What She Ate: Six Remarkable Women and the Food that Tells their Stories
Renowned for Perfection Salad, her lively, groundbreaking study of women and cooking in late nineteenth and early twentieth century America, Shapiro here examines six extraordinary women through the lens of what they ate, how, and with whom.
Instead of lofty culinary icons such as M.F.K. Fisher, Shapiro has chosen women who may seem much less obvious: Dorothy Wordsworth, sister to the poet William; Rosa Lewis, a scullery maid who cooked her way to social prominence in Edwardian England; Eleanor Roosevelt, proudly indifferent to good cooking; Eva Braun, who rigorously used food to shape public perception of herself and Hitler; novelist Barbara Pym, whose novels suggested that British cooking was never so uniformly dreary as some reports had it; and Helen Gurley Brown, for whom food was a remarkably dispensable pleasure. What She Ate vividly illuminates times and places as well as characters, and though it is highly, engagingly readable, it is also an important work of scholarship.