Chelsea Fagan's Blog

25. NYC. Works at Thought Catalog. First book, I'm Only Here For The Wifi, available now where all fine literature is sold.

On Being A Woman In The Kitchen, But Never A Chef

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My mother comes from a long line of women who cook. My earliest memories were sitting on the counter while she stirred sauce or seared meats or took things out of the oven. At first I could stir, then I could grate, then I could chop. I grew up with her in that kitchen, learning how to season and taste and serve, just like she did, just like her mother did.

And, amongst all the women in her family, there is a great pride in being a good cook. In hosting and serving and taking things out at the exact right temperature, and making everyone in your home feel welcome and loved. When I first visited Marc’s grandparents at their farm, and saw the matriarch coming into the dining room with a giant roast chicken and potatoes, I felt at home. It felt like my own grandmother, bringing us a dish with a mix of humility and pride, getting to be the star of the show as she walked dramatically out of the kitchen.

But as my love of cooking has turned into a love of the food world — as I’ve begun to read the magazines and watch the shows and save up to go to the good restaurants with the multi-starred reviews — I’ve never felt less at home. The female faces are few and far in between, and the statistics on the female owned and operated Michelin-starred restaurants are dismal. As our culture treats chefs with an increasingly rockstar-like admiration, we’ve never paid less attention to women. If you only consumed food media, you would think that every chef or restauranteur was a 31-year-old white guy named Daniel who either worked in molecular gastronomy, or owned an upscale cafe and patisserie in Manhattan.

And yet, throughout most of human history, cooking and food has been one of the only domains where women were able to own, experiment, and excel. We could be creative, and dynamic, and even self-sufficient. We could invite people into our homes and our sensibilities with the food we created, and tie entire communities together around our tables. It was a profound role that we had, in a world that often left us with few choices. Most memories we have of a family member in the kitchen are about a woman, or many of them, working together.

Tonight I watched yet another documentary that profiled a young, volatile, ‘genius’ chef working in an impossibly pricey and high-concept restaurant, another superstar of the industry I have no connection to. He’s light years away from my mother, or Marc’s grandmother, or the countless matriarchs who run humble restaurants around this world that are condescendingly referred to as too “homey” or “traditional” to ever be considered the best of anything.

It’s a tradition that has been, in many ways, robbed from us. Our contributions, as in so many industries, are always considered to be domestic on some level, an understood part of our lives and not some vaunted art. Every woman working in every industry has experienced her work being perceived as “just helping out,” as though our sex is mutually exclusive with true leadership, true enterprise, or true self-determination. We exist, on some subconscious level, to serve, and therefore the stars and the leaders of industry will never be us, even in crafts that have historically been our domain. Even when we are allowed to excel on a much more humble, local level. 

I suppose it just stings a little bit more when it comes to food.

thefinancialdiet:

Thinking a lot about a calm, airy home workspace and an inspiration board. 

thefinancialdiet:

Thinking a lot about a calm, airy home workspace and an inspiration board. 

tropius:

internetexplorers:

h0llo:

laina:

laina:

laina:

this guy was watching the vmas with me and now he’s educating himself how precious is that

he keeps asking me all these questions about aspects of feminism and he’s like “so basically it’s about letting women do what they want without being judged for it” and I was like yea and he was like “oh okay that’s so simple why isn’t everyone a feminist” it’s precious

update: I banged him

Feminism isn’t about standing up for pedophiles and abusers? I think he needs a new teacher

yall giving this boy too much credit imho no offensive

catch me looking up the google definition of feminism on my phone. ladies i am single :)

is “update: i banged him” now the saddest four words in the english language

tropius:

internetexplorers:

h0llo:

laina:

laina:

laina:

this guy was watching the vmas with me and now he’s educating himself how precious is that

he keeps asking me all these questions about aspects of feminism and he’s like “so basically it’s about letting women do what they want without being judged for it” and I was like yea and he was like “oh okay that’s so simple why isn’t everyone a feminist” it’s precious

update: I banged him

Feminism isn’t about standing up for pedophiles and abusers? I think he needs a new teacher

yall giving this boy too much credit imho no offensive

catch me looking up the google definition of feminism on my phone. ladies i am single :)

is “update: i banged him” now the saddest four words in the english language

On Impulse Purchases (And How They Ruin My Life)

thefinancialdiet:

I have a hard time with impulse purchases. (Although everyone probably does, thus the whole term and concept.) But I am going to assume based on my personal experience that my susceptibility to buying stupid stuff at th last moment for a variety of reasons is, even amongst 20-something professional women in New York City, pretty high.

