The Power of Cooking in Heels (part 1- a little history)
You’ll be cooking on all burners!
We usually think of heels as fashion for going out. But given their immense seductive power (studies prove it), and the fact that food and cooking at home is so pervasive in today’s society, it’s time to forge a new frontier for the high heel: the kitchen!
The stiletto heel got its name from the knife for it’s spikey shape, the clicking sound it makes when walking and the fact that it became the ultimate ‘man killer’. Why not make it an essential part of your culinary arsenal for creating gastronomic temptation. Or as I like to call it, gastro-eroticism.
The history of the high heel goes from practical to provocative over the centuries. From raised platforms, known as chopines (right), which elevated the elite above the muck of the streets to becoming the physical expression of their status, the heel remained in the province of the upper class for much of its history. In fact, when the high heel returned to fashion in the final decades of the 19th century from a hiatus after the French Revolution, its allure was so potent that a person with status or wealth became referred to as "well-heeled."
As the design of the heel changed from raised platforms to a raised heel with the advent of new technology in the 1500’s, it began to transform the female figure making it more alluring by pushing the breasts forward and the rump upward and outward. It combined power and stature with the vulnerability of thwarted movement, transforming a woman from attractive to desirable. As Marilyn Monroe said, “I don't know who invented high heels, but all women owe him a lot.”
It is interesting to note that until the French Revolution, men also wore heels, most notably in the court of Louis XIV where the ‘talon rouge’ (red heel) was sported by those in the court’s favor. It does beg some questions, however, it would seem Louis XIV was the Louboutin of his day!
Raised footwear was also adopted by courtesans and ‘femmes de la nuit’. Like the renaissance’s art pairing prostitutes with chopines, artists like Manet and Lautrec immortalized showgirls and models who gave an unobstructed view of their footwear. Their art frimly established the connection between heels and sex.
It was finally in WWII when footwear manufacturers succeeded in inserting a stabilizing steel rod into the heel that the stiletto was born. By further exaggerating the female form, it created tantalizing visual impact. And of course we know, men respond well to visual stimulation.
The high heel symbolizes a combination of complex contradictions: empowerment, vulnerability, sexual allure, femininity, subversion, fetishism. The irony is that to experience great pleasure is to submit to it. However, the choice to submit should be made only by the individual. It is in this context that I see the high heel, especially the stiletto, as an essential kitchen tool when it comes to erotic and seductive cooking. It's practical-ly provocative.
To be continued… part 2 next week.