Public Programs And Events

Remembering Judith Jones, A Culinary Luminary

Remembering Judith Jones, A Culinary Luminary

Theresa Lang Community and Student Center, Arnhold Hall
General Public 

During the last 60 years, no cookbook editor has influenced American culinary life more than did Judith Jones (1924-2017). In her 57 years at Alfred A. Knopf, she launched the careers of many major food writers, beginning with Julia Child, Marcella Hazan, and Madhur Jaffrey. Almost 50 years ago she introduced the British scholar-writer Claudia Roden to American audiences. In 1976 she inaugurated an era of serious investigation into African American cooking with Edna Lewis's The Taste of Country Cooking. She created the ambitious series Knopf Cooks American, which surveyed traditions ranging from Southern baking (Bill Neal's Biscuits, Spoonbread, and Sweet Potato Pie) to the Italian-American kitchens of Rhode Island (Nancy Verde Barr's We Called It Macaroni). She made Lidia Bastianich a household name, and gave cooks an enlarged understanding of American and worldwide Jewish cuisine through her many editor-writer partnerships with Joan Nathan. 

With her husband, Evan Jones, Judith also wrote the cookbooks Knead It, Punch It, Bake It!: The Book of Bread, and The Book of New New England Cookery. Among her solo works were the memoir The Tenth Muse: My Life in Food (2007) and the cookbook The Pleasures of Cooking for One (2009). Judith was inducted into the James Beard Foundation's Cookbook Hall of Fame last year and she won a JBF Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006. 

Panelists include Joan Nathan, author of King Solomon's Table: A Culinary Exploration of Jewish Cooking from Around the World (2017); Ray Sokolov, author of Steal the Menu: A Memoir of Forty Years in Food (2013); Laura Shapiro, author of What She Ate: Six Remarkable Women and the Food That Tells Their Stories (2017); Anne Mendelson, author of Milk: The Surprising Story of Milk Through the Ages (2008); Madhur Jaffrey, author of Vegetarian India: A Journey Through the Best of Indian Home Cooking (2015); and Bronwyn Dunne, Judith Jones's step-daughter. Moderated by New School Food Studies faculty member Andrew F. Smith.

Madhur Jaffrey, once called the “Star of screen and cuisine” by Readers Digest, is a writer, cookbook author, TV chef, illustrator, and an award-winning actress originally from Delhi, India. Her awards and honors include the Silver Bear for Best Actress from the Berlin International Film Festival, an induction into the James Beard Foundation’s Cookbook Hall of Fame, the Burt Greene Award for Food journalism, seven James Beard Best Cookbook Awards, including a Cookbook of the Year Award, and a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) title from Queen Elizabeth II for her contributions to the worlds of acting and cooking. Her many films include Merchant Ivory’s Shakespearewallah, Cotton Mary, and Heat and Dust, as well as Assam Garden, Prime, Flawless, A Late Quartet, and Today’s Special. On TV she has appeared in shows such as Law and Order, New Girl, and Psych in the US and EastEnders, Firm Friends, and Holby City in the UK. Her stage credits include Bombay Dreams on Broadway and Medea and Last Dance at Dum Dum in London. Miss Jaffrey writes for all major food magazines and has written over 20 cookbooks, including An invitation to Indian Cooking, her first, and her latest, Vegetarian India. Her childhood memoir is entitled, Climbing the Mango Trees.

Joan Nathan is the author of eleven cookbooks including her latest work King Solomon’s Table: a Culinary Exploration of Jewish Cooking from Around the World, released in April 2017 by Alfred A. Knopf. A 3-time James Beard Award Winner, her previous cookbook,  Quiches, Kugles and Couscous: MY Search for Jewish Cooking in France (Knopf), was named one of the 10 best cookbooks of 2010 by NPR, Food and Wine, and Bon Appetit Magazines. She is a regular contributor to The New York Times and Tablet Magazine.

Anne Mendelson is a freelance writer, editor, and reviewer specializing in food-related subjects. A contributing editor to the late lamented Gourmet, she has also reviewed cookbooks for The New York Times Dining Section and the Los Angeles Times Food Section. Her books include Stand Facing the Stove, a biography of Irma Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker (Henry Holt, 1996); Milk: The Surprising Story of Milk Through the Ages (Knopf, 2008), and most recently Chow Chop Suey: Food and the Chinese American Journey (Columbia University Press, 2016). She has held fellowships from the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation. She is now working on a book about the history of the raw/pasteurized milk wars for Columbia University Press.

Laura Shapiro was a columnist at The Real Paper (Boston) before beginning a 16-year run at Newsweek, where she covered food, women’s issues and the arts and won several journalism awards. Her essays, reviews and features have also appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Conde Nast Traveler, Gourmet, Gastronomica, Slate and many other publications. Her first book was Perfection Salad: Women and Cooking at the Turn of the Century (1986), which the University of California Press has reissued with a new Afterword. She is also the author of Something from the Oven: Revinventing Dinner in 1950s America (Viking, 2004), and Julia Child (Penguin Lives, 2007), which won the award for Literary Food Writing from the International Association of Culinary Professionals in 2008. Her work is represented in the Library of America's American Food Writing and The Virago Book of Food.  She is a frequent speaker and panelist on culinary history, and contributed a regular column on a wide range of food topics to, the Gourmet magazine website. During 2009-10 she was a fellow at the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library. More recently she was co-curator for "Lunch Hour NYC," an acclaimed exhibition at the NYPL documenting the mingled histories of New York City and the American midday meal. Her latest book is What She AteSix Remarkable Women and the Food That Tells Their Stories (Viking, 2017).

Ray Sokolov was born in Detroit shortly before the air attack on Pearl Harbor, and emigrated to Massachusetts in 1959, where he began a very long association with Harvard that culminated in a PhD in classics in 2005. In the 40 preceding years, he had sidestepped Latin and Greek for English, as a journalist, novelist, biographer and food writer, and French, as a translator of Louis Ferdinand Celine. His gastronomic work appeared primarily in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Natural History. He has written many cookbooks, among them The Saucier's Apprentice and two other titles edited by Judith Jones. He began his career as a correspondent in Paris and a cultural writer for Newsweek and was the founding editor of the daily Leisure and Arts Page of the Wall Street Journal, which he ran from 1983 to 2002. His favorite food is kettle-cooked potato chips, whose modern origins he covered at the Cape Cod factory in Hyannis, MA, for a column in Natural History.

Andrew F. Smith teaches in the Food Studies program at the New School. He is the author or editor of 32 books and encyclopedias, including the award-winning Oxford Encyclopedia on Food and Drink in America (OUP, 2013), Fast Food: The Good, the Bad and the Hungry (Reaktion, 2016) and three-volume Food in America (ABC-CLIO, 2017). He is the editor of the Edible Series and the Food Controversies Series published by Reaktion Books in London.


Sponsored by the Food Studies and the Creative Writing programs at the New School for Public Engagement, in cooperation with the James Beard Foundation, the Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts, the Museum of Food and Drink, and the Institute of Culinary Education.

Photo courtesy of Chester Higgins, Jr./The New York Times.

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