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Eat My Words, Janet Theophano

2011/03/28

This is another of those books which caught my eye while working in the collection. Subtitled, “Reading women’s lives through the cookbooks they wrote,” the author looks at seven different facets of women’s lives through European and American history. Included in the text are copied pages from actual textbooks, capturing handwriting and personal notes scribbled alongside the recipes, as well as a few recipes themselves. Theophano addresses the culture and society from which the women write, including an African-American and an Asian-American author, and their use of cookbooks to bridge the racial gap. She examines the societies in which the women lived and worked, looking at the changing role of women and how that is reflected in the cookbooks they wrote and used.

Although I enjoy reading cookbooks and studies about gender roles, I found myself strangely unengaged by this book. The writing is detailed and well-researched, but not particularly entertaining. A good bet for those looking for a unique twist on gender roles through history, but not necessarily the best for pleasure reading.

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