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“Making Sophisticated Lemonade out of Lemons”: Gender and Race in Organizing Everyday Culinary Practices

Abstract

This article aims to understand the organization of everyday life from the dynamics of gendering and racialization of cooking/eating practices engendered by ordinary managers. To do so, we problematize organization in a procedural and micropolitical ontology that allows to highlight how everyday cracks cross and give rise to practical rearticulations of a tactical and strategic nature. Narratives from ordinary black managers were captured and analyzed using the dialogic narrative technique, in the search for articulating the participating subjects’ voices with those of the authors of the text, the adopted theoretical framework and the readership. Our findings unveil the kitchen as a central organizational space for understanding these ordinary practices (although sometimes invisibilized and silenced), in heterogeneous processes of apprehension of culinary know-how, as well as in dynamic tactical and strategic articulations for survival purposes. Due to the moment in which the field research took place, the narratives describe these articulations amid the impacts caused by the covid-19 pandemic on the daily lives of the managers researched. Empirically, this study contributes by showing the heterogeneity in the organization of practices that constitute ordinary management, and which, in the context of a pandemic, produced narratives that differ from a hegemonic narrative of rupture, but which nevertheless impact on everyday life and give rise to reconfigurations. Theoretically, we contribute by showing how practices articulate apparently opposing repertoires such as private and public, sociability and business in everyday life. We have therefore advanced in understanding the organization of practices as constituents of ordinary management, in particular, from the crossings produced by the categories of race and gender that engender survival tactics and strategies.

Keywords:
practices; everyday life; organizing; black women; ordinary management.

Resumo

Este artigo objetiva compreender o organizar do cotidiano a partir das dinâmicas de generificação e racialização das práticas do cozinhar/comer engendradas por gestoras ordinárias. Para isso, problematizamos o organizar numa ontologia processual e micropolítica que permite evidenciar como fissuras do cotidiano atravessam e ensejam rearticulações práticas de cunho tático e estratégico. Foram captadas narrativas de gestoras ordinárias negras, analisadas com a técnica dialógica narrativa, na busca por articular as vozes das sujeitas participantes às das autoras do texto, do referencial teórico adotado e do leitorado. Nossos achados desvelam a cozinha como espaço organizativo central para compreensão dessas práticas ordinárias (ainda que por vezes invisibilizadas e silenciadas), em processos heterogêneos de apreensão do saber-fazer culinário, bem como em dinâmicas articulações táticas e estratégicas para fins de sobrevivências. Devido ao momento em que a pesquisa de campo se deu, as narrativas descrevem essas articulações em meio aos impactos causados pela pandemia de covid-19 no cotidiano das gestoras pesquisadas. Empiricamente, esse estudo contribui ao mostrar a heterogeneidade no organizar das práticas que constituem a gestão ordinária, e que, no contexto de uma pandemia, produziram narrativas que destoam de uma narrativa hegemônica de ruptura, mas que, ainda assim, impactam o cotidiano e ensejam reconfigurações. Teoricamente, contribuímos ao mostrar como as práticas articulam no cotidiano repertórios aparentemente opostos como privado e público, sociabilidade e negócio. Avançamos, portanto, na compreensão do organizar das práticas como constituintes da gestão ordinária, em especial, a partir dos atravessamentos produzidos pelas categorias raça e gênero que engendram táticas e estratégias de sobrevivência.

Palavras-chave:
práticas; cotidiano; organizar; mulheres negras; gestão ordinária.

“Back in college they got angry at me”: introduction

At the [gastronomy] college they got angry at me. As they said the name [of the French cuisine dish] I said: “oh, I’ve made that so often at home, that’s how it is, that’s how I learned it from my grandmother” [...]. (Carolina, 2021)

The excerpt in the epigraph above, which also sets the tone for the introductory topic of this article, is part of the speech of one of the interlocutors of this research. In it, the interviewee plays with the usual construction we make by opposing what Luce Giard (2002)Giard, L. (2002). Cozinhar. In M. De Certeau, L. Giard, & P. Mayol (Orgs.), A invenção do cotidiano 2: morar, cozinhar (4a ed.) (pp. 211-298). Petrópolis, RJ: Vozes. would call the “primordial element” of culinary practices in relation to their “most despicable element”. On the one hand, the noble role of nourishing, creating, allowing savoring, generally intended for the most distinguished chefs of an Europeanized cuisine; on the other, care activities considered monotonous, repetitive and dull, designed for gendered, racialized and often poorly paid (or unpaid) people. In the researcher's speech, the practice of French gastronomy is confused and subverted, destabilized from its place of power by the practice of family and domestic cooking.

Culinary practices are social practices situated in everyday life (Certeau, 1998Certeau, M. De. (1998). A Invenção do cotidiano. Petrópolis, RJ: Vozes.; Gherardi, 2009bGherardi, S. (2009b). Practice it’s a Matter of Taste! Management Learning, 40(5), 535-550. doi:10.1177/1350507609340812
https://doi.org/10.1177/1350507609340812...
), made up of the cooking/eating binomial, which carry with them affective memory, creative ingenuity, intelligence and sensory receptivity (Giard, 2002Giard, L. (2002). Cozinhar. In M. De Certeau, L. Giard, & P. Mayol (Orgs.), A invenção do cotidiano 2: morar, cozinhar (4a ed.) (pp. 211-298). Petrópolis, RJ: Vozes.). Since culinary practices are forged in everyday life, we consider them and their practitioners as ordinary subjects, ordinary people who practice cooking/eating are endowed with popular knowledge and are immersed in the social and cultural entanglements that make up everyday life (Carrieri et al ., 2014Carrieri, A. de P., Perdigão, D. A., & Aguiar, A. R. C. (2014). A gestão ordinária dos pequenos negócios: outro olhar sobre a gestão em estudos organizacionais. Revista de Administração, 49(4), 698-713. doi:10.5700/rausp1178
https://doi.org/10.5700/rausp1178...
; Certeau et al., 2002Certeau, M. De, Giard, L., & Mayol, P. (2002). A invenção do cotidiano 2: morar, cozinhar (4a ed.). Petrópolis, RJ: Vozes.).

In Brazilian Organizational Studies (EOB), cooking and eating have been investigated and discussed under the approach of aesthetics (Ipiranga et al., 2016Ipiranga, A. S. R., Lopes, L. L. S., & Souza, E. M. de. (2016). A experiência estética nas práticas culinárias de uma organização gastronômica. Organizações & Sociedade, 23(77), 191-210. doi:10.1590/1984-9230771
https://doi.org/10.1590/1984-9230771...
; L. C. Soares & Bispo, 2017Soares, L. C., & Bispo, M. de S. (2017). A aprendizagem do cozinhar à luz das práticas sociais e da estética organizacional. Brazilian Business Review, 14(2), 247-271. doi:10.15728/bbr.2017.14.2.6
https://doi.org/10.15728/bbr.2017.14.2.6...
) or the territoriality of the kitchen (Pena & Saraiva, 2017Pena, F. G., & Saraiva, L. A. S. (2017). Territórios da cozinha sob a ótica de empregadas domésticas. Revista de Gestao Social e Ambiental, 11, 91-106. doi:10.24857/rgsa.v0i0.1382
https://doi.org/10.24857/rgsa.v0i0.1382...
), among others; however, there is no evidence of work that addresses these practices in an intertwined manner. This discussion reveals an important relationship between cooking/eating practices and the political microdynamics of everyday life (Rocha, 2018Rocha, C. C. da. (2018). Comer na mesma panela: agência das mulheres indígenas na sociopolítica Tupinambá. Tessituras, 6(2), 230-256.), in addition to highlighting them as identity markers (Matthes & Silva, 2017Matthes, D., & Silva, M. C. G. (2017). Território , identidade e culinária: a tradição de comer Cuca ( Kuchen ) no médio Vale do Itajaí. Artigo apresentado no XVII Enanpur, São Paulo, SP.).

We based ourselves on such practices to focus on the dynamics of gendering and racialization in the organization of the daily lives of ordinary managers whose businesses are based on activities related to food. These axes emerge as fundamental in a patriarchal, class and racist society like Brazil, in which everyday culinary practices, considered less prestigious, without imagination and creativity, are commonly associated with women, often domestic workers (paid or unpaid), and often black. We therefore adopt race and gender as categories that inform each other and that are relationally, socially and politically constituted, so that we can analyze everyday phenomena demarcated by structuring inequalities (E. B. da Conceição, 2009Conceição, E. B. (2009). A negação da raça nos estudos organizacionais. Anais do Encontro Nacional da Associação Nacional de Pós-Graduação e Pesquisa em Administração, São Paulo,; Teixeira et al., 2020Teixeira, J. C., Oliveira, J. S. de, & Carrieri, A. de P. (2020). Por que falar sobre raça nos estudos organizacionais no Brasil? Da discussão biológica à dimensão política. Revista Perspectivas Contemporâneas, 15(1), 46-70, 1980-0193.).

Thus, this article aims to understand the organization of everyday life based on the dynamics of gendering and racialization of cooking/eating practices engendered by ordinary managers. To this end, we articulate a procedural conception of organizing (Duarte & Alcadipani, 2016Duarte, M. de F., & Alcadipani, R. (2016). Contribuições do organizar (organizing) para os estudos organizacionais. Organizações & Sociedade, 23(76), 57-72. doi:10.1590/1984-9230763
https://doi.org/10.1590/1984-9230763...
; Gherardi, 2009aGherardi, S. (2009a). Introduction: The Critical Power of the 'Practice Lens'. Management Learning, 40(2), 115-128. doi:10.1177/1350507608101225
https://doi.org/10.1177/1350507608101225...
) with an analytical focus on the daily lives of ordinary people who work and manage their businesses using ways of doing things, weaving together the organization of enterprises, the uses and meanings of domestic spaces (which mix home and work) and survival strategies (Carrieri et al., 2014Carrieri, A. de P., Perdigão, D. A., & Aguiar, A. R. C. (2014). A gestão ordinária dos pequenos negócios: outro olhar sobre a gestão em estudos organizacionais. Revista de Administração, 49(4), 698-713. doi:10.5700/rausp1178
https://doi.org/10.5700/rausp1178...
). We then discuss, from a micropolitical perspective, the articulations and appropriations that stabilize and destabilize, in everyday life, places and spaces of power (Certeau, 1998Certeau, M. De. (1998). A Invenção do cotidiano. Petrópolis, RJ: Vozes.), as so well illustrated by the excerpt in the epigraph to this section, which, by destabilizing, can provoke indignation in established spaces, such as college. Inspired by the idea of disruption to everyday life (Leite, 2010Leite, R. P. (2010). A inversão do cotidiano: práticas sociais e rupturas na vida urbana contemporânea. Revista de Ciências Sociais, 53(3), 737-756.), we highlight the cracks from which new counter-use tactics emerge for the survival of the researched subjects.

