Friday, March 8, 2019

International Women's Day

"Everything you see I owe to spaghetti" -- Sophia Loren

"People who love to eat are always the best people" -- Julia Child

"I believe that all anyone really wants in this life is to sit in peace and eat a sandwich." -- Liz Lemon, 30 Rock

I am an unabashed feminist. The textbook definition of the word feminist, by the way, is no to be considered a "dirty word" by any stretch of the imagination. It simply means someone who believes females and males should have political, social, and economic equality. Period. Ovaries are not required to feel this way -- in fact, kudos to the men out there (like my husband) who are not threatened by the concept of feminism and can join in rallying for support of women everywhere. So, this year, after having been through the #metoo and #timesup movements, the ups and downs of the Women's March and the scandals of its leaders, the massive wave of women voted into government positions in the midterm elections, and a short film about menstrual shaming taking home an Oscar, I'd say women are in the spotlight in a way we haven't been for a long time. And, it's high time we salute women who make our lives more delicious. Since March is International Women's month, it's a great time to remember, here on this blog, the importance of women in today's world -- especially the world of food, drink, and hospitality. 

We women have chosen a culinary career because we have the capacity for nurturing, for giving, for feeding people, showing love through food and drink and making guests, clients, and customers feel cared for, appreciated, loved.  And of course, we make our friends and families feel the same thing. It usually stems from caring for those closest to us, actually, and grows from there. I started off as a young girl baking cookies and cakes for my family, and then my classmates, and I still get the "baker's high" when I make a birthday cake or a sweet treat for friends or family now. It's this showing of love through food that has propelled me as a culinary professional. It could be making the perfect osso buco with risotto milanese for a dinner party or in a restaurant kitchen that scratches that itch these days, but I feel it just as strongly now as I did back in 1980. Probably more strongly, actually, since it's now my career to feed people. 

The important thing here is that we all support women in the hospitality industry. Women supporting women is great, and it should always be a first step we can count on as a community of women, for women. But this support cannot be limited to women only. Every community needs to rally around its female contributors and creatives, especially in industries where it's historically been difficult for women to thrive (one could argue that's most industries, but I digress). Let's get behind those James Beard award-winning female chefs, and those who have taken home Michelin stars, and those female sommeliers at the top of their game, but also -- and maybe more importantly -- let's recognize, and support with coverage and with our dollars, those women who run small activities, corner cafes, coffee shops and boutique catering companies, those who teach cooking to our kids, those who fight for those living in food deserts and for kids to have nutritious school lunches...and everything in between. We must recognize the tremendous impact women are having in food and hospitality and call them out. Interact. Support. Recognize their contributions. This is the only way forward, and we can ALL benefit from women's hard work. We all deserve it! 

Happy Women's History Month, and have a wonderful International Women's Day (Festa delle Donne in Italian). Auguri!!!