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

From the publisher:

‘If you find the subject of food to be both vexing and transfixing, you’ll love What She Ate’ Elle Did you know that Eleanor Roosevelt dished up Eggs Mexican (a concoction of rice, fried eggs, and bananas) in the White House? Or that Helen Gurley Brown’s commitment to ‘having it all’ meant dining on supersized portions of diet gelatine? In the irresistible What She Ate, Laura Shapiro examines the plates, recipe books and shopping trolleys of six extraordinary women, from Dorothy Wordsworth to Eva Braun. Delving into diaries, newspaper articles, cook books and more, Shapiro casts a different light on the usual narratives of women’s lives. Finding meaning in every morsel, and looking through the lens of their attitudes towards food, she masterfully reveals the love and rage, desire and denial, need and pleasure, behind six remarkable appetites.

Gayle recommends:

A book I wish I'd written myself. Laura Shapiro tells the stories of six women through the food they ate (or didn't, in the case of Helen Gurley Brown). It's filled with fascinating historical details - on catering for Edwardian high society in Rosa Lewis's case, and the bizarre diets of the Nazi Party elites in Eva Braun's. My favourite chapter is on Barbara Pym - a perfect potted account of why a) British food isn't as bad as people make out and b) you need to read all of Pym's novels immediately.

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