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Although My Kitchen Wars is a war story, this time the warrior is a woman and the battleground the kitchen. Her weaponsâthe batterie de cuisine of grills and squeezers and knivesâevoke a lifetimeâs need to make dinner, love, and war. By prying open the past with these implements, Betty Fussell gives voice to a generation of women whose stories were shaped and yet simultaneously silenced by an era of domestic strife and global conflict, from World War II to Vietnam.
My Kitchen Wars also is a love story, recounting Fussellâs liberation from the tyrannical Puritanism of her family by a veteran of the âGood War,â a young writer named Paul Fussell. But she soon finds herself captive again, constrained by the roles of faculty wife and mother. Still, she cannot stop hungering for both a life of the mind and carnal pleasures. Her inner war to unite body and mind brings down the marriage in a denouement as brutal as the whack of a cleaver. Yet Fussell, however bruised, emerges to cook another dinner and to tell her tale in this fierce and funny memoir. My Kitchen Wars was adapted into a one-woman play performed in Hollywood and New York.