A couple months back in Splinter, Natalie Shure, published a primer on the relationship between food and labour, introduced through an account of the Black Panthers’ food programs. “The Revolution Will Be Cooked” is a good introduction to thinking about food and the work that surrounds it with more clarity.
To better understand the labor of cooking, it helps to understand its relationship to labor. In Marxist parlance, care work like feeding, childrearing and elder care are all elements of social reproduction, or the process by which society cranks out and sustains workers, who subsequently can’t survive without selling their labor to capital. That means that most of us have to fit all of our living around work. At best, this is a tricky balancing act; at worst it is nearly impossible. Having a wage-earning partner or family member with whom to split social reproduction can help, but the poorer, more stressed out, or more more precarious someone is, the more their care work suffers. If cutting labor costs enriches bosses, it forces workers to make do with even fewer resources to sustain stable lives and families.The Revolution Will Be Cooked