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Eat My Words: Reading Women's Lives Through the Cookbooks They Wrote
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Eat My Words: Reading Women's Lives Through the Cookbooks They Wrote

3.37  ·  Rating Details ·  75 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
Some people think that a cookbook is just a collection of recipes for dishes that feed the body. In Eat My Words: Reading Women's Lives through the Cookbooks They Wrote, Janet Theophano shows that cookbooks provide food for the mind and the soul as well. Looking beyond the ingredients and instructions, she shows how women have used cookbooks to assert their individuality, ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published September 1st 2003 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published February 9th 2002)
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Heather G
Oct 19, 2014 Heather G rated it liked it
This was a terrific social history of women's roles and impact through foodways. I had no idea cookbooks were such rich historical fodder! I came away thinking about my own cookbook legacy.... That said, this book is a somewhat academic read. For those who appreciate thorough archival and historical research, you won't be disappointed.
Kerith
Jan 25, 2011 Kerith rated it it was ok
Really really interesting premise, but dry as a bone.
Laura Cushing
Feb 17, 2011 Laura Cushing rated it really liked it
An exploration of women's cookbooks throughout history, and what they say about the women who wrote them. Coookbooks handwritten by individuals ,self-published by groups, and professionally published are all examined. Many different kinds of cuisine and heritages, social standings, and so forth. It's interesting to see how women from long ago had some of the same desires and dreams and concerns that we do today - they wanted to make good meals for their family, entertain their friends, and learn ...more
Deb
May 27, 2013 Deb rated it liked it
I want to say that I loved this one...in parts I certainly did...but it was a bit dry. The idea though that cookbooks tell us so much about their owners is exciting....that such complex stories can be told by notations and scraps tucked into an old cookery book might not have been a fully clear idea to me before, though obvious in hindsight. How the author clearly loved her research, and found such personality in each piece she discovered, is beautiful...I do wish though that she had gone a litt ...more
Rogue Reader
Aug 31, 2015 Rogue Reader rated it really liked it
Thoroughly researched academic work on early cookbooks, presenting these as women's avenue to self esteem, self expression, memoir and creativity. Photographs of manuscripts and personal notebooks from 1800s give insight into women's minds and daily life.

Invaluable research work in the history of food, women's studies and Americana.

Extensively annotated and footnoted, there is also a very long bibliography for additional reading. The book's typeface is faint and hard to read and the text is sma
...more
Niya B
Sep 19, 2013 Niya B rated it it was ok
The concept of the text is a fascinating one and the authors thesis that cookbooks have been and continue to be a tool that further's women's literacy, progress to achieve equal footing, build community and establish themselves as credible experts is an excellent one. While the analysis of the roles these 'receipt' books played is an interesting one, it often quite dry and riddled with suppositions since there is a lack of primary and secondary source material. While the authors interest is tang ...more
Pancha
Sep 22, 2009 Pancha rated it it was ok
The information was interesting, but I was expecting something different and that made the reading less satisfying. Each chapter focused on a premise like "Cookbook as Community" and presented cookbooks that supported the premise. I think I would have preferred a more overarching narrative, more like a linear history of the cookbook dipping into the lives of the individual woman who wrote and used them.
Mickie
May 19, 2016 Mickie rated it really liked it
Did you know that women used to trade friendships by trading "receipts" or recipes? They still do! I loved peeking into the mundane and extraordinary meals of these women both known and anonymous. The cook in the 1970s who was tired from working all day and bored of being expected to cook really struck a chord with me--we've come a long way, have we?
Jessie
Oct 03, 2007 Jessie rated it liked it
I had to read this for my archives class. Its a good premise but not well executed. The author covers a broad range of cookbooks, but doesn't really go into much depth on anything. I really wanted this book to be really awesome, but it was disappointing.
Gretchen
May 28, 2013 Gretchen rated it really liked it
Shelves: grad-school, thesis
impressive volume that takes a look at 10+ specific cookbooks/personal cookery writings. highly recommended if you're interested in women's domestic history and the history of literacy/cookbooks.
Jan
Oct 06, 2008 Jan rated it it was amazing
Because of this book, I make sure I write in all of my cookbooks now. Women may not have written much in the history of the world, but their lives are most definitely in their cookbooks.
Andie
Feb 06, 2012 Andie rated it did not like it
I agree with the previous reader who wanted a deeper exploration of the women whose writing Theophano studied. As is, it's a fairly superficial and repetitive read. I found it boring.
Patricia
Jan 24, 2009 Patricia is currently reading it
Also for my class. It's a little Professor Obvious in places but overall the argument really helps us understand cookbooks as a women-centered literary genre.
Sarah
Jan 21, 2008 Sarah rated it liked it
Started reading, but got sidetracked. it's about women who wrote cookbooks, i.e. food, so what's not to like?!
Holly Maurer
interesting in parts - but I could NOT finish this book! I felt like I was in college, reading a textbook!
Jennifer Payne
Eat My Words: Reading Women's Lives Through the Cookbooks They Wrote by Janet Theophano (2003)
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