The kitchen space has often been read as the ultimate arena for women’s manifold repression, discomfiture, and gendered labour. This article aims to evaluate the nature of the kitchen space through the analysis of movies, which give a significant amount of visibility to the kitchen space. The arguments investigated in this article are laid out in two ways: one, to re-assess the stereotypical notions about the mundane space as prevalent in the literature, and two, to problematise the space and understand it from multiple perspectives and dimensions. We consider these two arguments while conducting a textual analysis and thematic network analysis of two movies, Julie and Julia (2009) and The Lunchbox (2013) for such an assessment, because of the many facets of the kitchen space that are underlined in their narratives. We evaluate the twin concepts of emancipation and emasculation visible in kitchen or food work through Abarca’s “culinary epistemology”. The difference between how the three women protagonists “do gender” is another important point that we put into perspective. Zimmerman and West identified “doing gender” as performing work based on the social script. Care work primarily work in the kitchen can therefore be categorised as gendered since it is bound by societal norms. Both the movies deal at large with female protagonists (identified by me as “Gastronome Women”), their interactions with the kitchen space, and the gendered work that does not always tantamount to drudgery that they perform in their respective social positions. The movies also analyse the role of men as willing participants and agencies that help women achieve, instead of throttling their desires. This study also aims to understand the nature of the relationship that women share with the kitchen space and the difference of gendered performance in each of these women. The kitchen space has multiple connotations: this article aims to ameliorate them without dictating a singular, unilinear view.

Note on the Author

Kashyapi Ghosh is a PhD scholar at the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, IIT Tirupati, working in the area of gender studies. For her doctoral thesis, she is looking at the changing dynamics of the kitchen space through visual culture. She can be reached at hs18d504@iittp.ac.in ; Dr. V. Vamshi Krishna Reddy is working as an assistant professor at the Centre for Comparative Literature, School of Humanities, University of Hyderabad. His major field of interests are Cultural Studies, Film Studies and Critical Theory. He can be reached at vamshi.vemireddy@uohyd.ac.in,