This turns out to be the enduring source of the pleasure I find in the kitchen. It’s the one that was there from the start: the connection to my mother who not only fed her children well but taught me how to feed my own just the way her mother had taught her. In his great work, James Beard somewhat radically positioned himself as the heir and celebrant of a long line of American woman cooks, from Miss Leslie to Fannie Farmer to his own mother, and there must have been something in this unexpected male affirmation of female inheritance that registered with me.
That tumultuous era, and the new conditions of family life it imposed, obliged me to try to be like [my mother] in some measure. I’m lucky that it also permitted me to feel it was all right to want to be, even though I was a boy.
Michael Chabon, Manhood For Amateurs