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Taste Makers: Seven Immigrant Women Who Revolutionized Food in America

Taste Makers: Seven Immigrant Women Who Revolutionized Food in America

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America’s modern culinary history told through the lives of seven pathbreaking chefs and food writers.

Who’s really behind America’s appetite for foods from around the globe? This group biography from an electric new voice in food writing honors seven extraordinary women, all immigrants, who left an indelible mark on the way Americans eat today. Taste Makers stretches from World War II to the present, with absorbing and deeply researched portraits of figures including Mexican-born Elena Zelayeta, a blind chef; Marcella Hazan, the deity of Italian cuisine; and Norma Shirley, a champion of Jamaican dishes.

In imaginative, lively prose, Mayukh Sen—a queer, brown child of immigrants—reconstructs the lives of these women in vivid and empathetic detail, daring to ask why some were famous in their own time, but not in ours, and why others shine brightly even today. Weaving together histories of food, immigration, and gender, Taste Makers will challenge the way readers look at what’s on their plate—and the women whose labor, overlooked for so long, makes those meals possible.


An NPR Best Book of the Year
A New York Times Editors’ Choice pick
Wall Street Journal’s Who Read What: Favorite Books of 2021
Longlisted for the 2022 Brooklyn Public Library Book Prize
Observer Food Monthly’s 50 Things We Love in the World of Food Right Now
Named a best book for the holidays by Wall Street Journal, Vogue, Oprah’s O Quarterly, Globe & Mail, and the Food Network
Named a best food book of 2021 by the Los Angeles Times, KCRW, WBUR’s Here & Now
One of The Millions’ Most Anticipated Books of 2021

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