Saturday, October 30, 2021

Book Review: "Plenty: A Memoir of Food and Family" by Hannah Howard

In Plenty: A Memoir of Food and Family, a food writer pays tribute to the women in the food industry who served as role models or mentors, juxtaposed with key events in her life.

As I’ve said before, I’m totally obsessed with food and cooking (and eating, of course), so when I see a memoir by a chef or food writer (or eater, lol), I, well, devour it. I enjoyed Hannah Howard’s last book, Feast, so I was really excited for this one.

The food industry has always been male-dominated, so Howard thought it was important to highlight the women she has met through her career—chefs, cooking teachers, restaurant/cafe owners, cheese makers, food purveyors, buyers, etc. But while each anecdote is important, Howard also shares her own struggles amidst these profiles.

She discusses what it’s like to be a woman in the food industry who has struggled with an eating disorder, and spends a significant amount of the book addressing the challenges she and her husband faced with having a child. It’s a powerful look at how even when you work in a fascinating field that people may envy, you still can face real problems.

Howard imbues her work with a great deal of emotion, and those who have struggled with fertility and/or eating disorders may find some of the book triggering. I would have liked more food-related content (I have a one-track mind), but this was an interesting read!!

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