The Kitchen Voice as Confessional

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In this article I argue there is a distinct literary genre that I shall call the “kitchen confessional.” More specifically, I consider what kinds of works qualify as kitchen confessionals and why. Kitchen confessionals are important for what they tell us about women and domesticity. Their importance is partly a function of place, tied to the unique status of the household kitchen and the role for women in it. No less important, though, is the kitchen confessional as a specific literary genre. Approaching food biographies and memoirs as a species of confessional literature allows us to see the greater cultural significance of these works as explorations of female identity and voice. The oppressive history of the kitchenplace makes the confessions that spring from it an especially useful tool for considering whether they in particular—and confessions more generally—simply discipline and oppress, or whether they can be appropriated and transformed into a means of cultural change.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: March 1, 2004

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