I don’t disagree with any of their choices and I’m thrilled they included Paula Deen (although at number 10), Jaden Hair, consummate blogger behind Steamy Kitchen, and Sunny Anderson, who I think is a genuine sweetheart and darn good cook.
I’m not so worried about whether they’re hot or not, or even whether they’re currently active in the cooking world (or any other), but here’s MY list of The Top NINE Women in Food. (I was rooting around for hours trying to think of number ten and I just couldn’t think of someone that matched these nine.)
BTW, Slashfood does say that Julia Child is so far above anyone else that she’s on her own list. I make no such bones and put her at number one.
For some reason (;-) MY list skews a bit older than Slashfood’s. And really, my list is as much about COOKBOOKS, as it about cooks. But that’s how I know these ladies, through their recipes as much as through their biographies or personalities.
My Top Nine Women in Food
1. Julia Child – She excelled on the written page and on television. I also loved her “performances” with other chefs. Her riffs with Jacques Pepin were beyond charming AND educational and I loved how Emeril always bowed and scraped when she was in the kitchen.
2. Irma Rombauer Beck – I often consult The Joy Of Cooking for its version of a given recipe. It’s sheer size and comprehensiveness makes it unusual NOT to find what I’m looking for. Also I have 4 editions of it, so I’m bound to find anything I’m looking for.
3. Madhur Jaffrey – The original Padma Lakshmi. But instead of being simply a television host, she is a bona fide MOVIE STAR, as well as a restaurateur and cookbook author. Her Indian and vegetarian cookbooks are classics. It was from her that I first learned to roast cumin, which is reason enough for her to be on this list.
4. Maida Heatter – She was one of my earliest favorite cookbook authors and wrote so glowingly of brownies, cookies and pies that I would RUN into the kitchen to try her recipes. And it’s not just her chocolate desserts that are outstanding, her Santa Fe Lemon Pie is prize worthy.
6. Lidia Bastianich – Lidia goes into the kitchen and shows us how to cook HER food with a minimum of fuss and frippery. Along the way, she’s opened numerous restaurants, appeared countless times on television and written some glorious books.
8. Ina Garten – She makes everything look so easy and reminds us to use “good” ingredients. Plus her recipes seldom fail AND I love her shiny hair.
9. Rozanne Gold – Her 1996 book, Recipes 1-2-3, was the original 30 Minutes Meals. She's the author of many cookbooks, and I’ve been making several of her recipes for DECADES. They’re delicious, reliable and FAST.