To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $4.97 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
What She Ate: Six Remarkable Women and the Food That Tells Their Stories Hardcover – July 25, 2017
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover," illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Learn more
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
“Both a biography and a book of culinary history, What She Ate is charming, well-researched and thoughtful. Food has never meant so much.”
—Adriana E. Ramirez, Los Angeles Times
“Laura Shapiro has put together a rich meal. . . . A seriously and hilariously researched culinary history.”
—Susan Stamberg, NPR Morning Edition
“[F]ascinating . . . Shapiro, like a consummate maître d', sets down plate after plate . . . and an amazing thing happens: Slowly the more familiar accounts of each of [the women’s] lives recede and other, messier narratives emerge. . . . How lucky for us readers that Shapiro has been listening so perceptively for decades to the language of food.”
—Maureen Corrigan, NPR's Fresh Air
“Who could resist?”—People
“It’s great fun to read about notoriously abysmal dishes served in the Roosevelt White House”
—The New York Times Book Review
“If you want to know what makes a woman of substance, consider the substances she consumes. . . . Fascinating.”
—The New York Post
“If you find the subject of food to be both vexing and transfixing, you’ll love . . . What She Ate.”
“Such a fun read . . . Shapiro deftly uses food to link one woman to another—and to us today. . . . Writing this book, Shapiro notes, has made her ‘aware of all the food stories that will never be told’ . . . A deliciously satisfying read.”
“Shapiro approaches her subject like a surgeon, analytical tools sharpened. The result is a collection of essays that are tough, elegant and fresh.”
—Moira Hodgson, Wall Street Journal
“A collection of deft portraits in which food supplies an added facet to the whole . . . What She Ate redeems the whole sentimental, self-indulgent genre of food writing.”
“Delectable . . . Buy this book, read this book and then spend a few seconds before every meal thinking about what message the dish sitting in front of you could be sending to your dinner companions.”
“History gets plated.”
“Simply a fun read.”
“Fascinating . . . you’ll quickly see that food choices are more revealing than you might expect.”
“Clever . . . This dissection of diet is a telling window into the lives of these fascinating historical figures.”
“In studying these women’s meals and attitudes toward food, [Shapiro] reveals surprising insights into how they lived.”—Hello Giggles
“Like a textbook for my own feminist food studies curriculum.”
—Austin American Statesman
“An unconventional approach…[that] works deliciously.”
—Fort Worth Star-Telegram
“Fascinating.”—Tampa Bay Times
“Chock full of ‘iconic repasts’ and lesser but no-less-piquant morsels, What She Ate establishes Laura Shapiro as the founder of a delectable new literary genre: the culinary biography. ‘It’s never just food’ is Shapiro’s mantra as she sifts through letters, journals, manuscript drafts, and of course scads of recipes, to derive six thrilling ‘food stories’ spanning two centuries and a spectrum of appetites. Only as fundamental a subject as food and as skillful a writer as Shapiro could bring Dorothy Wordsworth, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Helen Gurley Brown together happily in one richly satisfying volume.”
—Megan Marshall, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Margaret Fuller: A New American Life and Elizabeth Bishop: A Miracle for Breakfast
“Laura Shapiro has done it again! She’s given us a fascinating and wonderfully entertaining history of six women of the last two centuries you might never have thought of as foodies, yet here they are, distinguished by how differently they dealt with the overwhelming importance of food in their lives. What She Ate argues—and proves--that every woman has a food story. It ought to inspire all of us who love food to get busy on our memoirs.”
—Marion Nestle, professor of nutrition, food studies, and public health at New York University and author of Soda Politics
“Six crisply written, ardently researched, and entertainingly revelatory portraits of very different women with complicated relationships with eating and cooking…. A bounteous and elegant feast for hungry minds.”
—BookList, (starred review)
“Offering an interesting angle from which to view the lives of various women, [What She Ate] will appeal to not only food readers but also to anyone wishing to learn more about women’s history.”
“[Laura Shapiro] changed the way I thought about American food, and did so in the most entertaining and informative way possible.”
