Betty Fussell is an inspiring badass. She’s not just the award-winning author of numerous books ranging in topic from biography and memoir to cookbooks and food history. She’s not just a winner of the James Beard Foundation’s Journalism Award who was inducted into their “Who’s Who of American Food and Beverage” in 2009. And she’s not just an extraordinary person whose fifty years’ worth of essays on food, travel, and the arts have appeared in scholarly journals, popular magazines, and newspapers as varied as the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Saveur, The New Yorker, and Vogue.
This is a woman who at eighty-two years old (and despite being half-blind) went deer hunting for the very first time in the Montana foothills with her son, Sam (as described in her 2010 essay for the New York Times Magazine). She got her deer.
This is a woman who won hearts with her 1988 article for Lear’s in which she said: “For years I had resisted the traditional tour group to China because, as a lover of Chinese food, I was damned if I was going to eat tourist hotel fodder in a country that has produced one of the world’s most magnificent cuisines.”
This is a woman who, in a 2005 essay for Vogue, declared that as a young twenty-one-year-old bride she had taught herself Latin and German from scratch (on top of teaching herself to cook) because “housewifery wasn’t enough.”
And that is what is so incredible about Fussell’s writing — one subject is never enough. Whether she’s writing about her son the body-builder or about the difficulty of killing and cleaning eels, she always leaves you hungry. With an introduction from celebrated chef Alice Waters, Counterpoint is thrilled to publish this anthology of her selected essays.