Daring Women: Culinary

Updated: March 31, 2022

For eons women have been cooking and feeding people, their own families and other people. Here is a selection of books by and about women who cook.

1,000 Spanish recipes
Casas, Penelope.
Call Number: 641.5946 C335-5

Penelope Casas was one of the modern food experts on Spanish cuisine.  Greek-American, with a passion for the food of Spain, she delineated it from Mexican and South American cuisine. This is her last book which has recipes that are easy and attainable for the most challenged of home cooks.

Amarcord-- Marcella remembers : the remarkable life story of a woman who started out teaching science in a small town in Italy, but ended up teaching America how to cook Italian
Hazan, Marcella.
Call Number: 641.092 H428

Marcella Hazan is credited with introducing traditional Italian food and cooking to the English-speaking world. Her formal training was in science at the University of Ferrara, and not in food preparation, which did not stop her from becoming a teacher and writer reknowned for classic Italian cooking. Her cookbooks can found here.

Appetite for life : the biography of Julia Child
Fitch, Noel Riley.
Call Number: 641.092 C536Fi

Julia Child changed the way Americans think about food and cooking by teaching French cooking.  Noel Riley Fitch's biography is concise, well-researched, and delightful.  

Aromas of Aleppo : the legendary cuisine of Syrian Jews
Dweck, Poopa.
Call Number: 641.567 D989

A large format cookbook which combines secular and religious history, with the customs and recipes of, what was, the Aleppian Jewish community in Syria.  Numerous photographs (color and black and white) throughout the book.

Baking at Republique : masterful techniques and recipes
Manzke, Margarita, 1974-
Call Number: 641.71 M296

Based in Los Angeles, master baker Margarita Manzke, owner of République, shows everyone how to make all kinds of goodies--from the simple to the complex.

Coming to my senses : the making of a counterculture cook
Waters, Alice,
Call Number: 647.95092 W329

Alice Waters, Chez Panisse founder, writes of her early life, including her bourgeois formative years in Van Nuys.  She takes the reader through her political and sensory awakenings at UC Berkeley and Paris market stands and boulangeries. A memoir written with a measure of humility that is surprising for a foundational American cook, but much like her food:  best ingredients, carefully and lovingly prepared for people she cares for deeply.


Delicious El Salvador: 75 Authentic Recipes for Traditional Salvadoran Cooking
Maher, Alicia
Call Number: 641.597284 M214

Alicia Maher's award-winning book features traditional Salvadoran recipes and techniques, which has a recipe for Quesadilla Salvadoreña or Salvadoran sweet quesadilla cake.

The Dooky Chase Cookbook
Chase, Leah.
Call Number: 641.59763 C487

Leah Chase, better known as Dooky Chase, opened her restaurant in New Orleans in 1940, and even though she passed in 2019 at the age of 96, the restaurant is alive. Here are recipes from the Queen of Creole cuisine.

The Duchess of Jermyn Street; the life and good times of Rosa Lewis of the Cavendish Hotel.
Fielding, Daphne Vivian, 1904-
Call Number: 92 L675Fi

The biography of Rosa Lewis, the real-life Duchess of Duke Street, upon whom the PBS television program was based.

Edna Lewis : at the table with an American original
Call Number: 641.092 L673Ed

A collection of essays that pay tribute to cookbook writer, master chef and outspoken activist.  She brought proper attention to good Southern cooking.

Fasting and feasting : the life of visionary food writer Patience Gray
Federman, Adam, 1979-
Call Number: 641.092 G781Fe

Adam Federman presents the life of Patience Gray, an important figure in modern food writing. Independent, iconoclastic, a type of earth mother who eschewed modern consumerism, she and her partner, the sculptor Norman Mommens, led a  rugged life on the island of Naxos. LAPL owns these books by Gray:  Honey from a weed : fasting and feasting in Tuscany, Catalonia, the Cyclades, and Apulia; A Catalan cookery book : a collection of impossible recipes; Plats du jour

The food of Spain
Roden, Claudia.
Call Number: 641.5946 R687

Claudia Roden is an authority on the foods of the Mediterranean, North Africa, and Italy.  She brings insight, history and thorough research on the regions and foods of Spain.  This is a massive work.