And I have tried to slow myself down over the past week and really break down my impulse purchasing, and I think I’ve realized that ultimately, regardless of the individual circumstance or what I’m buying, the reason is always the same:

My brain doesn’t consider things under 10 dollars as having cost any money.

And of course, in the grand scheme of things, it really doesn’t cost that much money, but only assuming you don’t purchase handfuls of these things a day. Recently, I came home feeling good about a day full of activity and totally devoid of frivolous spending, until I realized that I had spent, without ever considering it a hit to my bank account:

  • 7 dollars on coffee and a pastry to work in a coffee shop
  • 4 more dollars for another coffee because I was taking up the table for a while
  • 10 dollars on my metro card (I always put tiny amounts on and have to refill it every few days instead of just putting a lump sum and saving myself the constant headaches because, you know, I think those 10 dollar swipes don’t count)
  • 8 dollars on a few small items at Duane Reade I didn’t need
  • 8 dollars on a cute shirt at the thrift shop because, you know, it’s basically free~~
  • 12 dollars on two glasses of wine at happy hour
  • 8 dollars on a hot dog and some tater tots

Almost 60 dollars. On basically nothing. And again, none of this was done with any deep, psychological drive to purchase. It’s just my brain looking at a low price, thinking that it is somehow not real money, and OK-ing the spending without further thought. It’s something that is almost subconscious at this point, grabbing a new lip balm here, an iced tea there, a new bottle of nail polish I’ll barely use, a fancy pastry because I want to treat myself.

And yet “treating myself” has become the norm to the point that I no longer feel any sense of reward. I no longer feel like the little bursts of happy, frivolous spending are attached to any kind of achievement or even maintaining of otherwise-healthy habits. There’s no “Ah, I’ve had a great week and I’ve been thrifty, I’ll treat myself to a nice lunch at a sushi restaurant instead of eating at my desk.” I just spend this money carelessly, and always feel guilty instead of ever feeling like it’s special. 

For that reason, I’ve decided to start writing down my impulse purchases as I make them. If nothing else, it will likely force me to slow down and consider what I’m doing, and ultimately decide that a lot of stuff isn’t worth it. I may sometimes bore you with the details of what my brain decides is a reasonable buy, but mostly it’s for me. Because I want impulse purchases to go back to being fun and rare, not the unsatisfying way I drain my bank account.

sincesheleft:

nedhepburn:

coketalk:

This is the email I woke up to. Terrifying.
Honestly, I don’t know what to do at this point. Within ten minutes of sounding the alarm via Twitter, my account had been restored, but I’m one of the lucky ones. I have the privilege of asking tens of thousands of people to write into Tumblr on my behalf, and I can only imagine how helpless someone might feel who woke up to the same letter with no way to do anything about it.
I went back and searched through my old email address. Sure enough, under the “Social” tab of a gmail account that I never use anymore were a handful of Tumblr DMCA notices, all originating from some sniveling cunt stain named Jeremy Banks of the IFPI. I saw none of the notices until this morning, not that it would have mattered, because they were all for songs that I posted years ago.
I’ve been posting music for over half a damn decade. I have no idea what songs Jeremy Banks is suddenly going to give a shit about. Short of deleting every song I’ve ever posted, there’s nothing I can do to retroactively protect myself from this kind of arbitrary account termination.
Shit, we all post music. We all click the little box. We all know damn well that we don’t own the copyright, but we do it anyway. We’re not stealing. We’re not making money off the backs of musicians. We’re sharing our favorite songs with our friends.
God damn, I’m still shaking from all the adrenaline. I’m genuinely upset right now. People are suggesting that I export my blogs and migrate to independent hosting, but I don’t want to have to do that.
I love Tumblr. I love the community it fosters. I love my dashboard full of people I follow, and I love the interactions I have with all the people who follow me. I don’t want to leave Tumblr, but I don’t want to be so beholden to the whims of some DMCA termination robot either.
At the very least, I need to find a way to separate and protect Dear Coquette and my other blogs where I’ve never posted any music.
Ugh. This is not good. This is not good at all.

Tumblr is handling this appallingly. 

This is really problematic, you guys.

whoa

sincesheleft:

nedhepburn:

coketalk:

This is the email I woke up to. Terrifying.

Honestly, I don’t know what to do at this point. Within ten minutes of sounding the alarm via Twitter, my account had been restored, but I’m one of the lucky ones. I have the privilege of asking tens of thousands of people to write into Tumblr on my behalf, and I can only imagine how helpless someone might feel who woke up to the same letter with no way to do anything about it.

