My Kitchen Wars is a war story, but the warrior is a woman, and the battleground is the kitchen. Her weapons - the batterie de cuisine of grills and squeezers and knives - evoke a lifelong need to make dinner, love and war. With these implements, Betty Fussell pries open the past, giving voice to a generation of women whose stories were shaped but also silenced by an era of global conflict, from World War II to Vietnam.
This is also a love story, as Fussell is liberated from the tyrannical puritanism of her family by a veteran of the Good War, a young writer named Paul Fussell. But in the role of bride, Fussell finds herself captive as faculty wife and mother. She hungers for both a life of mind and carnal pleasures. Her inner war to unite body and intellect brings down the marriage, in a denouement as brutal as the whack of a cleaver. Yet Fussell, however bloodied, emerges to cook another dinner and to tell this blackly comic tale.
Betty Fussell is the author of nine books, including The Story of Corn. A contributor to publications ranging from The New York Times to the Journal of Gastronomy, she has lectured widely on food history. She lives in New York City.