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Through the Kitchen Window: Women Writers Explore the Intimate Meaning of Food and Cooking

Through the Kitchen Window: Women Writers Explore the Intimate Meaning of Food and Cooking

by Arlene Voski Avakian (Editor)

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In these writings, food and memories of its preparation within the family emerge as complicated scrolls, and several authors make persuasive cases for the study of food as a rich source of information about women's imposed roles and self-definition. For women, food matters, and whether the authors in Avakian's collection of new and reprinted essays, poems and stories embrace or shun their families' culinary traditions, the writing never fails to entice. Avakian, whose Armenian-American heritage is well-represented here, clearly strove to enlist writers of many different ethnicities and backgrounds, as well as a handful of well-known writers like Dorothy Allison, Maya Angelou, Marge Piercy, Letty Cottin Pogrebin and Gloria Wade-Gayles. The personal essays are especially compelling. Transplanted Southerners will recognize novelist Dorothy Allison's craving for fat back, an instance mirrored across cultures in Ketu H. Katrack's recollection of longingly sniffing a packet of garam masala in her Bryn Mawr dorm room when she first left her family in Bombay. Jennifer Ir discovered that many favorite foods from her native Trinidad were part of a cuisine shaped by slavery. Beheroze F. Shroff recalls her Indian grandmother's belief that if a menstruating woman touched a jar of gor keri pickles during preparation, they would be ruined. While not all the writing here is brilliant, the collection as a whole provides both an engrossing read and a wealth of shared knowledge, including recipes for many of the dishes discussed. (May)
Contributors examine how food shapes women's lives and how, through food, they express anger, hope, history, and passion. Topics include debunking the myths about welfare moms and the reputed food stamp diet of bonbons and steak, the global possibilities of New York take-out, edible wild plants that sustained the Irish during the potato famine, the painful struggle to overcome an eating disorder, and the pleasures of buttery corn bread and barbecue eaten from a lover's hand. No index. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.

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5.78(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.13(d)

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