The Gastronomical Me
Fisher, M. F. K. (Mary Frances Kennedy)
Call Number: 641.01 F535-2 1989

M. F. K. Fisher (Mary Frances Kennedy Fisher) was known for her clarity of writing, which conveyed her sensual delight in food. In 1929 she and her husband arrrived in Dijon France, where she tasted real French food, and the rest is culinary history found in her books.

Happiness is Baking: Cakes, Pies, Tarts, Muffins, Brownies, Cookies: Favorite Desserts From the Queen of Cake
Heatter, Maida
Call Number: 641.71 H442-2

The Queen of Cakes, also pies, desserts and other treats, presents favorite recipes. The book has all of Heatter's clear instructions, with illustrations by Alice Oehr.  Everyone should know how to bake something, and with this book, everyone can.

Is there a nutmeg in the house?
David, Elizabeth, 1913-1992.
Call Number: 641.01 D249-2

Through her writing Elizabeth David changed attitudes about food and cooking in England. This is a compilation of her best articles with some recipes. Pages 167-168, "Untraditional Christmas Food" presents a luxurious alternative to any home cook who feels overwhelmed by holiday pressure.

Joy of cooking
Rombauer, Irma S., 1877-1962,
Call Number: 641.5973 R762 2019

The latest edition of America's essential cookbook is a must for those who know how to cook, and for those who need some help. Basics are covered, older recipes have been revised, and there are numerous new recipes. Who y'a gonna ask for help in the kitchen?  Whether you are in a desperate situation and need first-aid cooking help, or looking for something new to cook, this is the book you want.

Land of fish and rice : recipes from the culinary heart of China
Dunlop, Fuchsia,
Call Number: 641.5951 D922-4

It is not necessary to cook to delight in this spectacularly beautiful and informative cookbook from the knowledgable Fuchsia Dunlop, English writer and Chinese food expert. She explores the culture and food traditions of the Jiangnan region. "Jiangnan spans the eastern coastal provinces of Zhejiang and Jiangsu, the city of Shanghai and that part of southern Anhui province known as Huizhou," and is known "as the land of fish and rice." Dunlop's thorough presentation of this region's food will be of particular interest to those who love Chinese cuisine.


The Lebanese kitchen
Hage, Salma.
Call Number: 641.59569 H141

A beautiful book with vibrant photographs of prepared foods and scenes in Lebanon. Main dishes include meat, poultry and fish, but the delectable array of vegetable dishes could convert any omnivore to a vegan. At the end of this comprehensive book is a selection of recipes from notable chefs and food writers

Midnight chicken : (& other recipes worth living for)
Risbridger, Ella,
Call Number: 641.59 R595

With the support of her family of friends, Risbridger wrote this autobiographical memoir and cookbook which saved her from despair over the loss of her beloved Tall Man, and gave her the resilience to move on with her life.

My American dream : a life of love, family, and food
Bastianich, Lidia,
Call Number: 641.092 B326

Lidia Bastianich is a successful restaurateur, televsion host of numerous cooking programs on PBS, and cookbook author. In this heartfelt autobiography and memoir, she recounts her family's history in post-World War II Pula, Istria, then part of Italy, and how they eventually came to America. Filled with joy and hope, Basitanich's life is the embodiment of what it means to be an immigrant and find a new life in the United States.

My Mexico : a culinary odyssey with recipes
Kennedy, Diana.
Call Number: 641.5972 K35-4 2013

Diana Kennedy is one of the key experts on Mexican cuisines. Married to a journalist who was stationed in Mexico, Kennedy became an expert historian because of her love and fascination with Mexico, its people, culture and definitely the great variety of foods.  She established the Diana Kennedy Center in Mexico to preserve the native foods, resources and cuisine.

