In February 2017, Women’s National Book Association released 100 Fiction Books by American Women and 100 Nonfiction Books by American Women. The fiction list features brilliant works that fall in the genres of fiction, poetry, and memoir. The nonfiction list, excluding memoirs, features the true accounts and achievements of American women. Each week, we’ll feature books from the lists.
This week, we continue our coverage of the 100 Books Lists highlighting some books about crafting culinary skills and the pleasures of the eating experience.
M.F.K. Fisher is considered one of America’s premiere and best-known food writers. This 50th anniversary edition of The Art of Eating is a collection of thoughts, memories, and essays with sprinkled in recipes, plucked from Fisher’s five most popular books. In the stories from Consider the Oyster, The Gastronomical Me, Serve it Forth, How to Cook a Wolf, and An Alphabet for Gourmets, Fisher’s love of food and passion for cooking are apparent. Julia Child remarked, “This is the stuff we need to hear, and to hear again and again.”
Shortly after getting married and moving to Paris, American chef and TV personality Julia Child studied at Le Cordon Bleu and taught cooking with Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle. The three wrote the first volume of Mastering the Art of French Cooking in 1961, accompanied by Volume 2 in 1970.The additional 257 recipes follow the same model of clear, easy-to-follow steps. Both volumes teach seasoned cooks and novices how to create authentic French dishes with American foods using once-secret techniques of famous Cordon Bleu chefs.
Considered a complete guide for eating well, Diet for a Small Planet by Frances Moore Lappé features simple rules for a healthy diet and explains the social and personal significance of a different way of eating. First published in 1971, Lappé’s was the first major book to call attention to the environmental impact of meat production as wasteful and a contributor to global food scarcity. Lappé presents hundreds of easy-to-use recipes, including protein-rich, meatless meals.
Mother-daughter project Joy of Cooking has come a long way from the 1931 self-published first edition being sold out the pair’s apartment to a bestselling cookbook. Marion Rombauer Becker tested and illustrated her mother Irma S. Rombauer’s recipes. Nine revisions later, the 75th anniversary edition features new illustrations that focus on techniques, ranging from knife skills to splitting cake layers, setting a table, and making tamales. Julia Child called Joy of Cooking “a fundamental resource for any American cook.”
Click here to check out a few books from the 100 Books List written by Black women in honor of Black History Month; here for books related to Women’s History Month and here for books focused on Catholicism. For the full list of 100 Fiction Books by American Women, click here, and the full list of 100 Nonfiction Books by American Women is here.