Women and the Building of America: Reflections

Last night, I stayed awake far longer than I normally do, reading Gayle Forman’s new novel, Leave Me. The hook for me was “Every woman who has ever fantasized about driving past her exit on the highway instead of going home to make dinner, and every woman who has ever dreamed of boarding a train…

Recipes for Thought

I just received a most intriguing book – Wendy Wall’s Recipes for Thought: Knowledge and Taste in the Early Modern English Kitchen (2016) – and thought that some of you might find it to be of interest. This, from the conclusion, sums up the author’s theory of what a recipe book meant, and likely still means: “The recipe…

A Baker’s Dozen of British Cookbooks for the Christmas Season – Book #13

Throughout history, cooking shows up again and again as primarily women’s work. As a reviewer of Richard Wrangham’s thought-provoking Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human (2009) summarizes, “Here, too, Wrangham apologetically explains, is probably where the global subjugation of women began. Women, he observes, do most of the cooking in most societies (he describes…

A Baker’s Dozen of British Cookbooks for the Christmas Season – Book #11

Mary-Anne Boermans stood out as a finalist on the British TV program, “The Great British Bake-Off,” in 2011. Since then, she’s shot to the top of culinary success with her stellar Great British Bakes: Forgotten Treasures for Modern Bakers, the heart-warming (and stomach-stuffing) product of years of research. And she is the real deal, a person with…

A Baker’s Dozen of British Cookbooks for the Christmas Season – Book #9

One of the most interesting things about the two National Trust cookbooks on this extended “Elves’ Shelves” list is the lack of major curry dishes like Chicken Tikka Masala or Balti dishes. In the British countryside, the old ways do appear to remain front and center, as opposed to the more urban areas where curry houses…

A Baker’s Dozen of British Cookbooks for the Christmas Season – Book #8

There is, as you may have noticed, a huge gap time-wise between the first seven books on this list and the last six. That’s because there’s a time period where you see the beginning of the cult of the modern celebrity chef/cook, with a tremendous focus on innovations and experimentation in recipes and, well, celebrity. Television. Italian food….