Salty: Lessons on Eating, Drinking, and Living from Revolutionary Women

Salty: Lessons on Eating, Drinking, and Living from Revolutionary Women

If you could have a dinner party with anyone dead or alive, who would it be?

That's the question film critic and food writer Alissa Wilkinson answered as she gathered a hypothetical table of women who challenged norms and defied conventional wisdom.

Ella Baker, Alice B. Toklas, Hannah Arendt, Octavia Butler, Agnes Varda, Elizabeth David, Edna Lewis, Maya Angelou, Laurie Colwin: these smart, engaging, revolutionary, and creative twentieth-century women were all profoundly influenced by their own relationships to food, drink, and other elements of sustenance.

In Salty, Wilkinson explores the ways food managed to root these women into their various callings. For some, it was cultivating perseverance in the face of hardship. For others, it was nurturing a freedom to act, even in the face of opposition, toward justice and equality. For others, it was an examination of what it means to be human with all its desire, heartbreak, sacrifice, isolation, and liberty.

Salty is Alissa Wilkinson's invitation to you. Join these sharp, empowered, and often subversive women and discover how to live with courage, agency, grace, smarts, snark, saltiness, and sometimes feasting--even in uncertain times. Ultimately you will leave this table with a greater understanding of food, drink, gathering, thinking, loving, and navigating the world.

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  • Publisher Broadleaf Books
  • Format Hardcover
  • ISBN 9781506473550
  • Dimensions 5.75 x 8.75
  • Pages 194
  • Publication Date June 28, 2022


"There's much to savor, and Wilkinson's essays are vivid, evocative, and convivial: as she notes, quoting Colwin, 'Without fellowship life is not worth living.' This literary feast will make readers feel like they're pulling up a seat at the table."

Publishers Weekly

"An exquisite mixture of history, food writing and criticism, Salty brings readers into the lives of figures such as Octavia Butler, Hannah Arendt and Maya Angelou through the lens of food. Readers will walk away the way one does from a truly electric dinner party--full yet floating, having tasted the divine in these dishes and experiencing true human connections around the table."

Columbia Tribune

"Wilkinson's book is convincingly delicious. It will make you want to cook--or at least to think about the food you love and why you love it, the company you love and why you love it, and the meaning of the feast in your own life."

The Christian Century