Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Brave dispatches from the woman who made Mario Batali’s apology-letter cinnamon rolls

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There’s little consensus around the best way for men accused of sexual harassment to apologize for past transgressions. Dan Harmon’s public apology on a recent episode of his podcast seemed to go over pretty well and comedian Eliza Skinner was kind enough to offer up a template for any accused men not sure what to say. But the one thing everyone seems to agree on is, if you’re going to issue an apology for sexual misconduct, don’t include a recipe for fucking cinnamon rolls in it. You hear that, Mario Batali?

When faced with something as dumbfounding and tone-deaf as Batali’s apology recipe, there is only one appropriate response: make the shit out of those terrible cinnamon rolls. That’s what travel blogger and author of All Over The Place Geraldine DeRuiter did recently, and she chronicled the experience in one of the most cathartic and righteously indignant blog posts in recent memory.


Throughout the essay, Batali’s recipe stands as a metaphor for how men like him are awarded more leeway and benefit of the doubt than any woman in their same position. The recipe calls for pizza dough even though it won’t work in a savory dessert. He doesn’t specify dimensions for rolling out the dough and other crucial elements are either missing or sparse. As DeRuiter puts it, “he’s cutting corners because he gets to cut corners.”

Despite knowing in her heart that these cinnamon rolls will be terrible, DeRuiter follows the terrible recipe to the letter. Still, she knows that their poor quality will be seen as her fault in the end. Each step recalls some past incident in which she was threatened online or objectified in a professional setting until she’s left with a plate of nearly-inedible, sickly sweet cinnamon rolls.

“We try to follow a half-written recipe and think it’s our fault when it doesn’t work,” she writes, underlining the systemic misogyny that both forces women to question every maneuver while giving men the ability to skate by on bad apologies. “Apologies are a good start. Just skip the goddamn recipe.” You can read the whole piece here.

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About the author

Dan Neilan

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Have Fun — Will Travel.