cover image The Food Section: Newspaper Women and the Culinary Community

The Food Section: Newspaper Women and the Culinary Community

Kimberly Voss. Rowman & Littlefield, $38 (244p) ISBN 978-1-4422-2720-0

Though James Beard and Craig Claiborne were widely known in food-writing circles, their female contemporaries went largely unrecognized. Voss's book aims hopes to rectify this by shedding light on the contributions by women editors in the food section of newspapers in the United States from the 1940s through the %E2%80%9870s, a time "when food was changing significantly due to developments in technology and a changing American palate." Critics argue that during this time the food sections of newspapers were just recipes, but these food editors didn't merely stick to recipes. They wrote "about local stores, local restaurants, and local cooks." They reported on national food news as well, on poverty, nutrition, health standards, and government policies. They were particularly adept at connecting with their audiences. For instance, "exchange columns in which readers requested recipes were some of the most common, popular, and long-lasting features of the newspapers acting as a kind of early social media," Voss points out. The author occasionally veers into deeper components of the topic, such as the advent of food industry conferences for journalist, giving the book a more specialized, academic tilt, which may deter readers with a general interest. All and all, Voss offers a cogent examination of remarkable female journalists who served "an important role for their communities" over the years. (Apr.)