Reviews of Homeward Bound

“3.5 out of 4 stars” - People Magazine                                                               “The brilliance of Emily Matchar’s new book is that it exhaustively describes what disillusioned workers are opting into: a slower, more sustainable, and more self-sufficient lifestyle that’s focused on the home. Matchar synthesizes dozens of trend stories … into a single, compelling narrative about the resurgence of domesticity….Refreshing.” -The New Republic                                                       "[P]rovocatively explores what the movement says about the role of women in society today.” – The New Yorker                                                                       "I unreservedly loved it…It’s empathetic and funny and thoughtful and smart, and I encourage all of you to read it."– The Hairpin                                                         “Cogently argues that choosing a more hands-on, DIY lifestyle – family farming, canning, crafting, can, without sacrificing feminism’s hard-won gains, improve on an earlier time when ‘people lived more lightly on the earth and relied less on corporations, and family and community came first.’” - ELLE                                                               “[I]ntelligent and insightful...essential reading.” - Christianity Today                                                       “A lively and perceptive reporter… a valuable and astute assessment.”—Publishers Weekly                                                         “A well-researched look at the resurgence of home life…. Offers intriguing insight into the renaissance of old-fashioned home traditions.”— Kirkus Reviews

What is New Domesticity?

This blog is a look at the social movement I call ‘New Domesticity’ – the fascination with reviving “lost” domestic arts like canning, bread-baking, knitting, chicken-raising, etc. Why are women of my generation, the daughters of post-Betty Friedan feminists, embracing the domestic tasks that our mothers and grandmothers so eagerly shrugged off? Why has the image of the blissfully domestic supermom overtaken the Sex & the City-style single urban careerist as the media’s feminine ideal? Where does this movement come from? What does it mean for women? For families? For society?                                                                                     My book, Homeward Bound: Why Women Are Embracing the New Domesticity, which explores New Domesticity in greater depth, will be published by Simon & Schuster in May 2013.

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In defense of “can-opener cuisine”

I had an essay today in The Hairpin (one of my favorite humor/women’s issues sites, btw) about Poppy Cannon, a mid-century food editor and author of 1951′s “The Can-Opener Cookbook.” Cannon was sort of the first Sandra Lee – a badass, ambitious woman who clawed her way to success against the odds, but whose attachment to dubious convenience foods (uh, canned chicken) made her the butt of jokes in the foodie world. I look at the troubled, often wrongly understood relationship between convenience foods and working women, and suggest that attitudes towards women who don’t cook hasn’t changed all that much since the 1950s.

Props to the brilliant Laura Shapiro, author of “Something From the Oven: Reinventing Dinner in 1950s America,” which has a full chapter dedicated to the fascinating Cannon. If you’re at all interested in food history, it’s a must-read.

3 comments to In defense of “can-opener cuisine”

  • Tess Sharpe

    Marvelous article. As a vintage cookbook collector and pastry chef, I loved it. Must hunt down some Poppy books, now.

  • Someone sent me the link to your Hairpin article via Twitter, and it such a great analysis.

    I work in nutrition and I write a blog about eating, and it is so difficult to wade through the classist BS that goes on around eating. Lots of my clients are petrified to even cook dinner because it will never be “good enough” by current standards – so instead of making something easy, they wait until they’re starving and then go out for fast food. Total cognitive dissonance.

    Anyway, it’s always great for me to see people writing about food (and writing about food writing) and exploring the underlying social and cultural issues.

    I want to do more of this kind of writing, but it feels like an uphill battle sometimes due to the levels of fear and loathing.