Salty: Lessons on Eating, Drinking, and Living from Revolutionary Women

Tantor Audio. Jun. 2022. 6:01 hrs. ISBN 9781666176025. $19.99. BIOG
Imagine a dinner party, à la Judy Chicago’s iconic installation The Dinner Party, but the guests are nine notable women, each of whom have a creative relationship with food. That’s the framing for journalist Wilkinson’s charming essay collection, which explores the wide-ranging lives and experiences of authors Octavia Butler, Alice B. Toklas, Maya Angelou, Laurie Colwin, filmmaker Agnès Varda, and activists Ella Baker and Hannah Arendt. Each chapter contains a brief biographical sketch focusing on the subject’s culinary experiences, followed by a recipe that represents them. Ella Baker, for example, is represented by a Southern-style shrimp salad in reference to her Southern roots. Wilkinson’s admiration for the women she profiles and her interest in how they interacted with food and eating is infectious. Narrator Erin deWard’s tone and cadence don’t always fit the content—some of the narration comes across as needlessly breathy and dramatic, which is especially jarring when she’s narrating a recipe. But when deWard hits her stride, the narration melts into the content in a most satisfying way.
VERDICT Despite the moments of slightly rocky narration, this is a captivating glimpse into the lives of nine creative, world-changing women that will appeal to both foodies and feminists.
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