Cunningham (1922–2012) started her professional career at age 50 after taking a
cooking class with James Beard. He was so impressed with her cooking that he
hired her as his assistant, a position she held for the next 11 years. On
Beard’s recommendation, Random House selected Cunningham to edit the 13th
edition of The Fannie Farmer Cookbook
(1979). Its success inspired Cunningham to write her own cookbooks, including
two for people who have never cooked before. Her dedication to home cooking led
editor Ruth Reichl to proclaim, “If Beard was the father of American cooking,
Cunningham became its mother.” Speakers include Judith Jones,
senior editor and vice president, Knopf; Laura Shapiro, author of Something from the Oven;
and Anne Mendelson, author of Milk: The Surprising Story of Milk Through the Ages.
Moderated by New School Food Studies faculty member Andrew F. Smith.
Culinary Luminaries series celebrates outstanding figures in the world of food
and gastronomy. Past panels have been devoted to James Beard, Julia Child,
M.F.K. Fisher, Craig Claiborne, Joseph Baum, Clementine Paddleford, Pellegrino
Artusi, Robert Mondavi, and Henri Soulé.