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

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Read What She Ate: Six Remarkable Women and the Food That Tells Their Stories Online Free - "Fascinating." Moira Hodgson, Wall Street Journal


A beloved culinary historian’s short takes on six famous women through the lens of food and cooking—what 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 lives—social and cultural, personal and political. Yet most biographers pay little attention to people’s 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.

It’s 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, Hitler’s 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
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 0525427643
Edition Language : English
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 307 pages


Susan rated it ★★★★☆

January 14, 2018

“If I eat I feel guilty. And I’d rather feel hungry.” The above is a quote from one of the six women featured in this book – Helen Gurley Brown, editor of “Cosmopolitan,” for over thirty years. It helps highlight the difficult, complicated relationship, that so many women have with food. Author, L...

Karen rated it ★★★★☆

December 03, 2017

Very enjoyable. An assemblage of almost randomly chosen women from literature and history whose stories are retold by a gifted food writer. Intellectually lively and historically interesting with each section just the right length for my bedtime reading. I confess I read the section on Eva Braun(...

Roman Clodia rated it ★★★★☆

January 09, 2018

You never just eat. No matter how hungry you are, it's never just food. In this vastly entertaining book, Shapiro uncovers the 'food stories' of six women: from Dorothy Wordsworth who cooked for her brother as if she were his wife, to Helen Gurley Brown who might gush about food but who never at...

Diane S ☔ rated it ★★★☆☆

July 13, 2017

Review soon.

J.M. rated it ★★★☆☆

July 15, 2017

Laura Shapiro delves into lives of six famous women, many of whom are known to history even here in the 21st century. Beginning with Dorothy Wordsworth, the sister of the poet Wordsworth and their early lives together. Dorothy thinks more of her brother than of herself, reminding her brother when...

Sarah rated it ★★★☆☆

August 18, 2017

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 inte...

Katie/Doing Dewey rated it ★★★★★

August 02, 2017

What She Ate is a biography of six famous, infamous, or just plain interesting women told through the food they ate. Subjects include Dorothy Wordsworth; an 19th century caterer; Eleanor Roosevelt; Eva Braun; author Barbara Pym; and Helen Gurley Brown, editor of Cosmopolitan.  Since I'm all about...

Anne rated it ★★★☆☆

August 07, 2017

I had a hard time getting through this book, and I'm not sure why. The author had a great idea for a book, and she wrote a fairly interesting book. However, the two were not the same. Perhaps if she had titled the book "What She Served" that would have been more accurate. Even in the Afterword, w...

Lynne rated it ★★★★☆

December 21, 2017

A somewhat dry look at an interesting topic. Worth a listen due to the historical aspect but not really about what the women ate. From a foodie perspective it’s a bit disappointing.

Kayo rated it ★★☆☆☆

August 17, 2017

I thought this would be a totally different book. It wasn't that interesting and I couldn't care less about most of her 6 subject. Very disappointing. It could have been great.

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