The data were produced by conducting interviews with seven self-declared black women who, living and owning businesses in poor and peripheral regions of the city, have culinary practices as their main sources of income. Data processing was carried out with the support of dialogic narrative analysis (Riessman, 2008Riessman, C. K. (2008). Dialogic/Performance Analysis and Visual Analysis. In L. C. Shaw & V. Knight (Orgs.), Narrative Methods for the Human Sciences (pp. 151-258). Los Angeles: SAGE.), putting into dialogue not only theory and data, but also authorship and readership. The interviews, carried out amid the Covid-19 pandemic, allowed adding an extra layer of complexity to the research both in methodological terms (due to the requirements during a period of social isolation) and in the research itself (as the findings showed rearticulations related to what we could call a “pandemic daily life”). We found, in different fields, factors aggravating the inequalities that motivated organizational reconfigurations of culinary practices for the maintenance and survival of businesses.

The research contributes, in this sense, by producing: (1) an analysis of cooking and eating as intertwined practices that organize everyday life; (2) reflections that consider the analytical categories of gender and race as markers of identity, difference, inequality, belonging and affection in organizations (E. B. da Conceição, 2009Conceição, E. B. (2009). A negação da raça nos estudos organizacionais. Anais do Encontro Nacional da Associação Nacional de Pós-Graduação e Pesquisa em Administração, São Paulo,; Mesquita et al., 2020Mesquita, J. S., Teixeira, J. C., & Silva, C. R. (2020). “Cabelo (crespo e cacheado) pro alto, me levando a saltos” em meio à ressignificação das identidades de mulheres negras em contextos sociais e organizacionais. Revista Eletrônica de Ciência Administrativa, 19(2), 227-256. doi: 10.21529/RECADM.2020010
https://doi.org/10.21529/RECADM.2020010...
; Teixeira et al., 2015Teixeira, J. C., Saraiva, L. A. S., & Carrieri, A. de P. (2015). Os lugares das empregadas domésticas. Organizações & Sociedade, 22(72), 161-178. doi:10.1590/1984-9230728
https://doi.org/10.1590/1984-9230728...
, 2019Teixeira, J. C., Oliveira, J. S. de, & Mesquita, J. S. (2019). Pode a interseccionalidade ser afrocentrada no campo da administração? Um ensaio teórico sobre as contribuições da teoria interseccional para a área de administração. Artigo apresentado no X Encontro de Estudos Organizacionais da Anpad, Fortaleza, Ceará., 2020); and (3) responses to provocations present in the EOB about the importance of questioning hegemonic views and developing research that is closer to the popular and values the knowledge constructed on a daily basis (Carrieri & Correia, 2020Carrieri, A. de P., & Correia, G. F. A. (2020). Estudos organizacionais no Brasil: construindo acesso ou replicando exclusão? Revista de Administração de Empresas, 60(1), 59-63. doi:10.1590/s0034-759020200107
https://doi.org/10.1590/s0034-7590202001...
; Gouvêa et al., 2018Gouvêa, J. B., Cabana, R. del P. L., & Ichikawa, E. Y. (2018). As histórias e o cotidiano das organizações: uma possibilidade de dar ouvidos àqueles que o discurso hegemônico cala. FAROL - Revista de Estudos Organizacionais e Sociedade, 5(12), 297-347, 2358-6311.). Finally, we also contribute to the production of a narrative about a “pandemic daily life” which, in a certain way, allows us to challenge some hegemonic narratives.

Therefore, the relevance of this research consists in highlighting a predominantly female territory in their daily lives, invisibilized and subjugated (Giard, 2002Giard, L. (2002). Cozinhar. In M. De Certeau, L. Giard, & P. Mayol (Orgs.), A invenção do cotidiano 2: morar, cozinhar (4a ed.) (pp. 211-298). Petrópolis, RJ: Vozes.; Pena & Saraiva, 2017Pena, F. G., & Saraiva, L. A. S. (2017). Territórios da cozinha sob a ótica de empregadas domésticas. Revista de Gestao Social e Ambiental, 11, 91-106. doi:10.24857/rgsa.v0i0.1382
https://doi.org/10.24857/rgsa.v0i0.1382...
). It is important to listen to the women who cook, as silence was imposed on them and, by creating this crack, we highlight the stories told by the authors themselves. We sought to racialize the discussion because we agree with the authors on the importance of considering race as a constituent element of organizations (Mesquita et al., 2020Mesquita, J. S., Teixeira, J. C., & Silva, C. R. (2020). “Cabelo (crespo e cacheado) pro alto, me levando a saltos” em meio à ressignificação das identidades de mulheres negras em contextos sociais e organizacionais. Revista Eletrônica de Ciência Administrativa, 19(2), 227-256. doi: 10.21529/RECADM.2020010
https://doi.org/10.21529/RECADM.2020010...
; Teixeira et al., 2020Teixeira, J. C., Oliveira, J. S. de, & Carrieri, A. de P. (2020). Por que falar sobre raça nos estudos organizacionais no Brasil? Da discussão biológica à dimensão política. Revista Perspectivas Contemporâneas, 15(1), 46-70, 1980-0193.) and we recognize that academia is still a predominantly masculinized and whitened environment, making it essential to break with hegemonic narratives that result in the silencing and emptying of important social themes (Dar et al., 2020Dar, S., Liu, H., Martinez Dy, A., & Brewis, D. N. (2020). The Business School is Racist: Act up! Organization, 1-12. doi:10.1177/1350508420928521
https://doi.org/10.1177/1350508420928521...
).

Based on these findings, we locate the first author of this article as a cisgender, black and peripheral researcher; and the second author as a cisgender, white, middle-class researcher, both feminists. Seeking to break with the scientific silence that imposes distance and neutrality in the development of research, in addition to situating ourselves, we thereby manifest our intentionality in welcoming works by black female authors, and, in their absence, we always choose to bring women into the discussion. Of course, we do not neglect renowned names from the literature discussed, but we seek to highlight black women, because “[...] it is not that black women can only learn from each other, but because the circumstances of racism, sexism and class exploitation guarantee that other groups are not necessarily interested in encouraging our self-definition (hooks, 2019hooks, B. (2019). Olhares negros: raça e representação. São Paulo, SP: Elefante., p. 121)”. We also highlight, at times, the first name of the authors to give prominence to women who do science, something which is often concealed by the traditional way of referring to the surname.

All of this may strike some of our readers as rather odd. However, we would like to point out that, like our interviewee, who authored the title sentence of this section, we are interested in confusing these boundaries and destabilizing these spaces of (culinary, but also epistemic) power and authority. We believe that this path allows us to produce knowledge in keeping with the different partnerships (in dialogue with the subjects researched, the theorists cited, the reviewers in the editorial process and, now, with the readership) that we propose to continue building along this path. We continue in this movement, even though, as it escapes from some ideals of scientific objectivity and neutrality, it can bring some discomfort - or perhaps even outrage - in relation to the scientific texts that we have become accustomed to in our academic careers - “back in college”, as perhaps our interviewee would say.

“Everything around the table”: the organization of ordinary culinary practices and their articulation with gender and race

We always did everything around the table, right? Yes, I would have breakfast, everyone would be sitting around talking, I would go to lunch, those available were always sitting together to talk [...]. (Sueli, 2021)

The speech of another of our interlocutors inspires us to produce this theoretical reference metaphorically “around the table”. Culinary practices are, therefore, the starting point and center from which the theoretical perspectives with which we dialogue gravitate.

We understand culinary practices, that is, those engendered around the cooking/eating binomial, as activities produced relationally and, therefore, socially sustained and situated, so that practitioners (re)produce, in practices, society (Gherardi, 2009bGherardi, S. (2009b). Practice it’s a Matter of Taste! Management Learning, 40(5), 535-550. doi:10.1177/1350507609340812
https://doi.org/10.1177/1350507609340812...
). By mobilizing the lens of practices in our theoretical articulations, we highlight the procedural character of organizing, emerging from everyday social relations (Duarte & Alcadipani, 2016Duarte, M. de F., & Alcadipani, R. (2016). Contribuições do organizar (organizing) para os estudos organizacionais. Organizações & Sociedade, 23(76), 57-72. doi:10.1590/1984-9230763
https://doi.org/10.1590/1984-9230763...
; Feldman & Orlikowski, 2011Feldman, M. S., & Orlikowski, W. J. (2011). Theorizing Practice and Practicing Theory. Organization Science, 22(5), 1240-1253. doi:10.4337/9781849807630.00024
https://doi.org/10.4337/9781849807630.00...
) and the practices of ordinary managers. These practices are read as complex and plural, entangled in the uses and meanings of domestic spaces and streets (Carrieri et al., 2014Carrieri, A. de P., Perdigão, D. A., & Aguiar, A. R. C. (2014). A gestão ordinária dos pequenos negócios: outro olhar sobre a gestão em estudos organizacionais. Revista de Administração, 49(4), 698-713. doi:10.5700/rausp1178
https://doi.org/10.5700/rausp1178...
), here investigated from the perspective of culinary practices.

