The 27th of September is the birthday of Clementine Paddleford.
Paddleford pioneered writing about food as an interesting, fun topic in itself, working at the top of the media game for the New York Herald-Tribune and Gourmet Magazine. She learned to fly a plane so that she could fly around the United States to do her own research.
Working 12 hour days, she drank endless strong French- and Italian-style coffee, and would eat anything she needed to try for her columns, be it bear, beaver or snake. But she drew a line at eating bugs.
She had a strong, florid, fanciful style of writing, but no one dared change a word of what she wrote, or they got an earful.
Paddleford covered a turbulent time in American history, writing about food through the depression, the war, and the post-war transformation of the American food scene. And in the middle of it, she battled and survived throat cancer, though its aftermath required her wearing a ribbon around her neck for the rest of her life and learning how to talk all over again. But she refused to let that slow down her career.
When she died, her personal reference library of about 1900 cookbooks and all her papers went to Kansas State University.
Learn more about this remarkable career woman and pioneer in the field of food writing.
See also: Biography of Clementine Paddleford
Alexander, Kelly and Cynthia Harris. “Hometown Appetites.” New York: Gotham Books. 2008. (Link valid as of August 2021)