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The Perfect Recipe: Taste and Tyranny, Cooks and Citizens

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This paper considers the implications of a particular kind of recipe, namely recipes that purport to be perfect, for democratic citizenship. I explore the political dimensions of perfect recipes not in terms of identity or community, but as a type of political instrument, or as manifesting a particular form of political obligation, based on the cook/reader's submission to the terms and commands of the recipe. We might thus describe the relationship between the perfect recipe and the reader/cook as authoritarian or autocratic. It is not much of an exaggeration to say that perfect recipes may make for good meals but bad cooks. But perfect recipes do more than make bad cooks—they make bad citizens because they encourage habits of docility and deference, both of which are inimical to democratic citizenship.


Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2752/175174411X13088262162677

Publication date: December 1, 2011

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