By Sara Medlicott,
While we are all used to the tired clichés about how a woman’s place is in the kitchen, the same has never been true of the professional kitchen. While traditionally women are expected to cook at home, the history of the culinary world has been very much a man’s world. As Women’s History Month draws to a close, I thought it was a good opportunity to highlight a few books on women chefs from our collection.
Skirt Steak: Women Chefs on Standing the Heat and Staying in the Kitchen by Charlotte Druckman
Charlotte Druckman’s prescient book highlighted many of the issues that have recently been receiving mass media coverage back in 2012. If recent articles about the lack of recognition for female chefs and balancing motherhood with a culinary career spurred your interest, Skirt Steak will allow you to delve deeper with an accessible, conversational tone and profiles of many women in the industry.
Women Chefs of New York by Nadia Arumugam
This cookbook highlights some of the top women chefs of New York City. Divided by style of cooking, each section includes a brief bio and several recipes. Arumugam provides major inspiration and practical tips for aspiring female chefs. Recipes included run the gamut from Quail Adobo to Peaches and Cream Cookies with contributions from several ICC Alums; Christina Tosi, Sarah Sanneh and Jean Adamson.
M.F.K Fisher, Julia Child & Alice Waters: Celebrating the Pleasures of the Table by Joan Reardon
Joan Reardon has created three overlapping portraits of some of the most well known women in the culinary world. M.F.K Fisher was America’s most prolific food writer who breathed life into a largely unknown genre. Julia Child introduced American home cooks to French cooking through her books and television series. Alice Waters is the godmother of California cuisine and revolutionized fine dining in America. Reardon traces the shared friendships and influences of these women and reveals the private lives behind their public personas.
Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child by Bob Spitz
One of the biggest names in the culinary world, Julia Child, went years without an in depth biography. Bob Spitz set out to remedy that situation with Dearie chronicling her fascinating life, from her time as a spy during World War II to her great romance with Paul Child, to her introduction to cooking in Paris and ultimate ascent to stardom and influence on the United State. This book was also a staff pick and comes highly recommended by Chef Lief. It is a must read for any Julia Child fan.