in women's lives. These glimpses through kitchen windows provide diverse views: Julie Dash's admonition never to stir Geechee red rice after it comes to a boil appears together with Joan Ormondroyd's wonderful memories of her Russian-Jewish grandmother's beet borsht.

These kitchen memories come sweet and sour. Letty Cottin Pogrebin takes pleasure in holding a cookbook with her mother's handwritten recipes. Maya Angelou recounts with pride how her mother used her kitchen and cooking skills to open new doors for her family. But Marge Piercy sees a burnt meal as "not incompetence, but war," and Helen Barolini says, "growing up I had deliberately stayed as far awaya from my mother's kitchen as I could."

There is great value in Through the Kitchen Window, not only in the glances into other lives and the feeling of togetherness (and sometimes separateness) that the stories evoke, but also in the way they call back memories of our own lives. I started a list of food and kitchen memories while reading the first essay; and by the time I laid the book down, the list was pushing seventy-five entries. Now it lies on my counter, still growing with memories as varied as the tales in this book. A gallery of good taste indeed!

Read this book with your notebook in your hand and a napkin tucked under your chin. And stir up the ginger crinkles on page 63, and be a little girl again.

by Patricia Nordyke Pando
for Story Circle Book Reviews
reviewing books by, for, and about women
Politically Correct Cookery  Mar 14, 2001
As with any anthology, the appeal and the quality of the essays here varies, but what prompted me to write a review is the extraordinary tone of smug superiority that wafts off of all too many of those found here. The most egregious example of that smugness is to be found in a vicious little piece by Sally Bellerose in which she regales the reader with her saintly forebearance as she describes the horrors bestowed upon her delicate consciousness when she deigns to honor her reactionary parents with her presence at their dinner table. And could you have a book of this kind without including that Queen of Noble Suffering, Maya Angelou? She's represented here with a snippet from her often anthologized book "Wouldn't Take Nothin' For My Journey Now." There's also the pro forma male bashing in many of the essays ("Now I cook as a woman, free of that feeling of enslavement with which a male culture has imbued the process of preparing food.") There's also the stereotyping that often goes along with this kind of generic thinking; eg. "Everyone knows that TV dinners are mainly the province of heterosexual males and the career woman who lives alone. Gay men often enjoy cooking and are generally as good at it as the most creative woman." The editor is a professor in the women's studies program at U. Mass, Amherst. I doubt there's much room for discussion in her classes, unless that discussion serves her dogma. It's not the politics I disliked so much as it is the unquestioned assumptions and the tone of sanctimony that cling to these memory scraps. If you're already in the choir, this book will be happy to preach at you, but if you have yet to sign off on every blessed stereotype of oppression, you may find it annoying in some places,offensive in others,
An exciting and sober look into the lives of women who cook  Feb 21, 1999
It took 3 seconds to decide to buy this book. A book to savor, chapter by chapter, to carry along when you need to read for an hour or so somewhere in your travels, to have bedside, and a companion for afternoon cool-down time. At this skill leval, many fine recipes, revealing even more of the cooks character and desire to do well. Fills those little niches of lonliness most of us feel , brings us in close to the discussion around the table with other women.Treasured moments! There are profound intellectual meanings as well.Steven King might enjoy the poem by Marge Piercy, "What is that burning in the kitchen!"Very funny and sooty!
Delicious & appetizing stories await you in this collection.  Nov 2, 1998
Avakian's "Through the Kitchen Window" offers a delicious medley of stories, anecdotes, and recipes from some of today's most celebrated women writers. Authors as diverse as Maya Angelou, Ester Shapiro and Dorothy Allison share rich and distinctly different perspectives of the significance of food and cooking in their lives. Numerous stories in this collection take the reader on inspiring journeys across cultural and ethnic borders, landing in wonderful and curious foreign worlds. Everyone from West Indian slaves, Cuban Jews and Irish peasants, to name a few, are represented along with their culinary legacies. However, these stories represent much more than food; they are personal portrayals of identity, character and intimacy. Extraordinary narratives about family, friends and spirit each intertwined with hidden meanings and secret hungers of food and life. These tales will move readers to recall occasions and loved ones indelibly marked by meals or food in our own hearts and minds. From tales of struggles between mothers and daughters, the sacrificial lamb of forbidden love to cafeteria food and lime Jell-O, each reader will find at least one story that warms the heart, as well as, feeds the soul. One of my favorite stories in this collection is by the popular women's historical author, Sharon L. Jansen. Her personal narrative of her relationship with her mother is far removed from her usual chronicled style. Her story '"Family Liked 1956": My Mother's Recipes' reflects her personal feelings of the exceptional 20-year correspondence with her mother through letters and recipes. Women, cooks, or anyone who ever found delight in the pleasure of eating, will treasure this book. Add it to your library and read it again and again. You'll never tire of the warmth, love and inspiration you will find in each and every story.

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