"From the raw to the cooked, Kitchens takes us inside the fascinating world of restaurant work. But be prepared. Abandon preconceptions all ye who enter, for here's an original and important peek into the patois, the pecking order, the profits, and the people who produce what we eat when we eat out. . . . A real by-the-book example of superior occupational sociology, as it was meant to be."Rob Faulkner, University of Massachusetts
"A carefully researched, brilliantly analyzed and elegantly described study of a major American industry. His negotiated order and combined interactional-structural approach is a model for sociological industries and organizations."Anselm Strauss, University of California, San Francisco
In contrast to recent behind-the-scenes narratives describing the realities of the restaurant business (e.g., Irene Daria's Lutce: A Day in the Life of America's Greatest Restaurant, LJ 11/15/93), Kitchens is social analysis. Sociologist Fine (Talking Sociology, Allyn & Bacon, 1989) uses the "negotiated order" approach, coupled with a methodology of interviewing and participant observation, to examine how internal and external interrelationships have created the current food industryincluding its workers, organization, economics, and aesthetics. While written in an accessible style with a cogent introduction and helpful summaries at the end of each chapter, this ethnography will probably be most useful to those with a knowledge of or an interest in sociology. Nevertheless, the descriptions of the interplay between the micro and macrokitchen work vs. market demandsmake for fascinating reading and a more critical understanding of this cultural force.Wendy Miller, Lexington P.L., Ky.