"I work in the ordinary and the banal," Kaufmann says. "It interests me and it interests more and more readers." He had thought that mealtimes would provide a droll light subject but found it complex and grave instead.What is more risky: cooking for others or allowing someone to cook for you? No wonder we prefer to nourish ourselves with casual snacks and fast food.
The complexity lies in the fact that French housewives dream that cooking will bring them happiness and love.... There may be a bit of narcissism there, notes Kaufmann, who adds that cooking is not all virtue and grace....
There has ... been a revolution in French eating habits.... A recipe is no longer a guide for beginners, Kaufmann says, "but an instrument to perform an existential rupture." Nothing in family cooking is anodyne, he writes at least twice, and the seemingly modest phrase "Oh, it's just something simple" merits detailed deconstruction.
September 25, 2005
Writes the sociologist Jean-Claude Kaufmann, (via A&L Daily):