In Womens Hands. Nourishing, healing and poisoning from the Middle Ages to today
“I was moved to write this book not just by scholarly curiosity but also by the desire to get cooking – felt by a generation no longer compelled to do it on a daily basis – and by the amazingly varied production of texts, often penned by women, in which recipes, memories and literary analyses create a powerful mix.”
In the hands of women trapped for centuries in the kitchen, food has been a daily toil, but also a tool for taking initiatives and “adjusting” relationships. The effects of this enduring exchange between women and food reverberate to the present day.
Muzzarelli explores the history of women’s relationship with food: prepared or produced to nourish, but also made using ingredients that have been ably manipulated to restore to health, revitalize spent passions, or even, at times, to kill.
Drawing on a wealth of sources (including legal proceedings, treaties, paintings and literary works) this book is a journey back in time from the present day to the centuries of Hildegard of Bingen, the eleventh, or of Matteuccia, witch of Castello di Ripabianca, the fifteenth.
A book that proffers knowledge without spoiling our appetite, to instil in women for whom cooking means nourishing and preserving their own and other’s health, the awareness that theirs is also a philosophical endeavour (as the seventeenth century monk Juana Inés de la Cruz once asserted). To allow them to feel that they are part of a collective history, capable of adding the taste of freedom and knowledge to the food placed on the table.