A budding gourmet

1974, 17:14 min, b&w, sound

In A Budding Gourmet, Rosler explores the ideological processes through which food preparation comes to be seen as "cuisine," a product of national culture. Accompanied by the strains of a violin concerto, Rosler's deadpan narrator explains her reasons for wanting to become a gourmet. Photographs from food and travel magazines alternate as Rosler's narrator discusses food as a key to refinement, breeding, and, in the case of "Eastern" cuisines, spirituality. For her, cooking is a way of accumulating and demonstrating cultural capital, whether it is the haughty elegance of a France she's never visited, or the fiery exoticism of a Brazil from which she's just returned and is now "hers" to share with her friends. Rosler illuminates how the concept of the gourmet is bound up with notions of class, as well how the kitchen, traditionally seen as the woman's sphere of power, is used to cultivate mastery over other cultures, just as surely as is the "male" sphere of politics. Rosler was to continue exploring this theme in The East is Red, The West is Bending (1975).