Whether you learned kitchen craft at the elbow of a family matriarch or have come to understand the significance of food through the printed word, chances are good that women you’ve never met have imprinted on your culinary DNA. They are mothers of invention, in effect, who have shown us the way by instruction and by example — their strengths passed on in legacy, in creativity and in recipes we adapt as our own.
Here are just a few of the many, some perhaps lesser known these days, who continue to inspire us. Click Here!
BETTY FUSSELL understood early on that people have deeply personal responses to food, and that writing about food would be a significant contribution in the realm of American culture. The list of publications her work has appeared in speaks to the quality of her prose, which is wonderfully vivid and well researched. Her 2008 book, “Raising Steaks: The Life and Times of American Beef,” was well ahead of the pendulum swing toward renewed interest in that topic.
An energetic and dramatic speaker, the native Californian began her moderating duties on a recent cookbook panel by declaring: “Cookbooks are a fraud. . . . They pretend to be how-to manuals and they’re actually dreamworks.” By next year she hopes to finish her 12th book, “How to Cook a Coyote,” which has to do with being at the bottom of the predator chain. She will turn 85 in July.
The role of food as it pertains to old age is a current fascination of hers: “It becomes a ritual of order and pleasure, a funny kind of delicious anchor,” she says. “Memories get clearer, and my tastes have simplified.”
— Bonnie S. Benwick