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What’s Cooking, Boys?


Article The Cooking Boy in Danish Cookbooks for Children since 1975

In the 1960’s, the Danish women’s magazine Alt for damerne [Everything for ladies] published a series of small brochures called Børnenes egen kogebog [The Children’s Own Cookbook]. The front page of the first of these portrays a girl with a braid. She is wearing an apron and is preparing dough while she carefully follows a recipe in an open book on the kitchen table. The foreword is in two parts, one for “you” and one for “your mum”. The latter says:

“You have probably experienced many times how nice it is to have a kitchen assistant, and when she – or he! – can do somethings right, it’s double fun. We appeal to your helpfulness and tolerance – and hope that you too will enjoy this arrangement.”

Danish version of the television show Masterchef Junior. An article in Marcus’ local community newspaper celebrates this achievement with an enthusiastic feature on the son who “must be every parent’s dream.” Marcus, who cooks for his family 2-3 times per week and attends the cooking school of the Danish food celebrity Claus Meyer every Monday, explains: “I started cooking because my dad is a really good cook, and I’m also a boy scout and we cook at the camp fire.” He is not sure if he wants to be a chef, perhaps he’d rather do “something with media,” the article concludes (Lyngby-Taarbæk Lokalavis, 05/22/2012).

These two food media texts suggest that a radical change has occurred in the gendering of children’s cooking in Denmark from the 1960’s till today.

Full article What's Cooking, Boys? here.

Mentioned in the article

Docent, PhD

Docent, PhD, University College Absalon

Jonatan Leer was part of the focus area Learning in Taste for Life 2014 - 2018. As a postdoc at Aarhus University, he did research in taste pedagogy and food culture.

He is now head of Center for Ledelse og Oplevelsesdesign at University College Absalon, focusing on food innovation, food culture and gastrotourism.