I may have fucked up International Women's Day by making a tuna salad that I allowed my husband to eat half of, but don't worry, I left the kitchen in an absolute state and I have big plans to do fuck-all about it.
I have Giada De Laurentiis to thank for this tuna salad. She is one of those good, fun chefs that has been somewhat sidelined as Corny Television Cooking Lady but who in fact is as talented as anyone else, including that guy who wants us to buy his branded Crocs. That guy, of course, is Mario Batali, who wrote the foreword to De Laurentiis' Everyday Italian cookbook, wherein he spends two pages trying to convince everyone that Giada De Laurentiis is A Real Chef, Take It From Me, The Actual Real Chef.
Here's Batali, in the front of her fucking cookbook, writing about the first time he saw de Laurentiis on the Food Network:
"The first thing I noticed was that everything on the screen was beautiful—both the host and the food, which looked delicious and real and natural. Then I noticed that she really knew what she was talking about. And I realized that despite her movie-star looks, Giada isn't on television because she's merely attractive; she's a real Italian girl who can cook."
Giada De Laurentiis appears not to have thrown Mario Batali into the sea upon reading this, because she is a real-life saint. Instead she put this back-handed dudery in the front of her book, probably because men like Mario Batali are still the gatekeepers to Real Chefdom,™ and if there's not a dude with a goofy ponytail assuring everyone that the pretty girl can cook, well, it's off to the bargain bin.
This is how patriarchy works: It devalues femininity as being fundamentally opposed to professional success, the only kind of success that matters. By extension, beauty—which the patriarchy requires all women to perform—is a marker of incapability and frivolity. But this mandatory attractiveness must also be effortless"delicious and real and natural"or else it is fakery, which is worse than ugly, which is the only thing that's worse than too pretty.
While this web of unattainable double-triple-quadruple standards is something all women must navigate at their personal and professional peril, it is literally deadly for many: Trans women, and in particular trans women of color, are murdered for being too feminine, and for not being feminine enough. If you celebrated International Women's Day with this tuna salad or anything else, celebrate trans women of color, too. Do it with your wallet, if you can.
Womanhood is fraught and dangerous. It comes with unrealistic expectations and life-threatening risks. It comes with emotional, physical, economic and social aggressions. It comes with frustrations large and small.
And sometimes it comes with having to have some guy talk about how hot you are before people will eat your food.
This salad is a variation on De Laurentiis' "fresh from the pantry" tuna salad, which is basically "combine canned tuna with other shit that it seems like canned tuna would go with." Here, I have specified the things the tuna should go with.
2 cans of tuna in olive oil (OLIVE OIL—YOU HEAR ME??? Tuna in vegetable oil will get you the kind of tuna salad that Mike Pence probably likes, and that is no tuna salad with which to fuck up the patriarchy.)
1 can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
half a red onion, thinly sliced
1 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
1 bunch of kale
fistful of fresh dill, chopped
hearty drizzle of olive oil
hearty splash of red wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
Combine everything and eat it, maybe with crackers.
Resistance Kitchen is a blog about food, age and politics at resistancekitchen.tumblr.com. Andrea Grimes is a journalist for hire, Bloody Mary expert, and Texpat living in the Bay Area.