It is therefore pertinent to evoke a micropolitical understanding to discuss the organization of culinary practices in these complex imbrications that cross different places of power. It is here that we mobilize Michel de Certeau’s (1998) theorizations about the condition of self (who occupies the place of power and can establish the rules in strategic operations) and of other (in the condition of weak, but who, with cunning and creativity, produces, at opportune moments, tactics capable of breaking the place of self). From this perspective, everyday practices constitute survival tactics and strategies. Thus, in the present research, we focused on the reports of black small business managers, adopting as a starting point the notion that practices reconfigure (survival) experiences, through everyday bricolages (Certeau, 1998Certeau, M. De. (1998). A Invenção do cotidiano. Petrópolis, RJ: Vozes.) carried out by these ordinary subjects. (Carrieri et al., 2014Carrieri, A. de P., Perdigão, D. A., & Aguiar, A. R. C. (2014). A gestão ordinária dos pequenos negócios: outro olhar sobre a gestão em estudos organizacionais. Revista de Administração, 49(4), 698-713. doi:10.5700/rausp1178
https://doi.org/10.5700/rausp1178...
).

Daily culinary practices have already been the object of analysis in the EOB from other theoretical approaches (Ipiranga et al., 2016Ipiranga, A. S. R., Lopes, L. L. S., & Souza, E. M. de. (2016). A experiência estética nas práticas culinárias de uma organização gastronômica. Organizações & Sociedade, 23(77), 191-210. doi:10.1590/1984-9230771
https://doi.org/10.1590/1984-9230771...
; L. C. Soares & Bispo, 2017Soares, L. C., & Bispo, M. de S. (2017). A aprendizagem do cozinhar à luz das práticas sociais e da estética organizacional. Brazilian Business Review, 14(2), 247-271. doi:10.15728/bbr.2017.14.2.6
https://doi.org/10.15728/bbr.2017.14.2.6...
; Pena & Saraiva, 2017Pena, F. G., & Saraiva, L. A. S. (2017). Territórios da cozinha sob a ótica de empregadas domésticas. Revista de Gestao Social e Ambiental, 11, 91-106. doi:10.24857/rgsa.v0i0.1382
https://doi.org/10.24857/rgsa.v0i0.1382...
), but in our study we highlight that, hegemonically, culinary practices are inserted into everyday life in two ways: as a primordial element and as the most despicable (Giard, 2002Giard, L. (2002). Cozinhar. In M. De Certeau, L. Giard, & P. Mayol (Orgs.), A invenção do cotidiano 2: morar, cozinhar (4a ed.) (pp. 211-298). Petrópolis, RJ: Vozes.), something even more evident in a society forged in patriarchy, slavery and colonialism, such as Brazil. This is because, as we discussed in the introduction, these are practices that are, on the one hand, signified as primordial, through the exaltation of the role of nurturing others; however, on the other hand, they are perceived as negligible care practices, often seen as monotonous, repetitive and dull (Giard, 2002Giard, L. (2002). Cozinhar. In M. De Certeau, L. Giard, & P. Mayol (Orgs.), A invenção do cotidiano 2: morar, cozinhar (4a ed.) (pp. 211-298). Petrópolis, RJ: Vozes.), not by chance, practices that are often gendered and racialized. This means that, on women (often black women) falls the task of cooking not only for themselves, but for others; and it is in this context that the pejorative and oppressive nature is imparted on this female subject, who is socially viewed as ideal for carrying out domestic and caring activities, especially if she is dark-skinned (Teixeira et al., 2015Teixeira, J. C., Saraiva, L. A. S., & Carrieri, A. de P. (2015). Os lugares das empregadas domésticas. Organizações & Sociedade, 22(72), 161-178. doi:10.1590/1984-9230728
https://doi.org/10.1590/1984-9230728...
).

Considering culinary practices as socially situated, cooking is culturalized, giving evidence of an understanding that there may be a food hierarchy that corroborates the social hierarchy (Giard, 2002Giard, L. (2002). Cozinhar. In M. De Certeau, L. Giard, & P. Mayol (Orgs.), A invenção do cotidiano 2: morar, cozinhar (4a ed.) (pp. 211-298). Petrópolis, RJ: Vozes.). When we put this perspective into dialogue with the theories of black feminism, we understand that the investigation of the culinary practices carried out by black women, who live in a historical process of impoverishment, is an opportunity to advance this discussion about culinary hierarchization and social hierarchy. This phenomenon is reflected in the social imaginary, as demonstrated in the research carried out by Felipe Pena and Luiz Alex Saraiva (2017), in which domestic workers made positive associations with images of white people in the kitchen and negative ones with black people, showing that, even among their peers, a black person occupying the space as a chef is still out of step with reality. The kitchen then becomes a silent and invisible terrain for women, especially black women, especially impoverished and peripheral women.

Black women living in Brazil update their tactics every day for their survival and that of their loved ones, historically occupying a central role in small urban businesses. In the ancestral figure of the women earners, for example, commercial practices of enslaved or free women are recalled who used the money from sales to pay their masters, to ensure their own livelihood or to buy letters of manumission for those still enslaved (C. M. Soares, 2005Soares, C. M. (2005). Mulher negra na Bahia no século XIX (Dissertação de Mestrado). Universidade Federal da Bahia, Salvador, BA.). It is in urban centers, therefore, that formerly enslaved people and their descendants managed, and still manage, to achieve greater conditions of survival, especially black women, who transformed the streets into permissible spaces for symbolic exchanges, such as affection and encouragement of resistance, and material ones, such as washing and ironing clothes and food commerce (J. S. Conceição, 2015Conceição, J. S. (2015). Mulher negra: religião, trabalho e organização social. Informe Econômico, 1(34), 92-98.), generating and accumulating some income so that they could initially inhabit the slum tenements, at the time located in urban centers, and then move to neighborhoods further away from downtown, starting with the urban hygiene processes undertaken in the 20th century (Costa, 1999Costa, E. V. da. (1999). Urbanização no Brasil no século XIX.Da Monarquia à República: momentos decisivos (6a ed.) (pp. 233-269). São Paulo, SP: Unesp.).

We thus highlight the analytical inseparability between gender, race and class, revealing the complexity with which systems of oppression are constituted (hooks, 2019hooks, B. (2019). Olhares negros: raça e representação. São Paulo, SP: Elefante.; Kilomba, 2019Kilomba, G. (2019). Memórias da plantação: episódios de racismo cotidiano. Cobogó.). For bell hooks1 1 bell hooks is a pseudonym used by the author, inspired by her maternal great-grandmother. In this work, we intentionally chose to respect the author's wishes rather than the formal rules of citation and reference, since hooks prefers citations to be made in lowercase letters, in order to establish a focus on the content of her writing and not on the individual, while also allowing freedom from a single particular identity and remaining in constant movement and transformation. (2019, 2020), black women suffer from sexism and racism simultaneously and regardless of the social position they occupy, and even when they enjoy a high social status, black women continue to be denied access and silenced. In this sense, black women are seen, represented and interpreted as subordinate (hooks, 2019hooks, B. (2019). Olhares negros: raça e representação. São Paulo, SP: Elefante.) and, when they occupy leadership positions, they are always compared to men or read as aggressive, arrogant and authoritarian. In other words, black women are not given any adjectives; there are no exalted qualities in these women and no affection that belongs to them.

In Brazil, theorization based on the experiences of black women presents some similarities to the situation referenced in the U.S. context. The Brazilian black feminist movement, for example, points out that, despite playing fundamental roles that culminated in strategies on how to survive in adverse conditions, black women have a socio-historical condition of vulnerability and invisibility. In this condition, as a result of the enslavement process, such women were reduced to a state of objectification, being denied their condition as a human being, a woman, a political subject, making their image increasingly stereotypical (Carneiro, 2003Carneiro, S. (2003). Enegrecer o feminismo: a situação da mulher negra na América Latina a partir de uma perspectiva de gênero. Racismos Contemporâneos, 49, 49-58.).

This scenario certainly worsens in times of social crisis, such as what occurred during the Covid-19 pandemic. Elaine Swan (2020) demonstrated that women, especially black women, are responsible for keeping the wheel of capitalism turning, even during a pandemic. In line with the study by Elaine Swan (2020), Nilma Lino Gomes (2020) showed that black women were the most affected in the pandemic with loss of income, as the predominance of this group in jobs was related to the service sector (housemaid, manicurist, hairdresser, caregiver, nursing technician, waitress, cook, etc.). The analytical consideration of gender (whether cis, trans, white, black and indigenous women) demonstrates a negative effect of the pandemic on women’s lives, in which they are more often fired and/or have work contracts revised with reduced and even suspended salaries, in addition to being more burdened with home office and domestic tasks (IPEFEM, 2020IPEFEM, I. de P. e E. do F. (2020). Impactos emocionais, comportamentais e práticos da covid-19 na vida das pessoas. São Paulo, SP: Instituto de Pesquisa e Estudos do Feminino.).

In view of what has been presented so far, when we propose to investigate cooking and eating using racial and gender lenses, we bring academia closer to discussions that permeate not only the daily lives of these women, but also that of the first author of this article herself, in a constant search to transgress hegemonic narratives and methodologies, which often end up neglecting popular knowledge and locating marginalized groups as mere objects of research. Understanding which systems of oppression permeate the experiences of black women, in dialogue with theorizations of black feminism, is key in this text, as it allowed us to problematize the dynamics of racialization and gendering of culinary practices. We thereby can bring visibility to the conditions of hierarchy, as well as enable reflection on the tactical productions and survival strategies of our interlocutors.

In this sense, we highlight here our micropolitical focus on the cracks of everyday life that cross practices. These cracks, the disturbances of everyday life, are manifested by tactics that subvert the strategies put in place by the self or by the counter-uses of spaces by practices (Leite, 2010Leite, R. P. (2010). A inversão do cotidiano: práticas sociais e rupturas na vida urbana contemporânea. Revista de Ciências Sociais, 53(3), 737-756.). These disturbances cause the inversion of everyday life by ordinary subjects, as discussed by Rogério Leite (2010)Leite, R. P. (2010). A inversão do cotidiano: práticas sociais e rupturas na vida urbana contemporânea. Revista de Ciências Sociais, 53(3), 737-756., and it is this phenomenon that allows us, during the research, to focus on revealing the unusual, the extraordinary that composes it, seeking to understand the disturbances by which the subjects are constantly (re)organizing their practices. Therefore, in this research, everyday life is not synonymous with routinization and alienation, but rather, as we will see throughout the text, with cracks and ruptures caused by and in tactics, something that we seek to highlight through our methodological choices, expressed in the next section.

