Laura Shapiro’s account of how food shaped the lives of six notable women could do with spicing up a little.
Between 1933 and 1945, Eleanor Roosevelt served revenge, cold or otherwise, up to three times a day to her philandering husband Franklin, a feat performed courtesy of her housekeeper, Henrietta Nesbitt, who combined a quite stunning lack of talent when it came to the preparation of food with a self-confidence so varnished that when her stint in the White House finally came to an end, she proudly donated her papers, menus and all, to the Library of Congress (Eleanor, who’d hired her personally, would never give in to demands that she be fired). What kind of dishes appear on these menus, exactly? Tempting as it is to devote this review entirely to her ghastly recipes, I’ll simply note here that she once presented as a starter sticks of pineapple rolled in crushed peppermint candy.
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