2/27/14

On Kitchen Witchery.

Southern Fried Witch had a blog post that a friend of mine linked to on FB. I read it and at first I was amused. But something about it troubled me. As I read it again, that unsettled feeling deepened and then I realized I was starting to get angry. I've been thinking about it and I think I figured out just what about this makes me angry. It's two things here.

The first is the implication that if you use anything other then what great-gramma did, you're not a real kitchen witch. Boxed dinner and kitchen appliances are forbidden from the menu of a real kitchen witch, if you go by what this person has posted. I suppose it makes everything better by how they prefaced this with 'in our tradition' but I'm still hopping mad.

Great-gramma would look at you as though you've lost your bleeding mind if decided to forgo the use of a crock pot. She would be ready to either laugh you out the door or possibly whup you with that wooden spoon you're so fond of if you tried to say that time saving devices like a breadmaker were bad. She might agree with you on the boxed dinner front but this other business, she would be mad at you for being a fool.

It's nice and such that Southern Fried Witch won't stoop to buying chicken stock. It's real nice that they even raise their own chickens and I assume slaughter them as well. Who knows, maybe they even use the pinfeathers to make their own pillows. That's neither here nor there. Products like chicken stock don't make you less of a kitchen witch. Boxed dinners don't either.

You go back about a hundred years and you'll find that those people that Southern Fried Witch are holding up as the gold standard of domesticity (and therefore of proper kitchen witch behavior) would have considered giving their eye teeth for the technology and conveniences we have today. We live in an age where we're blessed with things like microwaves and refrigerators. Our stoves are vastly superior to the ovens of the past and not just on the basis of how quickly they heat up. They're a lot safer.

When was the last time you heard of somebody catching on fire while cooking dinner? It's not that common. It's actually really uncommon. There's a reason for that. Modern technology is a lot safer then what was used in the 'good ol' days'. You don't need to stick your hand in the oven to check if it is hot enough for your baking. You don't have to question if your food is going to spoil before you get to use it on the off chance that a hot day makes the ice in the icebox melt faster.

And let's not forget the wonders that we have outside of the kitchen. Want to get those fabrics nice and white? Well, you can either bleach them out in the sun which takes a lot of time or use bleach. What about cleaning up the home? That right there can be a major act of magic. Vacuum cleaners are wonderful things, as are laundry machines and dryers. Do you want to give those up or sneer at people who stoop to using those devices because they're not 'real' enough for you?

For some kitchen witches, there isn't the time to make that homemade chicken stock. Some of us have small children and tight schedules that require we use those newfangled modern things that Southern Fried Witch would look down their nose at us for. It doesn't make us inferior. It just means that we have different lives and different constraints we're working in. What Southern Fried Witch fails to recognize is the privilege that they have in being able to raise their own chickens and cook lots of stuff from scratch.

It is not as easy as they make it sound to own chickens and mind the house. I grew up in a home that we did that sort of stuff. Lots of people don't live where they have the luxury of being able to own a pet, let alone some sort of livestock, like chickens. It's not because they are lazy. In some cases, it is because that's what they have to do to afford where they live. In some cases, it is because they don't have the means to support a pet or the knowledge to even keep fairly simple (in the grand scheme of things) livestock like chickens. Southern Fried Witch is casting stones at people that they have no grounds to do so because they don't know what those people are living with.

And that is shameful. I'm pretty sure that great-gramma would pin Southern Fried Witch's ears back for that. By the way, speaking of shameful, the fact that Southern Fried Witch tacks on at the end of their post that they've put out a book followed by a backhanded insult to the people who would read said book is repulsive. When you spend a full blog post talking about how people who depend upon books for their knowledge basis are inferior kitchen witches (or inferior witches at large), you give up the right to advertise and solicit customers for your book. You don't piss on your readers and then expect them to step up and shell out their hard earned cash. It doesn't work that way.

I am beyond disgusted. I am beyond disappointed. I will confess, I am damn near livid over this. I hadn't heard of Southern Fried Witch before now. If I had stumbled on to the blog before now and never seen this garbage, I'd probably read the blog and even look for new interesting recipes. This, however, is something that I can't condone.

I am a family tradition based kitchen witch. One of the things that my tradition taught me was you catch more flies with honey then you do vinegar. Treat the readers with respect. If you can't walk a mile in somebody else's shoes then at least give them the benefit of a doubt until they have proven otherwise. Last time I checked, the culture of the South encouraged a measure of civility and grace. Southern Fried Witch failed to exhibit that. This Yankee is pointing that out and encouraging everybody else to give them wide berth. 

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