“How is she going to have a black chef? Do you understand?”: production and analysis of narratives in research

We characterize our study as qualitative (Rheinhardt et al., 2018Rheinhardt, A., Kreiner, G. E., Gioia, D. A., & Corley, K. G. (2018). Conducting and Publishing Rigorous Qualitative Research. In C. Cassell, A. L. Cunliffe & G. Grandy (Orgs.), The Sage Handbook of Qualitative Business and Management Research Methods (pp. 515-531) Los Angeles: SAGE.), descriptive and interpretative (Morgan, 2005Morgan, G. (2005). Paradigmas, metáforas e resoluções de quebra-cabeças na teoria das organizações. Revista de Administração de Empresas, 45(1), 58-71.). To achieve the expected objectives, we rely on the production of interpretations of personal narratives, which can be told orally, written or visually (Chase, 2018Chase, S. E. (2018). Narrative inquiry: toward theoretical and methodological maturity. In N. K. Denzin & Y. S. Lincoln (Orgs.), The SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Research (pp. 946-970). London: SAGE.). We use the word stories as presented in the study by Laura Zaccarelli and Arilda Godoy (2014), as we understand that the terminology used by the authors provokes the reflection that, when narratives are used in research in the field of social sciences, one does not necessarily seek the analysis of a supposed veracity, but rather of why and how it is being narrated. A single fact can then be narrated in different ways, depending on the time in which the memories are evoked (Ropo & Höykinpuro, 2017Ropo, A., & Höykinpuro, R. (2017). Narrating Organizational Spaces. Journal of Organizational Change Management, 30(3), 357-366. doi:10.1108/JOCM-10-2016-0208
https://doi.org/10.1108/JOCM-10-2016-020...
).

The subjects of this research are self-declared black women. However, for the initial selection of participants, we used a hetero-identification criterion, in which the first author (who carried out the fieldwork) contacted subjects based on a phenotypic perception, considering characteristics such as skin color, facial features and hair texture, and only then capture their selfidentification. Furthermore, all the informants had culinary practices as their main sources of income, and they lived and owned businesses in poor regions and on the outskirts of large cities. The regions were understood as such through the researcher’s experiences in the field and also through criteria such as: level of State intervention in these regions, indicators of urban infrastructure, violence, health and education. Our focus then turned to ordinary managers operating in the metropolitan region of Vitória, capital of Espírito Santo. This region presents racial and ethnic markers due to the enslavement process in the state, which had Vitória as one of the centers with the highest concentration of enslaved people (Maciel, 2016Maciel, C. (2016). Negros no Espírito Santo (2a ed.). Espírito Santo. Coleção Canaã.). Even today, Vitória ranks second among the Brazilian capitals with the highest rates of socio-spatial segregation (Mariani et al., 2015Mariani, D., Roncolato, M., Tonglet, A., & Ducroquet, S. (2015). O que o mapa racial do Brasil revela sobre a segregação no país. Nexo Jornal. Recuperado de https://www.nexojornal.com.br/especial/2015/12/16/O-que-o-mapa-racial-do-Brasil-revelasobre-a-segregação-no-país
https://www.nexojornal.com.br/especial/2...
).

The starting point in communication with the interlocutors was through shared contacts with the first author. From August 2020 until the first week of July 2021, around 25 women were contacted; between more explicit or silent refusals, only seven women were able and willing to share their stories. From there, we consider that the construction of the narratives in this study took place in two moments: the first, in the first author’s contact with the participants via social networks and subsequent migration of the conversation to an instant messaging application; the second consisted of conducting the interviews properly, which, due to the period of social isolation imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic, were primarily carried out online.

The interviews were conducted based on an open script (Brinkmann, 2018Brinkmann, S. (2018). The Interview (5th ed). In N. K. Denzin & Y. S. Lincoln (Orgs.), The SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Reasearch, 195 (5), (pp. 997-1038). Los Angeles: SAGE. doi:10.1007/s11229-017-1319-x
https://doi.org/10.1007/s11229-017-1319-...
) composed of topics related to the research objectives, in order to ensure that no important point was forgotten in the flow of interaction with those researched. Written notes were produced (Zaccarelli & Godoy, 2014) during the interviews, in which the first author reported elements that caught her attention, such as the presence or absence in oral speech of elements identified as markers of race and gender and her own emotions and impressions when listening and interacting with the stories she was told.

In the interviews, ethical issues were observed (Davel et al., 2019Davel, E. P. B., Fantinel, L. D., & Oliveira, J. S. de. (2019). Etnografia audiovisual: potenciais e desafios na pesquisa organizacional. Organizações & Sociedade, 26(90), 579-606. doi:10.1590/1984-9260909
https://doi.org/10.1590/1984-9260909...
) such as the respondents' consent to audio recording, the respondents' complete freedom to interrupt the interview at any time, explanation of the research intention and the uses of the materials produced, in addition to anonymity of the researched subjects guaranteed by the Informed Consent Form. It is important to point out that this research has approval from the Research Ethics Committee (CEP/UFES) under opinion no. 4,454,199.

The stories were told between the second half of 2020 and the first half of 2021, mostly through a video calling application, with the exception of one, which was conducted in person, taking all appropriate health precautions. The audio of the interviews was transcribed with the help of a bot from an instant messaging application, adjusted and edited in order to maintain the reliability of the written content. To maintain the anonymity of research subjects, we used code names. Table 1 summarizes important information about data production:

Table 1
Characterization of the Subjects Researched

To analyze the reports, the technique of dialogic narrative analysis was used, which consists of embracing the narratives using a co-production logic, understanding that the reports are constructed by situated research subjects (Zaccarelli & Godoy, 2014). Thus, it is possible to understand that the narrators speak from some place and in a specific way to those who listen to them (Riessman, 2008Riessman, C. K. (2008). Dialogic/Performance Analysis and Visual Analysis. In L. C. Shaw & V. Knight (Orgs.), Narrative Methods for the Human Sciences (pp. 151-258). Los Angeles: SAGE.). The use we made of written notes is directly linked to the dialogic approach, precisely because it mobilizes data that goes beyond verbalized elements in a process of coproduction between the subjects (Riessman, 2008Riessman, C. K. (2008). Dialogic/Performance Analysis and Visual Analysis. In L. C. Shaw & V. Knight (Orgs.), Narrative Methods for the Human Sciences (pp. 151-258). Los Angeles: SAGE.).

Consistent with this approach, the moments of data analysis did not occur linearly in relation to the other research procedures; therefore, from the first contact with the women, the analysis process was already underway. Thus, in this research, the narratives were constructed jointly, in the interaction between the researcher in the field and the subjects being researched, and then between the corpus of data and both authors of the text, interactions that are situated and contingent, that is, each one speaking about a different space, supported by different experiences.

In the interviews, the subjects’ affective memories were evoked when they were invited to tell their life stories and relate them to cooking and eating, in a free way, prioritizing co-production. Capturing this type of voluntary report and being questioned while the narrative was produced made us realize the level of connection that the field researcher was able to build with the interviewees. This connection between black people is what Grada Kilomba treats as being composed of small daily actions that represent, in the collectivity, a search to break with the traumas caused by the colonizers; a kind of repair, where people recreate a connection that was forcibly broken in the past (Kilomba, 2019Kilomba, G. (2019). Memórias da plantação: episódios de racismo cotidiano. Cobogó.).

To show how this happened in research practice, we quote the penultimate interview, which inspired us for the title of this section, in which the field researcher and the interviewee became emotional at several moments throughout the conversation lasting just over an hour. A highlight was the moment in which the interviewee emotionally recalled episodes from her childhood when she lived with her grandmother, the person responsible for teaching her how to cook. The interviewer was moved and, while listening to the story, returned to her past through the figure of her own grandmother, who also made Minas Gerais food and taught her most of the preparations she knows how to make today. In this same interview, the field researcher was equally affected when questioned by the interviewee, when narrating an episode of racism, she suffered. The interviewee asked her the following questions, which head this topic and show the dialogic and relational character of narrative production in this research: “But why didn’t she sign my [work record] booklet? Hmm? How is she going to have a black chef? [pause] Do you understand?” (Carolina, 2021). Faced with these questions, the researcher was only able to utter a “yes”, which sounded low and with a melancholic tone as at that moment, she felt uncomfortable and powerless. This type of connection between researcher and researched informs the dialogic dynamics of narrative analysis that allowed, for example, cases of racism to be verbalized spontaneously by two of the interviewees.

From this perspective, the entire process of organizing the results occurred by re-reading each transcription concomitantly with the re-reading of the notes produced during the interviews. It is also pertinent to mention that, during the revisiting of the data, the sensations experienced during the conversations were remembered to convey greater sensitivity to writing when narrating the events.

The choice for the order of presentation of the analysis topics was based on the logic of storytelling (Riessman, 2008Riessman, C. K. (2008). Dialogic/Performance Analysis and Visual Analysis. In L. C. Shaw & V. Knight (Orgs.), Narrative Methods for the Human Sciences (pp. 151-258). Los Angeles: SAGE.). This gave rise to the idea of organizing text topics with striking phrases from the interviewees and related to the theme addressed in each item, which was initially done only in the results topics, but in the manuscript review process it was assumed for the entire text, following a constant suggestion in one of the reviews received. We thus seek to clarify our perceptions and allow the reader to weave their own interpretations, concomitant to ours, thus embracing the dialogic premise between all the parts that make up this text - researchers, researched, readers, theorists, reviewers (Riessman, 2008Riessman, C. K. (2008). Dialogic/Performance Analysis and Visual Analysis. In L. C. Shaw & V. Knight (Orgs.), Narrative Methods for the Human Sciences (pp. 151-258). Los Angeles: SAGE.). Also for this reason, as far as possible, we chose to present longer excerpts from the interviews and situate the narratives in terms of the interlocutors’ personal trajectories, or even aspects in which our sensitivity was affected, of unspoken elements, but perceived in the intersubjectivity built with the subjects.

