Liberating the recipe: a study of the relationship between food and feminism in the early 1970s

Laurel Forster*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


We know that food communicates: it speaks of culture and class, of social custom and of familial habits; equally importantly it converses on a more intimate level, and relates in manifold ways to our emotions and moods, and even to our sexuality. This article seeks to question whether food might also illuminate the exigencies of a political movement. Indeed, if food, cookery and eating habits can be seen as an 'effective prism through which to illuminate human life' (Counihan,1998,1), then how might food and cookery illuminate the new way of life for women, suggested, campaigned for and dreamt about by the Women's Liberation Movement of the early1970s in Britain? This article discusses the representation of food in recipes and articles appearing in the magazines and newsletters of the 'Feminist Seventies', and suggests that in this context too, food issues might be seen as a barometer of a changing feminism. By examining the range of ways in which food and cookery were utilised in feminist writings and publications, I argue that differing modes of food representation raised different issues, spoke to different political agendas and reflected the complexities of feminism at the time.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Recipe Reader
Subtitle of host publicationNarratives - Contexts - Traditions
EditorsJanet Floyd, Laurel Forster
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9781315237480
ISBN (Print)9780754608646
Publication statusPublished - 2 Mar 2017


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