Can-Do Equality

Today I’d like to spotlight an amazing little cookbook that I found on e-Bay several months ago.  It’s called “The Working Couple’s Cookbook”, by Peggy Treadwell, published in 1971.  Aside from having incredible 1970’s graphical illustrations by Craig Torlucci, the book is even more interesting, in that it was published right in the heart of the Second Wave of the American Women’s Movement which was primarily concerned with gender inequities in law and culture, and the sexist structure which was deeply entrenched in the society of that time.   At the heart of the feminist consciousness of this era,  was Betty Frieden’s 1963 tome, The Feminine Mystique, which questioned  women’s traditional roles as subservient housewives and plotted a new course for women as equal contributing members of a gender-neutral society.

Indeed this little cookbook seeks to provide practical ways for women to realize this goal of gender-equality in the home, and the back cover sets the tone:

The introduction of the book, seems to clearly suggest an acceptance of gay and lesbian relationships as a normal state, which is apparently a radical concept by today’s politics, but is entirely appropriate when you consider the the milestones of the Gay Liberation Movement during the the same era.  The struggle for gay and lesbian rights, women’s rights and civil rights as a whole were inextricably linked during the 1960’s and early 1970’s.  And so this little book does its bit for the cause by pointing out that:

“…the “his” and “hers” divisions of culinary duties are, of course, interchangeable and could easily be desginated his and his or hers and hers.”

I love the thought of "cooperative meal preparation"

And now for an actual recipe.  Be sure to read this right through.  It says a lot about the times; our need for convenience, but most importantly, equality.

Fantastic illustration don't you think ?

It sounds almost exotic.....

I love #4.

It still seems like the "Hers" instructions are more than the "His"

What kind of household did you grow up in ? Was there an equal division of household duties ? Is there now ?


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. nancyspoint
    Jan 05, 2011 @ 10:11:04

    Anna, I agree, the woman’s duties seem to be a bit more
    complex anyway. Yes, the illustration is interesting, to say the
    least! I was fortunate to grow up in a family where my father was
    pretty involved. He did some cooking, did most of the grocery
    shopping and took us to doctor appts. He was (and still is) totally
    comfortable around children, even babies. Of course, my mom still
    did most of the mundane chores like dishes, cleaning, laundry and
    the like. My husband and I are still trying to figure out who does
    what! It’s constantly evolving even now.


    • Can-Do Woman
      Jan 05, 2011 @ 12:44:07

      I think this little book is really fascinating. I don’t think we’ve really achieved what this book set out to do, as I think women are still for the most part most responsible for the domestic duties. My parents divorced when I was quite young and I lived with my father, a highly unusual arrangement even by today’s standards. So my dad was quite adept as well and it was he who taught me to cook. By contrast, my husband today couldn’t boil water if his life depended on it ! Certainly very interesting to think how attitudes have, or haven’t, changed isn’t it.


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