Donated Book Now Available at Samuels Public Library

Front Royal Women's Resource Center and Nan Hathaway co-sponsor donations to Samuels Public Library that are by or about women.

Nan Hathaway, Book Donation Sponsor & Coordinator, chooses our books each year. Thank You Nan! 

We highlight one of these books each month. Our Book Reviews and Commentaries are provided by JoEllen McNeal. Thank you JoEllen!

Women in the Kitchen: Twelve Essential Cookbook Writers Who Defined the Way We Eat, from 1661 to Today

By Anne Willan



“Most of the cooking of the world is done by women.  I myself was taught by women cooks; my mother and aunts ran their own restaurants.  Women in the Kitchen is an enlightening, fascinating journey with the formidable women cooks who made history by creating the rich and complex cuisine of today’s America.”  - Jacques Pepin


Ann Willan, award-winning culinary historian, cookbook writer, teacher, and founder of La Varenne Cooking School, traces the origins of American cooking through profiles of twelve influential cookbook authors whose recipes and ideas changed the way we eat.


Women in the Kitchen explores the development of home cooking from the first published cookbook in 1661 to the early colonial days to the transformative popular works by Fannie Farmer, Irma Rombauer, Julia Child, Edna Lewis, Marcella Hazan, and Alice Waters.

Willan offers a brief biography of each woman, highlighting her key contributions, seminal books, and representative dishes.   The book features fifty original recipes, followed by updated versions Willan has tested and modernized for the contemporary kitchen.  Recipes include Lydia Child’s Baked Indian Pudding from the early 1800’s, Fanny Farmer’s 1896 Original Boston Cream Pie, Irma Rombauer’s 1931 Meatloaf, Julia Child’s Cream of Mushroom Soup, and Alice Water’s Cured Salmon with Cucumber Salad to name just a few of the delicious dishes you will find here.

This engaging narrative moves seamlessly through the centuries to help readers understand the ways cookbook authors inspired one another.  It reveals how each woman in part owe their places in history to those who came before them and how they forever changed the culinary landscape.


Anne Willan founded La Varenne Cooking School in Paris in 1975 and has written more than thirty books, including the double James Beard Award-winning The Country Cooking of France, The Gourmand –Award winning The Cookbook Library, and the groundbreaking La Varenne Pratique, as well as the Look & Cook
series, showcased on PBS.  In 2013 she was inducted into the James Beard Foundation Hall of Fame.

Women in the Kitchen: Twelve Essential Cookbook Writers Who Defined the Way We Eat, from 1661 to Today By Anne Willan
2022 June Book Commentary