Perfection Salad

Laurie Gwen Shapiro, Author, Lau Shapiro, Author Farrar Straus Giroux $16.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-374-23075-3
A journalist who has written extensively on aspects of feminism, Shapiro presents a well-researched history of women as nutritional revolutionaries during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This serious study is lively entertainment, spiced by the author's wit and wry perceptions. Through her, we discover clues to the motives of women who turned American kitchens into laboratories, run according to the dicta of the Boston Cooking School and similar establishments that proliferated across the country. The most memorable of the culinary movers was Fannie Farmer, whose cookbook was published in a modest 3000-copy edition in 1896. Stories about Farmer and other domestic scientists of the period add strong appeal to Shapiro's report. So do the parallels between early feminists and today's advocates of equal rights. It is somber to realize, as the author emphasizes, that fear of significant power for women ""even over themselves'' kept their aims restricted. By 1900, they had settled for the status of experts in home economics instead of independence. (March 3)
Reviewed on: 03/04/1986
Release date: 03/01/1986
Paperback - 978-0-8050-0228-7
Paperback - 292 pages - 978-0-86547-486-4
Paperback - 274 pages - 978-0-375-75665-8
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