March 27, 2006
A column tackling gay issues, gay themes, and just general gayness in television.Out-takes
Golden Brown and Delicious
The quite bearable straightness of A.B.
I am an unlikely candidate for the cooking show fan because, well, I don't cook. Not that I'm necessarily adverse to the idea or the profession, but cooking just is not a passion of mine, and therefore, it's not something I generally relish watching TV about. In the past, the shows I've seen have bored me to tears — mixing measurements I don't understand to make dishes I'm not interested in and would never replicate? Not my idea of a good time.
|I have described Alton Brown to those
who have not seen the show
as the magical love child of Mr. Wizard and Bill Nye the Science Guy
given a cooking show.
But forget all all that educational stuff — I like A.B. Scratch that, I've fallen greatly in love with him (enough to bother creating my funny Valentine in his honour), and therefore I have to stop and poke at his performed gender until my examinations cough up something exciting. If you read this column often enough, you know it's a problem I have.
What I'm repeatedly struck by, however, is how straight he is. He is one great big kinda medium-sized manly man. He can dress up in clever outfits and put on large styrofoam food costumes, saying the occasional slightly swishy thing and being rather metrosexual about his grooming, and yet even I, who sees the world through lavender-coloured glasses, never even thinks to question such a thing.
I am told by those more cooking-savvy than I, however, that not only is there nothing non-manful about the world of professional culinary arts, but that the chef field is one overwhelmingly male. There is a difference between fixing up a nice chicken dish for one's family and getting into the kind of cooking that requires special instruments and spices, and that difference tends to split along gender lines. And really, when I stop to think about it, I realise my image of the fine chef is a man with a stupidly tall hat flipping flaming things in a large specialised pan, not June Cleaver pulling a pot roast from the oven. It may be the traditional lady of the house's job to make sure dinner is ready when everyone gets home, but the hard-core cooking world is already biased towards its secret ingredient: testosterone.
|The man truly is a twelve-year-old boy given a budget, a bunch of cameras, all the food he can cook, and all the gadgetry he needs to cook it with — and, if that weren't enough, a whole bunch of science! Instead of blowing things up in his chemistry set, he makes them edible.|
Yet, as my great love for him will attest, he's a delicate, artistic soul. He plays dress-up every chance he gets, embracing the theatrical aspects of his show with delight. He gets chummy with the (sometimes cross-dressing) men who are his frequent guest friends, letting them sidle up and drop the occasional innuendo without ever blinking. I don't think I've ever seen him in a skirt, but don't doubt that if the dish called for it, he'd don one without thinking twice.
A.B. doesn't just cook, barbeque, and make man-meals like haggis. Oh, no. The man bakes. He does all sorts of fancy things with cake and cookies and icing, wearing aprons and oven mitts, making all the sweet and/or bready goodness there is to be made just like your grandma used to (or may still) make it. This alone, I thought upon my initial viewing of the show, should be more than enough to cast a whole pantryload of aspersions on the man's sexuality.
NEXT TIME, ON OUT-TAKES: Captain Jack, Doctor Who, and Mr. Right; or, Butt Pirates in the Fifty-First-and-a-Halfth Century!
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