Read What She Ate: Six Remarkable Women and the Food That Tells Their Stories by Laura Shapiro Online

What She Ate: Six Remarkable Women and the Food That Tells Their Stories

"Fascinating." Moira Hodgson, Wall Street 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
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ISBN : 9780525427643
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 307 pages
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What She Ate: Six Remarkable Women and the Food That Tells Their Stories Reviews

  • Katie

    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.

  • Sarah Swann

    This was middle of the road for me. I enjoyed 3 of the 6 stories and ended up having to DNF the last story about Helen Gurley Brown. I couldn't read anymore about how her mindframe was "be skinny, no matter the cost." I really enjoyed Eleanor Roosevelt's story and the one about Eva Braun was interesting, although I felt it was more about Hilter than about her. Overall it was an ok read for me.

  • Elaine

    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

  • Alicia

    "Whether or not we spend time in a kitchen, whether or not we even care what's on the plate, we have a relationship with food that's launched when we're born and lasts until we die."

    "It turns out that our food stories don't always honor what's smartest and most dignified about us. More often they go straight to what's neediest."

    "Pursuing these women through their own writing, through their biographers, through the archives, pouncing on every clue that might help me figure out what they cooked or

  • Michelle

    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

  • Sarah

    This was a really enjoyable read, and quite a bit more interesting than I first thought. Laura Shapiro knows how to bring life to her topic, which was needed in the case of some of the women she picked. For example I almost felt like the essay on Eva Braun was more an excuse to talk about Hitler's food, it was still interesting don't get me wrong, but it was almost entirely on him. I did also note that she did a good job presenting an unbiased view, besides a few moments in the essay on Hitler ...more

  • Michelle


    I did not like this book. I started off saying "Well it's kind of interesting, in a sort of boring history class kind of way," but by mid-book, I had given up the optimism. What's the problem? First, the title: What SHE ate. Not what HE ate, not what she DIDN'T eat. And the majority of this book was not at all about what SHE ate. Next, six "remarkable" women - really? We have a mentally ill incestuous old maid, a server-come-cook who displays narcissistic tendencies, the woman in charge of "t

  • Libby

    Oh what a hard review to write. I expected to love this book, especially after reading the excellent, even exciting, introduction. We were going to read about six fascinating women and their food stories, what they cooked, how they grocery shopped, what they ate! Always my favorite part of any story, real or fiction.

    Unfortunately each of the six stories were mini biographies which yes, did mention food, in some cases more than others. But many pages of all the bios featured lots of other inform