I went back and searched through my old email address. Sure enough, under the “Social” tab of a gmail account that I never use anymore were a handful of Tumblr DMCA notices, all originating from some sniveling cunt stain named Jeremy Banks of the IFPI. I saw none of the notices until this morning, not that it would have mattered, because they were all for songs that I posted years ago.

I’ve been posting music for over half a damn decade. I have no idea what songs Jeremy Banks is suddenly going to give a shit about. Short of deleting every song I’ve ever posted, there’s nothing I can do to retroactively protect myself from this kind of arbitrary account termination.

Shit, we all post music. We all click the little box. We all know damn well that we don’t own the copyright, but we do it anyway. We’re not stealing. We’re not making money off the backs of musicians. We’re sharing our favorite songs with our friends.

God damn, I’m still shaking from all the adrenaline. I’m genuinely upset right now. People are suggesting that I export my blogs and migrate to independent hosting, but I don’t want to have to do that.

I love Tumblr. I love the community it fosters. I love my dashboard full of people I follow, and I love the interactions I have with all the people who follow me. I don’t want to leave Tumblr, but I don’t want to be so beholden to the whims of some DMCA termination robot either.

At the very least, I need to find a way to separate and protect Dear Coquette and my other blogs where I’ve never posted any music.

Ugh. This is not good. This is not good at all.

Tumblr is handling this appallingly. 

This is really problematic, you guys.

whoa

best-of-memes:

When I find the perfect rock on the ground to add to my rock collection

image

still angry at this

(via kandles12)

When I was a little girl, I loved sitting at my mother’s vanity. I would open the little drawers filled with lipsticks and perfumes and powders, testing them one after the other, drawing over my mouth crudely and filling my lids with bright blue shadow. I would put her mother’s gold-and-pearl earrings on my ears, one clip and then the other, feeling like one of the beautiful, big-haired women from the mid-90s soaps that played in the background while my mother sewed on the machine, and I played on the floor.

I would take a pair of her satin heels out of the closet and shuffle around in them, my tiny feet barely filling the toes of the shoe, my frilled socks pulled up to two different heights around my ankles. There was something intoxicating about all of it — the pomp and circumstance of being A Woman.

And to this day, so much of being A Woman feels deeply wrapped up in this somewhat vain, ultimately material idea. I think of A Woman as having an elegant nightstand, with a single, small drawer that you must never look in. It contains a few pieces of jewelry, a dog-eared romance novel, a delicate jar of loose powder that smells like perfume and makes you glow just a little bit pink. A Woman has a lamp next to her bed, so she can read books before she falls asleep, and she always has a few important novels and biographies lined up along the stand, so people can see that she is smart, and that she loves to learn.

When you open her closet, it’s filled with crisp white shirts and floral dresses that swish around her knees and a beige trench coat that she can wear in almost every kind of weather. She slips it on as she heads out the door to do her shopping, along with her conservative heels and her single strand of pearls. When she doesn’t have the time to style her hair, she clips it back with a tortoise shell barrette and lets a few strands fall around her face.

In the mirror by the door, she applies a quick coat of lipstick and presses her lips together three times to even it out.

Sometimes I feel that I will never be A Woman, because my nightstand is really a dresser, and it’s always overflowing with cheap clothes I buy on impulse and never wear. I get tired of books quickly and stop them halfway through, and then read the same ones I love already a dozen more times in their place. My closet is full of dresses that don’t fit quite right, and coats that are always too heavy or too light, and impractical heels I can only wear if I know I don’t have to do any walking. I’m lucky if I can remember to swipe on a bit of chap stick as I’m running out the door.

Whenever I go to A Woman’s house, I always look in her bathroom. I admire the creams and the powders and the impractical objects, and smell the delicate soaps, and think of the foresight it took to purchase the shampoo and conditioner in perfect little sets. I think of her taking her shower, of having a different soap for her face, and for her body, and for her hair. I think of her getting out and blotting herself off, rubbing a bit of lotion in between her hands and spreading it over her legs, and then her stomach, and then her shoulders. I think of her wrapping her hair in a towel, and her body in a robe, and inspecting her face in a magnified mirror, tweezers in hand.

And then I think of myself, as a little girl, staring in my mother’s mirror. I think of how small my face looked in the enormous expanse of her vanity, and how much I had to grow before I became A Woman, because then I would have all of these beautiful things my mother and her mother had for me to play with. And maybe I will always be buying another cream, another powder, another dress, to feel like I am finally one of them.

onigiri85:

omg

my heartttt

(Source: internetexplorers, via confidenceiscompetence)