Taste Makers: Seven Immigrant Women Who Revolutionized Food in America

Mayukh Sen. Norton, $26.95 (304p) ISBN 978-1-324-00451-6
In this dazzling debut, James Beard Award–winning food writer Sen looks at the lives of seven remarkable immigrant women whose passion for their homeland’s food transformed how Americans cook and eat. While he originally set out to write about immigration using food as his lens, Sen ended up “interrogating the very notion of what success looks like for immigrants under American capitalism.” What results is a vibrant, empathetic, and dynamic exploration of culture, identity, race, and gender. The story of Iranian-born cookbook author Najmieh Batmanglij examines how America became, for her, “a wonderful place for the stateless,” even as the prejudice she faced in the 1980s stifled the potential reach of her work. The late Chao Yang Buwei’s revolutionary How to Cook and Eat in Chinese (1945)—“a manual of gastronomic diplomacy”—and Elena Zelayeta’s Mexican cookbooks in the 1960s made their home cuisines palatable for an American audience, while the late acclaimed chef Norma Shirley resisted assimilation and eventually returned to Jamaica, because “making food for white Americans was never her chief aim.” Thoughtfully written, Sen’s portrayals of his subjects reveal how rich and nuanced being “American” can truly be. Food lovers with a big appetite for knowledge will gobble this up. (Nov.)
Reviewed on : 07/23/2021
Release date: 11/02/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
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