ABSTRACT

Philosophers and food writers fail to tarry with women's labor long enough to notice that home cooking provides a rich field for the discovery of figures and principles in ethics. A phenomenology of home cooking yields new figures and principles for ethics that are not anticipated by the law of property and sexual propriety or by the fraternal myth of mastery over nature and human nature. Though philosophers and ethicists have rarely paid attention to food, anthropologists have long recognized its importance as an infrastructure of culture and identity. Everyday home cooking, however, represents something quite different than either the feast or the worldliness of a post-colonial catholic taste. While the US market has been almost entirely conquered by global agribusiness, in France, for example, small farmers, grocers, and cheesemongers still thrive. Prior to the hegemony of the nuclear family in Anglo-European culture after World War II, women worked together to prepare meals for an extended family.