Why We Cook: Women on Food, Identity, and Connection

Workman. Mar. 2021. 240p. ISBN 9781523509744. $24.95. COOKING
sking herself why cooking is such an inspiration, illustrator Gardner sets out to answer this question and more. Through two years of research and interviews with more than 100 women in the food world, including professional chefs, farmers, journalists, authors, food justice activists, restaurateurs, critics, entrepreneurs, and home cooks (among others), Gardner expands on the “nuanced relationships women have with food and cooking”; this brief includes anyone who identifies as a woman. Illustrated by Gardner, the book includes narratives that recall memorable meals, kitchen portraits, essays, quotes, recipes, profiles, and responses to questions and themes as part of the “In Conversation” segments, along with stats from Gardner’s survey of more than 350 women. Readers can explore themes outlined in the table of contents or use the contributor index to find a particular woman’s contribution.
VERDICT The range of voices shine a light on racial diversity in the culinary world in this visually evocative, comforting book. Easy to dive into at any point when seeking inspiration or a sense of community through food and cooking, this book is a good conversation starter.
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