After presenting the subjects researched and the operationalization of the research, we discuss our findings and respective analyses. We begin by presenting the narratives produced in their relationship with the dynamics of gendering and racialization, and then we move on to the role of culinary practices in (re)organizing survival tactics and strategies in the face of daily disturbances and cracks.

“Every day proving that you are good at what you do”: gender and race in the construction of culinary hierarchies

This topic addresses the first axis of interpretation of the narratives produced in this research. It was structured with the purpose of addressing the relationship between the dynamics of gendering and racialization of culinary practices and the construction of hierarchization between these practices.

The sentence that gives the item its title, said by Carolina, helps us understand the dynamics of inequality in cooking, in a context of formal learning of this know-how. The sentence appears when the interviewee narrates her trajectory in the gastronomy undergraduate course. According to the report, she and her brother were the only black people in the course, among teachers and students:

Yes, you have to prove every day that you are good at what you do. If you make a mistake, everything you did is disregarded. Because I think the issue arises, right? Color influences a lot. [...] And in gastronomy I felt this for the first time. It was the first time I studied at a private school. And there were only two black people [reflective pause] and everyone, everyone had parents who were restaurant owners, worked in the food investment area, others in coffee, a farmer and my brother and I, two black people. [...] At first, it was very difficult, okay? Because they dressed like rich ladies. [...] I was discriminated against for the two years I studied there, I wasn't part of any group, like, private, study group, group to go out to the club, to have fun, I wasn't, because I didn't change my profile, I always believed in what I am, in what I was. I showed them in the kitchen, I cooked well, all the projects they had there, they called me, because I had the ability, and they had to put up with me. It's difficult, okay? [...]. (Carolina, 2021)

The excerpt reveals the cracks and tactics (Certeau, 1998Certeau, M. De. (1998). A Invenção do cotidiano. Petrópolis, RJ: Vozes.; Leite, 2010Leite, R. P. (2010). A inversão do cotidiano: práticas sociais e rupturas na vida urbana contemporânea. Revista de Ciências Sociais, 53(3), 737-756.) exercised daily in the gastronomy course. When recalling episodes of racism she suffered throughout her life, Carolina said that she worked for many years in a renowned party ceremony, where “there were only big guys: judges, high court judges, they were the ones who had parties there”, as she herself describes. In this ceremony, Carolina had her work card signed as a general service provider, despite being a cook and performing other duties, such as welcoming and leading customer tastings. Carolina recalls that the issue of having a formal contract was repeated everywhere she worked, and the highest position she managed to achieve was kitchen assistant in a hotel restaurant. Still, an assistant and not a chef, even though she already has this degree proven.

Carolina’s story draws attention to the elitization of gastronomy and the ways in which cooking is culturalized as a prestigious practice or not. Here, it is important to highlight the processes of food hierarchization in their relationship with social hierarchies (Giard, 2002Giard, L. (2002). Cozinhar. In M. De Certeau, L. Giard, & P. Mayol (Orgs.), A invenção do cotidiano 2: morar, cozinhar (4a ed.) (pp. 211-298). Petrópolis, RJ: Vozes.), which in the case of this study is connected to the social constructions of gender and race, something that is reinforced by social imaginaries that distance black people, for example, from the figure of the chef (Pena & Saraiva, 2017Pena, F. G., & Saraiva, L. A. S. (2017). Territórios da cozinha sob a ótica de empregadas domésticas. Revista de Gestao Social e Ambiental, 11, 91-106. doi:10.24857/rgsa.v0i0.1382
https://doi.org/10.24857/rgsa.v0i0.1382...
).

For women, regardless of their qualifications, the kitchen appears as a silent terrain and becomes invisible depending on their skin tone and ethnic origins. The pejorative and oppressive nature of culinary practices carried out by black women occurs through structures and power relations that materialize in the primary socialization of peripheral black women, which places them in a place of subalternity and objectification of their bodies (Carneiro, 2003Carneiro, S. (2003). Enegrecer o feminismo: a situação da mulher negra na América Latina a partir de uma perspectiva de gênero. Racismos Contemporâneos, 49, 49-58.a; hooks, 2020hooks, B. (2020). E eu não sou uma mulher? Mulheres negras e feminismo (3a ed.). Rio de Janeiro, RJ: Rosa dos Tempos.), causing these subjects to be socially read as ideal for carrying out domestic and caring activities, that is, ideal for serving (Teixeira et al., 2015Teixeira, J. C., Saraiva, L. A. S., & Carrieri, A. de P. (2015). Os lugares das empregadas domésticas. Organizações & Sociedade, 22(72), 161-178. doi:10.1590/1984-9230728
https://doi.org/10.1590/1984-9230728...
).

Conceição empirically showed how black women are socially read as ideals to serve since childhood:

[...] because I lost my mother when I was 12 years old. [pause] My grandmother [...] when I had the opportunity to meet my grandmother she left very early. So I was raised in “other people’s homes”. [...] I was raised by a family. And in this family I cooked, washed and ironed. So at that time I was cooking when I was 15, 16 years old, people hated my cooking. [...] So I had to learn to cook. Over time I got married and had children. That was it. I cooked and cooked, at home [...]. (Conceição, 2020)

In the episode narrated, the slavery mentality that places black children and adolescents as servants and employees and deprives them of being children and adolescents in their fullness is evident (Kilomba, 2019Kilomba, G. (2019). Memórias da plantação: episódios de racismo cotidiano. Cobogó.), thus portraying the place of subalternity and objectification in which black women are placed since childhood (Carneiro, 2003Carneiro, S. (2003). Enegrecer o feminismo: a situação da mulher negra na América Latina a partir de uma perspectiva de gênero. Racismos Contemporâneos, 49, 49-58.a; hooks, 2020hooks, B. (2020). E eu não sou uma mulher? Mulheres negras e feminismo (3a ed.). Rio de Janeiro, RJ: Rosa dos Tempos.). Although Conceição does not say whether the family she worked for as a teenager was made up of white people, the way she narrates the facts and uses the expression “other people’s house” sharpens our imagination to interpret the relationship between her and that family as being a relationship of distance and strangeness, based on bosses and servant rather than bosses and employee (Teixeira et al., 2015Teixeira, J. C., Saraiva, L. A. S., & Carrieri, A. de P. (2015). Os lugares das empregadas domésticas. Organizações & Sociedade, 22(72), 161-178. doi:10.1590/1984-9230728
https://doi.org/10.1590/1984-9230728...
). This fact shows that Conceição did not feel like she belonged to this space, because “if the house belonged to others, it was the territory of others” (Teixeira et al., 2015Teixeira, J. C., Saraiva, L. A. S., & Carrieri, A. de P. (2015). Os lugares das empregadas domésticas. Organizações & Sociedade, 22(72), 161-178. doi:10.1590/1984-9230728
https://doi.org/10.1590/1984-9230728...
, p. 172).

Still in the context of memories and learning of culinary know-how, it is interesting to highlight that the majority of our interviewees (Lélia, Djamila, Cida and Conceição) reported that this know-how does not originate from their affective family memories. Lélia, for example, does not attribute influence to family affective memories for her work in the confectionery:

[...] The first cake I made when I was little, it was at my grandmother's house, she was making it, she taught me, and I made a cake. Then it grew [...] too much in the middle of the cake, like a hill, but I don't remember, like, what recipe she used. But [...] that wasn't what influenced me, what I tried to do because of that, but I have a memory that I made a cake with her, you know? [...]. (Lélia, 2020)

Lélia said that the preparations for the birthday parties were divided between the family: “My mother made the cake, my father made the pie, my aunt made the things [...]” . Cida also stated that she had no family influence in her choice of confectionery, as her mother “didn’t know how to make [cakes] very well, but she did”, so that she could take them to school festivities, when she was not yet old enough to make the preparations by herself; later, as she grew up, Cida ended up mastering this practice in order to prepare the cakes and take on this responsibility that once was her mother’s.

Djamila reported that her mother “didn’t let her get close to the stove”; and when she went to visit her father, her stepmother “wouldn't let us go near the stove either, but on the weekends when she was at home she used to teach us how to make sweets, brigadeiro, cake, that sort of thing [. ..]”. Djamila then states that she learned to cook as an adult, by watching videos on YouTube and thus had the idea of improving her culinary practices to sell food products and earn extra income.

A possible interpretation for these multiple meanings produced about learning culinary know-how would be related to older women not letting their daughters touch the stove, as an attempt to protect their bodies against burns, cuts and the like. Another possibility would be based on the premise of protection linked to the search for incentives for the development of other knowledge, through study, so that the respondents could pursue professional careers not linked to the kitchen, thus preventing them from occupying subordinate positions. Furthermore, the emphasis on learning linked to sources other than the family’s women could be understood as a way of highlighting their training through the legitimization of school-based knowledge or from recognized chefs who teach through YouTube courses or videos, in order to rise to more socially valued spaces.

Similarly to Djamila, Conceição’s know-how was learned by looking, by watching other people practicing:

[...] I was raised in “other people’s houses”. And when you are raised in “other people's houses”, you have to learn how to cook. So what I know, the little I know, what I like to do, I learned by myself [...]. (Conceição, 2020)

Conceição’s know-how is intertwined with affective memories of work and the way she was affected by it, as she states along the conversation that: “My passion is cooking. [...] and our connection with food, it's family, it's a full house, it's friends. This is really good [...]”. With this, Conceição gives us signs of subversion to a consequence of trauma in the construction of passion for the new profession. On the other hand, Carolina, Luiza and Sueli stated that family affective memories influenced the culinary practices they develop. Carolina nostalgically recalled some recipes that her grandmother made, with the matriarch being responsible for family banquets, for growing herbs and vegetables in the backyard and for teaching the youngest how to prepare them, without distinguishing gender roles.

