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One of the most enjoyable articles I've written lately was on the topic of a war leader who never set foot on a battlefield. The leader's name was Marguerite Patten, and she became an icon in World War II Britain through her tireless work teaching citizens how to eat well amid the chaos of conflict. The best known 'home economist' of the day there, she was an informative and  engaging presenter who helped millions eat for health despite food scarcities. Banana cream pie with no bananas and no cream? That was no problem for Ms. Patten, who knew that parsnips can taste very much like bananas.

I discovered Ms Patten during my research for my book Mobilize Food! Wartime Inspiration for Environmental Victory Today ( and realized what a key role she played.  After all, you can't win a war if you're hungry.  And wartime shortages meant everyone needed to shop and eat in new ways.  An expert at a time women were not expected to possess expertise, she elevated traditional gendered work by showing how important it was to maintaining life and to winning the war. She demonstrated that food work is meaningful work.

My article was published in the awesome online Feminist Food Journal, and you can read it here:

Happy food prep!


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