"Fascinating." Moira Hodgson, Wall Street JournalMouthwatering.Eater.com A beloved culinary historians short takes on six famous women through the lens of food and cookingwhat they ate and how their attitudes toward food offer surprising new insights into their lives.Everyone eats, and food touches on every aspect of our livessocial and cultural, personal and political. Yet most biographers pay little attention to peoples attitudes toward food, as if the great and notable never bothered to think about what was on the plate in front of them. Once we ask how somebody relates to food, we find a whole world of different and provocative ways to understand her. Food stories can be as intimate and revealing as stories of love, work, or coming-of-age. Each of the six women in this entertaining group portrait was famous in her time, and most are still famous in ours; but until now, nobody has told their lives from the point of view of the kitchen and the table. Its a lively and unpredictable array of women; what they have in common with one another (and us) is a powerful relationship with food. They include Dorothy Wordsworth, whose food story transforms our picture of the life she shared with her famous poet brother; Rosa Lewis, the Edwardian-era Cockney caterer who cooked her way up the social ladder; Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady and rigorous protector of the worst cook in White House history; Eva Braun, Hitlers mistress, who challenges our warm associations of food, family, and table; Barbara Pym, whose witty books upend a host of stereotypes about postwar British cuisine; and Helen Gurley Brown, the editor of Cosmopolitan, whose commitment to having it all meant having almost nothing on the plate except a supersized portion of diet gelatin....
|Title||:||What She Ate: Six Remarkable Women and the Food That Tells Their Stories|
|Number of Pages||:||307 pages|
|Url Type||:||Home » What » What She Ate: Six Remarkable Women and the Food That Tells Their Stories|
What She Ate: Six Remarkable Women and the Food That Tells Their Stories Reviews
I almost didn't finish this book. Chapter one was dreary and depressing despite the author clearly hinting to a possible incestuous relationship between the topic of the chapter and her brother. The second chapter was a bit better and the third was significantly better and that pattern stayed true throughout the book.
My main issue was the writing itself. I strongly feel the book is in need of a better editor. The chapters feel jumbled and while the main draw is supposed to be food the writer tak ...more
This should have been such a great book! The concept was wonderful, but the writing style interfered with the story telling way too much. Also, the author seemed to keep losing the thread of where she was going with each story. She'd start in on the woman's story and then very mechanically, try to add something about food that seemed irrelevant and forced. She didn't actually have very much to say about food for several of the women even though she had decided to tell 'their food stories'. Yes, ...more
I loved the concept of this book, that we can learn about people through the food they eat, and how they interact with and talk or write about food. I wonder if food biography is a genre, not food memoir, but biography. I'd love to learn about more people through their food.
What She Ate is a biography of six famous, infamous, or just plain interesting women told through the food they ate. Subjects include Dorothy Wordsworth; an 19th century caterer; Eleanor Roosevelt; Eva Braun; author Barbara Pym; and Helen Gurley Brown, editor of Cosmopolitan. Since I'm all about quirky micro-histories, I was so here for this.
Like many micro-histories, this book starts with a narrow topic but leads the the reader on a journey through many fascinating and otherwise unconnected st ...more
This was an okay read. I loved the premise but the book didn't live up to my expectations. There wasn't as much about food as I expected. It was more like short bios on six women, several of whom I had no knowledge of prior to reading the book.
Laura Shapiro's "What She Ate" was my introduction to culinary history as a genre, and to a brand of feminism so timless that I kinda hate myself for not thinking about food as a legitimate angle to telling the stories of women, earlier. Hell! Everyone has a "food story". But historically, women have cooked, served and of course, eaten food for so much of their lives that you cannot tell their stories without talking about food.
Biographers, according to Shapiro, have often omitted food from the ...more
This is a book about what 6 women in history ate. Dorothy Wordsworth, sister of poet William Wordsworth, Rosa Lewis, a female chef in England, which was rare in her time, Eleanor Roosevelt, Eva Braun, Hitler's mistress until they married shortly before their suicides, and Barbara Pym, a British author, and Helen Gurly Brown. I only knew about 3/6 when I started the book. Don't know what I expected but I ended up disliking the 3 I knew about AND the three I didn't. VERY much disliking. This made ...more
This is the sort of book -- micro-history-ish -- that I'm often excited about but ultimately disappointed by. Not the case here. I was pleasantly surprised at how well the author accomplished her premise. She sets out to bring insight to our understanding of six women through how they associated with food and, to my mind, she succeeds amazingly. The chapters hone in on food, but that perspective never feels too narrow.
She made excellent choices about who to feature - these are women whose lives ...more