The Food Network has achieved tremendous popularity with the American public in the last decade. It has created the genre of the celebrity chef and has changed the relationship between food and domestic labor. The network breaks with the traditional idea of cooking as a womanly chore associated with economy, and instead engenders a new ideal in which cooking becomes an act of pleasure and a mark of leisure. Using Jacques Lacan’s theory of the imago, this paper explores the Food Network’s play with gender norms and the Network’s role in creating a new domestic paragon. This paper focuses particularly on the Food Network’s daytime programming and explores the ways in which the Food Network markets itself to women, and the means by which it creates and presents its version of the Lacanian Ideal-I: the ideal hostess who cooks with pleasure and entertains lavishly.
Full Article (PDF):Mahvis-Khan-Cooking-Your-Way-To-Completeness.pdf