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Why this book gives women food for thought

American writer Charlotte Druckman tells Ella Walker about carving a space for women in food to talk about their industry

Nigella Lawson
Nigella Lawson
Women on Food

By Ella Walker

When the #MeToo movement hit the food world at the end of 2017, New York food writer Charlotte Druckman realised that, whether they worked in restaurants or wrote about the industry, women were confined.

So, she decided to "create a place for other women in my industry to write what they wanted, how they wanted, and to express themselves freely".

The result is Women On Food, an anthology that brings together 115 women from the world of food, including Nigella Lawson and Ruby Tandoh.

You spoke to Irish writer Diana Henry and Nigella Lawson - why do you love them?

"Nigella and Diana both share a background in journalism and a love of language and literature, and you see that in their food writing. There's poetry and sensuality in their prose and in the recipes themselves. Their passion for food and cooking comes off the page, and it makes you want to keep reading, and, maybe the greater achievement, to cook. There's so much generosity and pleasure in it."

What practical things can we do to make the world of food more inclusive and accessible?

"We've got to change our value system, around food. Even when we're dealing with fast food, which the food media loves to cover as a kind of cheeky nod to what's cheap and popular, we should be looking at how that food gets made, where its ingredients come from, how the people who grow it are treated, and how the people who work in those franchises are treated.

Where does race come into it?

"The collective 'we' of the food media needs to stop presuming the reader is white. It's not enough to assign more writers of colour stories, or cover more people of colour; we have to remember that they are readers, too-they are home cooks, buyers of cookbooks, subscribers to magazines and newspapers."

What's your favourite thing to eat on toast?

"Soft, cool, drippy butter draped with olive oil-packed anchovies - you want some of the anchovy oil to dribble onto the toast and mix in with the melting butter."

  • Women On Food by Charlotte Druckman, published by Abrams Press, £14.99

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