The culinary know-how of the subjects studied was also manifested in the narratives, evoking love-related symbolisms:

We always did everything around the table, right? Yes, I would go to breakfast, everyone would be sitting around talking, I would go to lunch, anyone who were available together and chatting. It also comes from my mother's relationship, having had nine brothers, a big family and so on, everyone was always together. I learned to cook very early, so food for me is a matter of affection, right? [...]. (Sueli, 2020)

I like people to eat and feel good. I like people to eat good things, things that are pleasant to the taste, so I feel good. [...] Cooking is a lot of love. (Cida, 2021)

My passion is cooking. [...] I only have positive points, I don't have negative ones. So, it's something I love to do. Coming up to me and saying: “auntie, I’m coming to have lunch.” You can come and the food will be on the table. The food you want. (Conceição, 2020)

Food is life, it is love, it is affection, it is a way of bringing people together. My whole family always got together at one table making food. […] To cook, you don’t need to study, you just need to have love and be creative and enjoy what you do. That's the secret. (Carolina, 2021)

If we consider the practices of cooking and eating to be mutually constituted, it is possible to see social hierarchization (Giard, 2002Giard, L. (2002). Cozinhar. In M. De Certeau, L. Giard, & P. Mayol (Orgs.), A invenção do cotidiano 2: morar, cozinhar (4a ed.) (pp. 211-298). Petrópolis, RJ: Vozes.) in the practice of eating as well. In this research, the social hierarchy reflected in the culinary hierarchy is presented in the relational dynamics between the type of food sold, the taste of those researched and the clientele served. Women who work exclusively with confectionery, such as Luiza, Lélia, Sueli and Cida, reported that they do not like sweets and therefore do not consume the food they produce:

Ah, if I'm trying out a recipe I'll taste it to see how it is. But it usually makes me sick, tired [laughs]. Because it's too sweet, too much chocolate. And then there are times when I focus more on savory snacks, which you see there every day, right? [...]. (Cida, 2021)

But I don't eat cake. When I make it, it’s for others, right? Then it's difficult to make just a little bit of what's left. Then, here at home they eat leftover cake. Like, the top, bottom, which I always take off and put here [points to the bowl with pieces of cake]. Then, I leave it there and they eat it. (Lélia, 2020)

We interpret Cida's justification and tiredness as coming not only from the exhaustive and continuous daily practice of cooking, but from long years of experiencing odors, flavors and colors that have been memorized throughout her body since childhood (Giard, 2002Giard, L. (2002). Cozinhar. In M. De Certeau, L. Giard, & P. Mayol (Orgs.), A invenção do cotidiano 2: morar, cozinhar (4a ed.) (pp. 211-298). Petrópolis, RJ: Vozes.), as she was in charge of always bringing the cakes to school festivities, from elementary to high school.

Just like the culinary practice of cooking, eating is also full of affective memories (Giard, 2002Giard, L. (2002). Cozinhar. In M. De Certeau, L. Giard, & P. Mayol (Orgs.), A invenção do cotidiano 2: morar, cozinhar (4a ed.) (pp. 211-298). Petrópolis, RJ: Vozes.). Cida states that her mother “was always very good at cooking, but nothing sweets-wise”, in her words. Lélia said that she does not like her mother's food because it is simple food prepared according to her father's taste: “[...] My father is a picky eater. He eats rice, beans, pasta, meat or greens and sometimes salads every day. But I don't like that at all. I like lasagna, stroganoff [...]”, and Sueli states that her mother “[...] is not a very good cook [laughs], can cook just a few things [...]”, and Sueli's father is in charge of fixing meals. These reports give us clues to understand the construction of taste (Gherardi, 2009bGherardi, S. (2009b). Practice it’s a Matter of Taste! Management Learning, 40(5), 535-550. doi:10.1177/1350507609340812
https://doi.org/10.1177/1350507609340812...
) on the part of respondents, in an overlapping way with memories related to the practice of eating (Giard, 2002Giard, L. (2002). Cozinhar. In M. De Certeau, L. Giard, & P. Mayol (Orgs.), A invenção do cotidiano 2: morar, cozinhar (4a ed.) (pp. 211-298). Petrópolis, RJ: Vozes.). The findings show varied overlaps between practices and these memories: due to the lack of encouragement for excessive consumption of confectionery foods, due to their mothers' preparation and taste, due to the lack of preference for this type of cuisine.

Lélia's narrative, in addition to the constructed particular taste, can be interpreted as part of the dynamics of social hierarchy manifested in culinary practices. The family enjoys the unused parts of the cakes, as a way of avoiding food waste. The clientele consumes the best there is, from the selection of products that serve as raw materials to the final result, which are the decorated cakes. At another point in the interview, Lélia even considers that there is no clientele for her products in the neighborhood where she lives, with her customers being from so-called upscale neighborhoods in Greater Vitória.

In the case of the interlocutors Carolina, Djamila and Conceição, the culinary work takes place with other types of food. Djamila, for example, makes take-away food, and the same food that she and her family eat is offered to her clientele:

[...] And my own kitchen is where I make my take-away food. Where I make my own food. I make a lot of food so that it’s enough to attend to my clients and have lunch at home, got it? It's also tiring because you have to make more, because the family is also big. (Djamila, 2021)

Similarly, Conceição eats the feijoada she sells. Carolina, who works with catering for dinners, personalized coffees for companies and has a small casadinhos factory, reports:

I'm not very keen on sophisticated dishes. Even though my course is French cuisine [...]

But, believe me, in French cuisine, you can use ingredients that you have in your daily life [and] make a French dish. [...] Only the name changes [laughs]. (Carolina, 2021)

The point of intersection between these three women is eating the same dishes they cook to sell to a clientele made up mostly of friends and close neighbors. According to Djamila, who lives on a hill in the capital Vitória, her clientele is entirely made up of neighbors. Here, we would like to highlight some questions. One of them is related to our interlocutors' perceptions regarding the limitations they encountered in the processes of attracting new customers and in the marketing of their products:

[...] the people who buy the things I make, they say: 'oh why don't you sell them at Ifood?'. I could even do it, do everything, but I keep thinking about the logistics of it, right? Because I live in a place where I have to climb stairs. Then I wonder, I'd have to go up and down stairs to be able to take it to the motorcycle courier. So all of this has a negative influence on this side and another side is that once a customer came to pick up an order and it was Sunday morning [...] She came and stopped down there with her car and I was trying to find her because I told her to go up a little hill and she didn't, she stayed down there. Then when I went to see she was downstairs, then she said something like this after she told me that she and her daughters were there, right? Inside the car. Then she said that a boy came with those radio communicators [...]. (Luiza, 2021)

[...] I serve few people from upscale neighborhoods, right? I think it gets in the way that when you say the neighborhood, people are like, they don't know it... they're afraid to come [...]. (Sueli, 2020)

When you say the name of the neighborhood where you live, you are already completely discriminated against. So I think that here we don't just suffer racism because of the color of our skin, here we suffer racism because we are from the outskirts. (Djamila, 2021)

I often feel like I am losing out on a good client because I live where I do, because I'm black, because I'm not recommended by so-and-so. They get to the website, they like everything. ‘Are you acquainted with so-and-so?' 'No, I don't even know them.' I am not going to lie. I want to be recognized for who I am and what I provide. So it's very hard, it's very hard [...]. (Carolina, 2021)

The dynamics of inequality are constituted in many dimensions and interfere not only in the culinary practices themselves, but also in other practices entangled in the organization of the daily business of the managers researched. The inequalities that operate in the hierarchization of culinary practices, stabilizing places of power for middle and upper class cisgender white men, also operate in the logistical and marketing conditions in these managers' daily lives. These places of power are anchored, as can be seen in the reports, in centralities that establish a series of limits to our interlocutors’ professional performance.

Here, we speak of centralities in symbolic terms, as they are based on sociability networks around haute cuisine that make it difficult or even prohibit recommendations, or exchange of contacts with these women. In Carolina's report, for example, she retells a conversation with a potential client, who tries, unsuccessfully, to activate these networks by asking “Are you acquainted with so-and-so?”. Upon realizing that Carolina does not access these symbolic spaces (“No, I don't even know.' I'm not going to lie,” she says), the client does not close a deal.

However, we also mention these centralities with regard to the material conditions for the installation of these businesses which, anchored in domestic spaces on the outskirts and poor regions of large cities, do not enjoy the same conditions of circulation, transport or public safety as the so-called prime areas of the city. The reports of Luiza, Sueli, Djamila and Carolina openly express difficulties in this sense, making reference to the fear or difficulties that residents of other regions feel in getting around the neighborhood (“when you say the neighborhood, people […] are afraid to come”, in Sueli’s words).

The next topic continues the analyses, shifting the focus of the discussion from the hierarchies produced in culinary practices to the tactical and strategic appropriations of our interlocutors who, faced with cracks in everyday life, reinvent the organization of these practices for their own survival and that of their businesses.

“It seemed like we were in the pandemic before”: cracks and survivals in everyday life

In this item, we analyze the role of culinary practices in (re)organizing survival tactics and strategies, considering the context of everyday disturbances. Due to the temporality of the field research, the daily disturbances included a specific moment related to the emergence of the Covid19 pandemic, which, as seen later in this text, was a factor with important implications for data analysis.

The know-how learned throughout the interviewees' lives enabled them to develop ordinary businesses. Therefore, when we focus on these subjects of ordinary management, we provide the opportunity for a discussion that includes the strategies and tactics created and developed by them in order for their businesses to survive and consolidate (Carrieri et al., 2014Carrieri, A. de P., Perdigão, D. A., & Aguiar, A. R. C. (2014). A gestão ordinária dos pequenos negócios: outro olhar sobre a gestão em estudos organizacionais. Revista de Administração, 49(4), 698-713. doi:10.5700/rausp1178
https://doi.org/10.5700/rausp1178...
; Certeau, 1998Certeau, M. De. (1998). A Invenção do cotidiano. Petrópolis, RJ: Vozes.) in the face of everyday disturbances (Leite, 2010Leite, R. P. (2010). A inversão do cotidiano: práticas sociais e rupturas na vida urbana contemporânea. Revista de Ciências Sociais, 53(3), 737-756.).

