In ‘Taste Makers,’ Meet the Immigrant Women Who Changed American Food – Reem Kassis

When I first met Mayukh Sen on a windy day in New York City a couple years ago, our conversation flowed like we’d known each other for years. I didn’t understand why at the time. But having blitzed through his new book, Taste Makers: Seven Immigrant Women Who Revolutionized Food in America, at record speed (it’s as riveting as any novel, as page-turning as a thriller, and as moving as an inspirational book), I finally realize why. Sen has a knack for understanding the stories of those across from him in a way often overlooked by others.

In his new book, this James Beard Award–winning writer delves into the stories of seven immigrant women who shaped and changed the way people in America interact with foreign cuisines, but to whom history, and memory, have not always been as kind. Rather than tell their stories from his view, however, Sen has allowed each woman’s voice to tell her own story. In so doing, he brings readers not only a better understanding of the struggles many face in this industry, but also lifts up a mirror, forcing us to question what role we play in perpetuating these issues. As heartbreaking as it is inspiring, this is a book for anyone who cares about food and the people who create it.

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