About the Author
Laura Shapiro has written on every food topic from champagne to Jell-O for The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Slate, Gourmet, and many other publications. She is the author of three classic books of culinary history. Her awards include a James Beard Journalism Award and one from the National Women’s Political Caucus. She has been a fellow at the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library, where she also co-curated the widely acclaimed exhibition Lunch Hour NYC.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Rosa Lewis rose from being a servant to becoming the foremost chef of her age. Her ticket to high society was food. Eva Braun, was more into champagne than nutritious food. Although Hitler was a vegetarian, he binged on champagne and sugar.
Eleanor Roosevelt used food as a weapon. Angered by her husband’s affair with Lucy Mercer, she served some of the worst meals ever encountered in the White House. Barbara Pym’s novels are filled with the type of food nice English ladies served to their clerics. People may think the food was bland, but Pym presents it as a good background to the society of the day.
Helen Gurley brown appreciated food, only as it related to the man in her life. I suspect that could be said for the other women, but Brown indulged her man while being practically anorexic herself.
This is a fascinating book. I hadn’t realized how much we can learn about people, not only women, from how they approach food. The book doesn’t psychoanalyze these women, but some themes are evident such as Eleanor Roosevelt using food as pay back. I highly recommend this book if you’re interested in how women express themselves through food.
I received this book from Viking Penguin for this review.
Starting with Dorothy Wordsworth (the sister of William Wordsworth), we encounter an 18th Century spartan life. She began by obsessively looking after her brother, making sure he had everything he needed--food and clothing. Once he married, her life changed. Although her collapse didn't happen right away, it occurred tragically in her latter years. She became obsessive with food and practically ate herself to death. You must read it to understand.
From her we travel to late 19th Century and early 20th Century London where we encounter an unlikely woman chef. Rosa Lewis becomes renowned for her cooking when she wins the attention of King Edward. In this section we learn more about what Rosa serves than what she eats. Nonetheless, understanding what foods were considered proper, elegant, special at this time was quite interesting.
AfterRosa and her colorful relationship with food, we move to a more dull, drab foodie in Eleanor Roosevelt. It doesn't take much study to learn that Eleanor couldn't care less about what she put in her mouth or what she served while in the White House. Sapiro shares a little secret we probably didn't realize. Once Eleanor left the White House (or Franklin was dead), she rebelled big time. Food became something to relish and enjoy. She no longer partook in the dull meals described in her early years. Part of her reticence toward food in the 1930's was due to the Depression. She couldn't indulge when others were suffering. Later, she no longer had that restraint.
We follow Eleanor to Eva Braun. Here we learn of a very ego-centric woman who may have had an eating disorder. The author never suggests that she 'purged' or starved herself. But she makes it clear that Braun was overly concerned with her appearance and never finished the food on her plate (nonetheless she drank plenty of Champagne). In this section the reader learns as much about Hitler's eating preferences as those of his mistress.
My favorite character of all comes next, Barbara Pym. Some of readers may never have heard of her. She's a mid- 20th Century English novelist. Actually a satirist. And, she was one of my mom's favorite writers. Her acclaim may have been downplayed because she writes of small village life with clergy and ladies of the parish. But she shares a slice of that world that's both delightful and memorable. Again, we don't learn as much about what Pym, herself, ate as we learn what her characters ate and how she handled food and meals in her books.
The final incredible woman is Helen Gurley Brown, the renowned editor of Cosmopolitan. The author talks about Brown's love/hate relationship with food. She, like Braun, was so concerned about her figure, she almost became anorexic. Scanning the pictures of her in her late years, I noted she was extremely thin. Apparently she was proud of that slender build her entire life (and she lived to 90!) She took great care in what she cooked for her husband, but she often did not eat the same food.
The author ends with a "memoir" of her own relationship with food. It's quite interesting and perhaps worthy of being a description of the seventh incredible woman and what she ate.
This book deserves 5 stars even if we still don't know a lot about what several of the woman ate. Nonetheless, the approach was both novel and interesting.
Most recent customer reviews
topic of food she ate, than...Read more
The above is a quote from one of the six women featured in this book – Helen Gurley Brown, editor of...Read more