On the noodle road : from Beijing to Rome, with love and pasta
Lin-Liu, Jen.
Call Number: 641.6311 L7355

What country or place is the origin of the noodle, aka pasta, and to which should credit be given--China or Italy, or does it matter?  Jen Lin-Liu travels from east to west, starting in western China, moving through central Asia, Iran, Turkey, Greece and Italy, and retraces selected parts of the Silk Route whose travelers became the great disseminators of products and ideas.  She eats good food along the way, learns new cooking techniques, however as for the answer to the noodle's origin,  she concludes that because of the travel and trade on the Silk Route, "The answer was lost in the steppes of Central Asia, the deserts of Iran, and the mountains and valleys of Asia Minor." 

Palestine on a plate : memories from my mother's kitchen
Kalla, Joudie,
Call Number: 641.59569 K138

Joudie Kalla shares her family's heritage of great Palestinian home cooking, which has been passed on from her mother, her grandmother and all the women who cooked before. Throughout the book there are spectacular color photographs of people, places and food. Kalla includes a table of contents, an index, and for unique ingredients there is a list of U.S. suppliers.

Queen bee of Tuscany : the redoubtable Janet Ross
Downing, Ben, 1967-
Call Number: 92 R824Do

Born into a life of privilege, Janet Ross grew up among prominent literary, political and social leaders during the Victorian era. She was an adventurer, author and agriculturalist, who promoted growing native produce in Tuscany. Her book, Leaves from our Tuscan kitchen, or, how to cook vegetablesis an important early book on food and cooking in this region.

Salt, fat, acid, heat : the four elements of good cooking
Nosrat, Samin,
Call Number: 641.5 N897

We all know when something tastes good, but do we understand why? Samin Nosrat presents the four elements of superior flavor by exploring the science behind applying salt, fat, acid and heat to each dish we cook. Every recipe is delightfully illustrated and demonstrates how these elements improve the quality of the dish. Alongside stories of Samin’s childhood and her journey to becoming an award-winning chef, you’ll learn the techniques you need to master the elements of good cooking.


The seventh daughter : my culinary journey from Beijing to San Francisco
Chiang, Cecilia.
Call Number: 641.5951 C532-1

In 1961, Cecilia Chiang's restaurant, The Mandarin, introduced authentic northern Chinese cuisine to San Francisco. This book is part memoir and part cookbook with many family recipes and signature recipes from the restaurant, and the author's own story of growing up in Communist China and postwar Japan and becoming the accidental owner of a restaurant.

Shuk : from market to table, the heart of Israeli home cooking
Admony, Einat,
Call Number: 641.59569 A238

Shuk is a market place, and an Israeli market has fresh food products and spices that represent Persia, Yemen, Libya, Palestine, various Balkan countries and parts of North Africa. These ingredients contribute to marvelous recipes that shake up the palate and taste buds in an unexpected way. Part of the narrative description for each recipe includes information about the country or culture of origin. Full-page color photographs make you want to start cooking now.

And still I cook /
Chase, Leah.
Call Number: 641.59763 C487-1

Leah Chase was known as the Queen of Creole Cuisine, and was inducted into the James Beard Foundation. Her restaurant, Dooky Chase, was a gathering spot during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.

Voracious : a hungry reader cooks her way through great books
Nicoletti, Cara,
Call Number: 641.5 N643

Cara Nicoletti loves food and its preparation, and she loves to read all kinds of books.  As a butcher, pastry chef and omnivorous foodie she combines two passions in this homage to food and literatue, which has recipes plus vibrant illustrations by Marion Bolognesi.

What she ate : six remarkable women and the food that tells their stories
Shapiro, Laura,
Call Number: 641.09 S529

By focusing on the different diets of six famous women Laura Shapiro looks into their lives and minds. Helen Gurley Brown, editor of Cosmopolitan, spent her life dieting. Eleanor Roosevelt wasn’t interested in fine dining, but she did want to support Americans during the Depression, so she served some of the least appealing meals ever in the White House, because they were frugal. Food preparation has been women’s work for a long time. Laura Shapiro makes it an expression of women’s lives and choices too.


The widow Clicquot : the story of a champagne empire and the woman who ruled it
Mazzeo, Tilar J.
Call Number: 663.2092 C636Ma
Veuve Clicquot is one of the best-known and highly rated champagnes, however the story of its creator has been something of a mystery. New research reveals the portrait of a determined, bright and shrewd businesswoman who lived during a turbulent period in French history and created an enduring heritage.