Thus, considering the period in which the interviews were conducted, the effects of the pandemic could be viewed from the perspective of the disruptions in the daily lives of the subjects researched. The narratives obtained showed that this event created yet another crack surrounded by so many others. Luiza said:

Girl, I thought it was, like, almost a miracle, right? [...] That's how it is, it's very strange, even, to think that I'm in the pandemic, because it doesn't seem like I am [laughs] [...] So, it's been possible to survive well, well, much better than before, in 2019, 2018 was a very complicated year for me, for my family, right? My husband always worked and so did I, but it seemed like everything was very tied up, very painful, it seemed like we were in the pandemic before than now. Now it's like this... sometimes we think 'my God, is there any money left?'. [laughs] Yeah, it's even strange to think that we're in a pandemic, right? We're even able to help, right? Some people in the family who are in need and everything. And that's thanks to God. (Luiza, 2021)

Luiza’s speech reminded us of the fact that, historically, impoverished and racialized people survive marginalized by society and thus deal with many other problems in their daily lives, such as police violence, diseases caused by the lack of basic sanitation, hunger, domestic violence, drug trafficking, etc. When Luiza says that “it seemed like we were in the pandemic before than now”, she refers to the fact that, before the pandemic, she was already struggling for survival (“everything was very tied up, very painful”). This condition of difficulty, which was shared by other family members and close people, certainly worsened with the pandemic, but, in Luiza's case, the need for social isolation, essential for preventing the spread of the disease, may have enabled the advancement of certain business models, like hers (food preparation and delivery), generating survival conditions for the business, for herself and her loved ones (“we are even able to help”).

Also in our interlocutors' view, surviving in a pandemic scenario was exhausting and overwhelming, as reported by Carolina, who lived closely with the disease, as her husband and son became infected; Djamila also suffered the psychological consequences of the pandemic; and Sueli recounted the experiences and difficulties of being a full-time manager and mother during the pandemic. These findings corroborate the arguments of Nilma Lino Gomes (2020), which show that it was black women who were most affected during the most critical periods of the pandemic, especially in terms of loss of income; and Elaine Swan (2020), in the sense that it was women's work, especially black women’s, that kept the wheel of capitalism turning during the pandemic.

In this study, ordinary managers did not interrupt their activities during the pandemic, with highlights being Luiza, Cida and Conceição, who started business during the pandemic period, and Carolina, Djamila and Sueli, who invested in new products and new forms of management:

[...] I always made shortbread cookies. And now I decided to invest in just one product, right? So that I can get a return and, thus, reach out to these people who are unemployed, who want to buy a product to resell, I invested in casadinho. A factory. We are manufacturing wholesale and retail. [...] And I think that we will have a return later on, where the cost is not so high. [...] And we're going to come back slowly, again, right? [...]. (Carolina, 2021)

[...] I didn't really consider the pandemic. I thought it was,like, the time. It was, it was like that, my awakening was rather because I was reducing my working hours and I said to myself: I'm going to make the most of this time. I'm going to take advantage of this time and take courses, other courses I had to take, which was my wish. (Cida, 2021)

The discussion proposed so far reveals that the context of daily disturbances for the women studied goes beyond the pandemic, because cracks take place all the time (LEITE, 2010Leite, R. P. (2010). A inversão do cotidiano: práticas sociais e rupturas na vida urbana contemporânea. Revista de Ciências Sociais, 53(3), 737-756.). As survival strategies, we identified two practices intertwined with culinary practices: one of them concerns the use of domestic space, which extrapolates private dimensions and becomes part of an organizational process that culminates in income generation; and the other deals with mobilizing friendship networks to form clientele.

We understand that everyday life is made up of cracks that cut through regular practices and make them dynamic. These cracks are manifested situationally by tactics that subvert the strategies put in place by the “self” (Leite, 2010Leite, R. P. (2010). A inversão do cotidiano: práticas sociais e rupturas na vida urbana contemporânea. Revista de Ciências Sociais, 53(3), 737-756.). In this sense, the subjects' narratives lead us to understand this daily life formed by small cracks produced in survival practices, in the dynamism of uses and counter-uses of spaces. Such survival practices are, therefore, linked to culinary practices, enabling ordinary subjects to (re)organize spaces that were once domestic and private, now turned into business spaces, but which are still spaces for exchanging affection and sociability.

This articulation demonstrates that organizing and reorganizing are situated, being intertwined in the materialization of practices, in bodies, in spaces. As a result, the survival practices engendered by the managers studied were identified in two aspects: those that reconfigure the boundaries between home and street, family and business (Carrieri et al., 2014Carrieri, A. de P., Perdigão, D. A., & Aguiar, A. R. C. (2014). A gestão ordinária dos pequenos negócios: outro olhar sobre a gestão em estudos organizacionais. Revista de Administração, 49(4), 698-713. doi:10.5700/rausp1178
https://doi.org/10.5700/rausp1178...
); and those that articulate networks of sociability in the construction of belonging to the community (Clemente & Silva, 2014Clemente, C. C., & Silva, J. C. G. da. (2014). Dos quilombos à periferia: reflexões sobre territorialidades e sociabilidades negras urbanas na contemporaneidade. Crítica e Sociedade: revista de cultura política, 4(1), 86-106,2237-0579.; Fantinel, 2016Fantinel, L. D. (2016). As sociabilidades nas organizações: da sociologia formal às interações cotidianas. Revista Interdisciplinar de Gestão Social - RIGS,5, 139-151.).

All of the interviewees, at the time of developing the research, (re)organized the domestic space in the interstices between rest/work spaces, with Carolina, Lélia, Sueli and Djamila being the ones who had been mobilizing this space for the longest time. In this sense, there is a mix of uses and meanings of public and private spaces - street and home - as well as business and family (Carrieri et al., 2014Carrieri, A. de P., Perdigão, D. A., & Aguiar, A. R. C. (2014). A gestão ordinária dos pequenos negócios: outro olhar sobre a gestão em estudos organizacionais. Revista de Administração, 49(4), 698-713. doi:10.5700/rausp1178
https://doi.org/10.5700/rausp1178...
) manifested in the cracks (Leite, 2010Leite, R. P. (2010). A inversão do cotidiano: práticas sociais e rupturas na vida urbana contemporânea. Revista de Ciências Sociais, 53(3), 737-756.). Some statements are evidence of this:

And currently I make take-away food, my sister and I. My sister helps me, right? But I have to pay too. And preferably I serve whoever comes to the door because delivering it has also been difficult, I have to pay a motorcycle courier, things like that too [...]. (Djamila, 2021)

I make cakes and sweets. Those gourmet sweets. Until then, that's all. My sister is In charge of savory snacks and pies, now she has come to like making savory snacks, but, you know, I take hers and deliver it. She doesn’t get in touch with the customer. I'm the one who gets annoyed with customers [laughs]. And she just goes... I just take it from her and deliver. (Luiza, 2021)

A business just for feijoada [...] That's what I have in my mind [laughs]. So, friends, coming over to eat feijoada. This was before the pandemic, because now it can't be done anymore [...] It's something I wanted to put into practice. Starting to think, maturing the idea, asking my son for an idea, asking son for an idea, we talk, we exchange ideas, right? Let's make the logo... the feijoada logo was made... everything went well and we put it into practice [...]. (Conceição, 2020)

We identified cracks in the speeches of Djamila, Luiza and Conceição when they mobilized people from their families to help in their businesses, with Djamila and Luiza saying that their sisters were unemployed and started to earn an income by working with them. In this way, by taking advantage of an opportune moment, they employed family members to extend income generation and strengthen survival practices in their family, streamlining ways of doing things among strategies and tactics (Certeau, 1998Certeau, M. De. (1998). A Invenção do cotidiano. Petrópolis, RJ: Vozes.).

By mobilizing the domestic space to carry out their business, these women transform a kitchen space that was once private, domestic, into a space that also becomes public, a business space, as Lélia, Cida and Djamila said:

[...] Then, during the day, I generally make stuffing, assemble cakes, roll sweets, but the heavier production, I actually do at night, so as not to disturb her [referring to her mother]. Then, the only bad thing is this. And also wanting to store things. Such a small house, right? Then things remain... [...] So, I think the space itself is good, it's only bad because we have to share the space and it's not mine either, [it's] my mother's, the house is hers. (Lélia, 2020)

[...] So, I mean, but I do it in my kitchen, everything, here on my stove, in my tiny apartment [laughs], so I'm trying to manage this space, right? Which is small. [...] So, I don't know about other people, but what I want is a space, right? So that I can have my things separate from everything else, right? Everything refrigerated. (Cida, 2021)

My workspace... my house isn't big, it's small, a humble 2-bedroom house, with a living room, a kitchen, a bathroom. I had a basement under my house that I went to work on. I moved things, I added a freezer, some shelves and that's where I work with my small bar, selling soda, putting out my pies, selling candy, that sort of thing. And my kitchen is where I make my take-away food. (Djamila, 2021)

Such strategies were also used as a competitive edge in the pandemic context. Conceição’s speech refers to the mobilization of domestic space as a survival practice in the pandemic, since the premise for avoiding the contagion and proliferation of covid-19 is social isolation:

And then with this pandemic here at home [...] I'm someone who can't stand still. [...] conclusion: I'm trapped inside my house. To avoid catching [the virus]... but then I lose money, because I earned about a minimum wage to take care of elderly people. I stopped and I miss it. [...] I started thinking about the idea of feijoada. It's something I wanted to do. It's something I wanted to put into practice. (Conceição, 2020)

Finally, practices build networks of sociability. The interviewees described networks of sociability essential for the consolidation of their businesses, in which sales practices are confused with practices of affection, business practices with those of sociability, constituting a tangle that reconfigures boundaries and which are essential in and for production in impoverished and racialized communities (Clemente & Silva, 2014Clemente, C. C., & Silva, J. C. G. da. (2014). Dos quilombos à periferia: reflexões sobre territorialidades e sociabilidades negras urbanas na contemporaneidade. Crítica e Sociedade: revista de cultura política, 4(1), 86-106,2237-0579.), highlighting sociability networks vital to the existence of the ordinary organizations (Fantinel, 2016Fantinel, L. D. (2016). As sociabilidades nas organizações: da sociologia formal às interações cotidianas. Revista Interdisciplinar de Gestão Social - RIGS,5, 139-151.) studied:

