Review: “Girly Drinks: A World History of Women and Alcohol” by Mallory O’Meara

Release Date: October 19, 2021
Publisher: Hanover Square Press
Genre: Non-Fiction

Description

Strawberry daiquiris. Skinny martinis. Vodka sodas with lime. These are the cocktails that come in sleek-stemmed glasses, bright colors and fruity flavors–these are the Girly Drinks.

From the earliest days of civilization, alcohol has been at the center of social rituals and cultures worldwide. But when exactly did drinking become a gendered act? And why have bars long been considered “places for men” when, without women, they might not even exist?

With whip-smart insight and boundless curiosity, Girly Drinks unveils an entire untold history of the female distillers, drinkers and brewers who have played a vital role in the creation and consumption of alcohol, from ancient Sumerian beer goddess Ninkasi to iconic 1920s bartender Ada Coleman. Filling a crucial gap in culinary history, O’Meara dismantles the long-standing patriarchal traditions at the heart of these very drinking cultures, in the hope that readers everywhere can look to each celebrated woman in this book–and proudly have what she’s having.

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Food History of Napa County, California

My second book, Lost Restaurants of Napa Valley and their Recipes, was published. six months ago today! Like my first book, Hidden History of Napa Valley, it looks the history of marginalized communities in Napa County. However, Lost Restaurants focuses on food history. As I wrote in the preface, this book is concerned with “the people who grew and harvested the ingredients, the cooks who prepared it, the staff who served it, the restaurateur who manages the business, the first people who invented with the original dish, and the people who appropriated it into something else.”

In honor of the six month publication anniversary, I thought I’d post a few excerpts from Lost Restaurants.

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Napa’s Black community fought for freedom from the start

The hashtag #BlackLivesMatter is new, but the underlying principle is not. Do not wait for the system to change itself, those early Black Napans said. Make the system change.

Resistance goes hand in hand with Blackness, just as condemning those who resist often goes hand in hand with anti-Blackness. Since the first enslaved Africans were brought to American shores, Black people have pushed back against systematic oppression. The enslaved rebelled against slaveholders and ran away from plantations. The free fought for the right to vote and the right to live free and in any neighborhood they wanted…

Read the rest of this op-ed in the Napa Valley Register.

Learn more about the history of Napa’s marginalized communities in my two books: Hidden History of Napa Valley and Lost Restaurants of Napa Valley and Their Recipes.

Black History in Napa County, California

In light of everything going on, I decided to offer an excerpt of my chapter on Black history in Napa County, California, from my book Hidden History of Napa Valley, out 2019. I did extensive research for this chapter and it covers 1846-1940. This chapter is not a meditation on The Struggle (TM), but a celebration of Black culture, traditions, and survival.

In April 2020, my second book, Lost Restaurants of Napa Valley and their Recipes, was published. Like Hidden History, it also looks the history of marginalized communities in Napa County, but it focuses on food history.

If you can, please buy my books through an independent book store. And if you’re not Black and in need of some anti-racist resources, there are a ton available on twitter.

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Review: “Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You: A Remix of the National Book Award-Winning ‘Stamped from the Beginning’” by Jason Reynolds, Ibram X. Kendi

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Release Date: March 10, 2020
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Genre: Non-Fiction, Young Adult

Continue reading “Review: “Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You: A Remix of the National Book Award-Winning ‘Stamped from the Beginning’” by Jason Reynolds, Ibram X. Kendi”