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What's in the Box?
Everybody eats, but the task of acquiring, preserving, and preparing food has changed throughout time. One constant has been the role of women as the primary cooks and caretakers in home life.
Early peoples shared many domestic duties, but women played a central role in collecting, preparing, and cooking food for the entire village.
Early Californians found both genders working on ranches and in fields, but women also managed the household cooking, cleaning, and child rearing.
The early 1900s brought new cooking conveniences and lifestyle changes. Men went to work in factories and mass production of goods developed. Women’s roles shifted into the domestic icon of the American Housewife which was idolized in magazines.
As the modern age advanced, women’s liberation allowed women enter the work force, all while retaining caretaker responsibilities.
Today, many households contain two working parents and the balance of domestic roles is shifting towards a more shared partnership. Though, statistically, women remain the leader in food shopping, cooking, cleaning, and child care.
Key Ingredients explores how the domestic roles of women have transformed from the Ohlone to the present day. Through the use of personal narratives the exhibit explores how Californians have acquired, preserved, and cooked food throughout the decades.