My Kitchen Wars


My Kitchen Wars

A Memoir

Betty Fussell
Introduction by Laura Shapiro

At Table Series

264 pages


March 2009


$19.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

Although My Kitchen Wars is a war story, this time the warrior is a woman and the battleground the kitchen. Her weapons—the batterie de cuisine of grills and squeezers and knives—evoke a lifetime’s need to make dinner, love, and war. By prying open the past with these implements, Betty Fussell gives voice to a generation of women whose stories were shaped and yet simultaneously silenced by an era of domestic strife and global conflict, from World War II to Vietnam.
My Kitchen Wars also is a love story, recounting Fussell’s liberation from the tyrannical Puritanism of her family by a veteran of the “Good War,” a young writer named Paul Fussell. But she soon finds herself captive again, constrained by the roles of faculty wife and mother. Still, she cannot stop hungering for both a life of the mind and carnal pleasures. Her inner war to unite body and mind brings down the marriage in a denouement as brutal as the whack of a cleaver. Yet Fussell, however bruised, emerges to cook another dinner and to tell her tale in this fierce and funny memoir. My Kitchen Wars was adapted into a one-woman play performed in Hollywood and New York.

Author Bio

Betty Fussell has lectured widely on food and food history and won the 2008 James Beard Award for “Magazine Feature Writing with Recipes.” She is the author of eleven books, including Masters of American Cookery: M. F. K. Fisher, James Beard, Craig Claiborne, Julia Child (available in a Bison Books edition), The Story of Corn, and Raising Steaks.
Laura Shapiro is the author of Julia Child (winner of the Literary Book Award from the International Association of Culinary Professionals) and several other books.


“This work features dark humor and stunning gastronomic descriptions that will speak to Fussell’s contemporaries and astonish younger generations fighting different battles today.”—Library Journal

“The author (and chef) knows how to get the most from her ingredients, and she uses not only irony but also self-deprecating humor and poignant understatement with delicate precision.”—Booklist

"Fussell serves up the story of her life with the same cutting wit and pungent detail that distinguish her cookbooks."--Elle

“[Fussell] marks the passage of time through foods eaten, tastes discovered, pots and pans employed—and then ladles on salacious detail as the gravy. This is juicy stuff.”—New York Times Book Review

"Fussell has led a fascinating life during interesting times, and tells her story with a down-to-earth realness and inhibition that keeps you engrossed from decade to decade. . . . There is no question who has come out on top in this war."—Carolyn W. Fanelli,

Table of Contents

Assault and Battery
To Arms with Squeezer and Slicer
Annihilation by Pressure Cooker
Blitzed by Bottle Caps and Screws
Invasion of the Waring Blenders
Ambushed by Rack and Tong
Hot Grills
Attack by Whisk and Cuisinart
To Sea in a Sieve
Cold Cleavers
Breaking and Entering with a Wooden Spoon

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