[...] there was a girl here who, she even wasn't very familiar with me, no. She still lives here, right? In the neighborhood. So she started buying, buying, buying and she spread the word and other people came, but they really wanted cake, right? Then it started from there, there's another neighbor who also recommended it, but yeah, I'm realizing that it's more, there's a lot of people from here, right? In the surroundings, right? And the people they know who recommend... those who recommend are from here, right? Those who recommend are those from the neighborhood, who have already approved, right? (Luiza, 2021)

[...] And then my daughter's friends were part of my family here in Vitória. And so... make some tropeiro beans, some feijoada, a moqueca... and that went on, my daughter. That went on and the fame went up [...]. (Conceição, 2020)

[...] So, like, ah, my neighborhood, like, everyone knows me, ah, like this: [so-and-so] sells it, [so-and-so] has it. Ah, so, it has its side, the good side, the bad side. Here it is. Yeah… Competition, right, very big, right, because everyone goes and does something. Everyone does something else, but there is room for everyone, each with their own cuisine, each with their own seasoning [...]. (Djamila, 2021)

In peripheral communities, social networks formed by family and friends are the guiding thread of ordinary organizations:

[...] I think cooking, yes, confectionery or cooking in general... I think it's about a lot of affection, right? People end up getting into this world of cooking, it's because they like to cook for someone or because they want to cook for someone, they need to cook for someone and they end up enjoying it. I think that these relationships that we eventually have, especially black families, are relationships that are very rooted in necessity, from having to take care of a brother, from having to learn how to cook. And then, you start to like it. (Sueli, 2020)

By saying that black families relate to culinary practice out of the need to take care of their family members, Sueli helps us understand that social networks are often formed due to difficulties. Black families inherit the impoverishment generated since the post-slavery period and this leads to the division of domestic activities and care among their own family and friends, as in the case of Sueli, who learned to cook to help at home, and the field researcher herself, who took care of her sister, giving up her professional life so that her mother could keep her regular job.

In these circumstances, while the wealthier classes manage certain situations with money, for example, paying for certain services, such as babysitting, historically impoverished groups need to count on the solidarity of mobilized networks. Thus, the mobilization of sociability networks leads to cracks that contradict the daily life permeated by the precariousness of infrastructure and services, space discrimination and racism.

Still on the arrangement of black families, Carolina reports that the father figure had a great role in her learning:

[...] My family is made up of people who like to cook, to get together in the kitchen. See? To chat. And there to develop skills. I started, I really remember, I started when I was seven... cooking, I wasn't tall enough. My father made a wooden 'box' and placed it on the edge of the stove, I went up there and he taught me, right? Cooking, yeah... we were six brothers and sisters, all small and the one who grew up had more skills and got engaged, right? In what they liked to do. And I always liked cooking. And I learned that kind of cooking, homemade, cooking for real. Cooking what you had at home [...]. (Carolina, 2021)

Similarly, Sueli said that her father was the one who cooked most at home and that she learned this know-how from him, as her mother could not cook so well. The culinary practice overlaps with affective practices:

[...] today I have my family, I continue to perpetuate this, which I learned from my parents, right? Having breakfast together, having some time to talk, and food is always there, right? Those who are already there talking, eating, or going out with friends too, there is this relationship of eating and talking, eating and sharing, right? (Sueli, 2020)

For Luiza, an important male figure in her process of learning culinary know-how is her cousin:

[...] my whole family is from São Paulo. I was born there. I have four brothers. Then I came here when I was six months old. Then I came to live with my aunt [...] And I grew up with my aunt, with my cousins, right? My aunt already had ten other children, but nonetheless I came here. [laughs] Then she looked after me, but then, I think I was three years old, and she passed away and I was left with my cousins, who I consider as my brothers today, right? [...] my older brother [...] started making cakes, right? [...] And so, I was there by his side, watching. He prepared the cakes, then I helped, but he didn't like me to touch it, he was the only one making it. Then I started meddling, wetting the cakes, spreading the filling, then I'd just sit quietly, just watching [...]. (Luiza, 2021)

The reports of Carolina, Sueli and Luiza give us evidence that the logic of many black families is being reconfigured, indicating the use of ordinary management as a subversion, a crack, which is different from the organizational logic of a bourgeois white family, for example. The male figure is also revered as the holder of culinary knowledge that is passed down from generation to generation.

The findings lead us to an intense relational dynamic practiced, in which peripheral spaces cross and are crossed by domestic spaces, indicating the mix between sociability practices and business practices, in which they are essential for and in the production of the feeling of belonging to the community (Clemente & Silva, 2014Clemente, C. C., & Silva, J. C. G. da. (2014). Dos quilombos à periferia: reflexões sobre territorialidades e sociabilidades negras urbanas na contemporaneidade. Crítica e Sociedade: revista de cultura política, 4(1), 86-106,2237-0579.), emphasizing sociability as essential markers of the interviewees' survival practices.

Given all of the above, the next section is intended to conclude this manuscript, but not our reflections. Therefore, conclusions will be presented with answers to the proposed objectives and encouragement for future studies.

“Making sophisticated lemonade out of lemons”: conclusions

And I want to die like this. Without vanity, but being very good at cooking. You can make lemonade out of lemons, but a sophisticated lemonade [laughs] […]. (Carolina, 2021)

In this research, we sought to understand the (re)organization of peripheral pandemic daily life based on the dynamics of gendering and racialization of cooking/eating practices and we found spaces being (re)organized through the culinary know-how of black women, involved in the tangle of relationships between domestic work and business. The research findings reveal that the interviewees' culinary know-how is heterogeneous, because some are self-taught in what they do, while others actually learned through family influences, including male figures, which in a certain way contradicts a notion, based on racist stereotypes, that black men would be lazy, aggressive and lacking in affection (Adichie, 2019Adichie, C. N. (2019). O Perigo de uma história única. São Paulo, SP: Companhia das Letras.; hooks, 2019hooks, B. (2019). Olhares negros: raça e representação. São Paulo, SP: Elefante.; Kilomba, 2019Kilomba, G. (2019). Memórias da plantação: episódios de racismo cotidiano. Cobogó.). Finally, the studied subjects' knowhow symbolizes what they described as an act of love that enabled the development of their ordinary businesses.

The study also uncovered the cracks in the daily lives of the women interviewed, historically forged by structural inequalities, and helped us understand how the studied women's know-how energizes tactical and strategic practices (Certeau, 1998Certeau, M. De. (1998). A Invenção do cotidiano. Petrópolis, RJ: Vozes.), often being used for survival (hooks , 2019hooks, B. (2019). Olhares negros: raça e representação. São Paulo, SP: Elefante.) of their businesses, themselves and those close to them. These survival practices range from mobilizing their domestic spaces to generate income, employing family and friends in the community, to strengthening social networks with family, friends and neighbors who form their clientele.

In this context, it was not possible for us to separate organizing from the sense of community. This shows how black women are playing a leading role in the development of urban black groups in peripheral areas and favelas that represent belonging and sociability (Clemente & Silva, 2014Clemente, C. C., & Silva, J. C. G. da. (2014). Dos quilombos à periferia: reflexões sobre territorialidades e sociabilidades negras urbanas na contemporaneidade. Crítica e Sociedade: revista de cultura política, 4(1), 86-106,2237-0579.). The phrase by Carolina, a dark black woman, which titles this section and the article, converts the organization of practices into everyday subversions into a metaphor. Wrapped in cunning, these refined and laborious subversions need, when dealing with cracks and disturbances of different orders (the so-called “lemons” in the metaphor in title), to bring out a collective survival from them (the “sophisticated lemonade”). Amid so many daily struggles experienced, the pandemic presented itself as yet another one for our interlocutors, which we understand to be relevant for us to pay attention to narratives produced outside hegemonic places about the impacts of Covid-19.

The article contributes empirically by showing the heterogeneous forms of sociability that constitute ordinary management, through its intersections with domestic spaces, supported by the culinary practices that organize these women's daily lives. Theoretically, we contribute by articulating analytical categories such as gender and race in understanding the production of survival practices that mix the private with the public and sociability with business, proving that these practices are situated and socially sustained, when using these specific analytical categories. We also advance in relation to studies that analyze the uses of tactics and strategies politically undertaken in the daily work of social subjects, with the dynamics of racialization and gendering crossing these spaces. In this study, the uses of tactics and strategies occurred dynamically and simultaneously, and the binary categorization of these uses is not essential, as the very author who focuses on the conceptualization of uses, is not concerned with rigidly categorizing these events, thus respecting the plurality and complexity of such practices (Certeau, 1998Certeau, M. De. (1998). A Invenção do cotidiano. Petrópolis, RJ: Vozes.).

Finally, we recognize that the context of the pandemic was limiting in the production of research and in the contact with those being researched. In this way, we encourage the development of studies that allow us to focus on the subjects' daily lives - through observational and/or audiovisual techniques (something that was not possible here, since such limitations circumscribed us to conducting interviews only). We also encourage studies that consider the practice of cooking/eating in the production of spaces that symbolize belonging and affection, supported by non-Western epistemologies, in order to subvert other hegemonic understandings in Management.

  • Financing
    The authors received no financial support for the research, authorship or publication of this article.

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank all the women participating in this research.

Notes

  • 1
    bell hooks is a pseudonym used by the author, inspired by her maternal great-grandmother. In this work, we intentionally chose to respect the author's wishes rather than the formal rules of citation and reference, since hooks prefers citations to be made in lowercase letters, in order to establish a focus on the content of her writing and not on the individual, while also allowing freedom from a single particular identity and remaining in constant movement and transformation.

Inclusive language

The authors use inclusive language that recognizes diversity, demonstrates respect for all people, is sensitive to differences, and promotes equal opportunities.

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Data Availability

O&S encourages data sharing. However, out of respect for ethical dictates, it does not require the disclosure of any means of identifying research participants, fully preserving their privacy. The practice of open data seeks to ensure the transparency of research results, without revealing the identity of research participants.

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Associate Editor: Josiane Silva de Oliveira

Publication Dates

  • Publication in this collection
    02 Feb 2024
  • Date of issue
    2023

History

  • Received
    11 Mar 2022
  • Accepted
    07 Jan 2023
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