Julia Child.Kate Sekules, Gourmet Live guest blogger
Men have the big toques, but when you think about it, it's women who may have exerted the most influence over our foodways--especially since there's been mass media to record their feats.
So here's our top 50 countdown of the most important women in food. Period. It's the view from the United States, but with key players from other cultures. Agree? Disagree? Let us know what you think.
1. Julia Child
The great Julia needs no introduction. Especially not after the great Meryl played her in the movie.
2. Alice Waters
The great Alice needs no introduction. OK, just this: Chez Panisse, farmers' markets, locavore movement, Edible Schoolyard. As yet, they've only made documentary movies about her life.
3. Fannie Farmer
If it weren't for her we'd still be cooking with "handfuls" and "pinches." Farmer's 1896 Boston Cooking-School Cook Book introduced standardized measurements. She also explained the chemical stuff a century before Harold McGee.
Related: Don't Wash Chicken Before You Cook It--And 9 Other Surprising Tips
4. Martha Stewart
Cooking as an ingredient of homemaking; homemaking as a craft; crafts as a competitive sport; the art of multimedia saturation--all this we blame on Martha.
5. M.F.K. Fisher
Mary Frances Kennedy Fisher invented food writing. All food bloggers would like to be her.
6. Marcella Hazan
Marcella made Italian make sense. She broke it down for us, explained the regions, and her meticulous recipes are so reliable. She banished the red-sauce image forever.
7. Madhur Jaffrey
As Marcella is to Italy, so is Madhur to the Indian subcontinent. She also is a great spokesperson for vegetarian, and assorted other Asian cuisines. And she is beautiful. And can act.
See Also: The Secret Reason Fro Yo May Be Sabotaging Your Diet
8. Judith Jones
Without her there may have been no Julia (not to mention Hazan, Jaffrey, and so many more), because Jones was Child's early, only champion, and lifelong editor. She also rescued Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl from the slush pile, but that's another story.
9. Irma S. Rombauer
In all its eight versions, and all its 75+ years (and counting), Joy of Cooking is arguably the essential American cookbook. Irma wrote (and published) the first version in 1931, giving birth-literally-to a culinary dynasty.
10. Hannah Glasse and Mrs. Beeton
Mrs. Glasse's The Art of Cookery (1747) and Mrs. Isabella Beeton's Book of Household Management (1861) are Important Foundation Cookbooks.
Too see the rest of the Top 50 list, click here.
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Photo Credit: Conde Nast Digital Studio
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