A moving reflection on motherhood, friendship, and women making their mark on the world of food from the author of Feast.
Food writer Hannah Howard is at a pivotal moment in her life when she begins searching out her fellow food people—women who’ve carved a place for themselves in a punishing, male-dominated industry. Women whose journeys have inspired and informed Hannah’s own foodie quests. On trips that take her from Milan to Bordeaux to Oslo and then always back again to her home in New York City, Hannah spends time with these influential women, learning about the intimate paths that led them each toward fulfilling careers. Each chef, entrepreneur, barista, cheesemaker, barge captain, and culinary instructor expands our long-held beliefs about how the worldwide network of food professionals and enthusiasts works.
But amid her travels, Hannah finds herself on a heart-wrenching private path. Her plans to embark on motherhood bring her through devastating lows and unimaginable highs. Hannah grapples with personal joy, loss, and a lifelong obsession with food that is laced with insecurity and darker compulsions. Looking to her food heroes for solace, companionship, and inspiration, she discovers new ways to appreciate her body and nourish her life.
At its heart, this lovely and candid memoir explores food as a point of passion and connection and as a powerful way to create community, forge friendships, and make a family.
Praise for Plenty
“Howard recounts her struggles to have a baby with a refreshing candidness that inspires hope, even when recalling her most desperate moments. Readers will fall in love with Howard’s astute perspective on food, love, and the richness both bring to life.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Food is so often used as a lens for men to explore our world, but Plenty subverts the genre and gives us a memoir that dives into the complex feminine humanity of the people who bring us what we eat and drink. Hannah Howard’s winding path to marriage and motherhood is punctuated by glorious women, from the Italian chef who left the machismo of restaurants to create a virtual cooking school to the lesbian barista whose fertility struggles dovetail with her business-building. The beguiling culinary descriptions pull you in, but the true magic of this book is in the way food—and the ragtag, often initially rootless people who make it—can create family. Plenty is both a deeply personal memoir and an inquisitive illumination of other women’s stories, and Hannah’s unflinching vulnerability will have you rooting for her the whole way through.” —Ali Rosen, Potluck with Ali
“Hannah Howard’s Plenty is both an examination of a problem—the lack of exposure and acclaim that women working in food industries consistently experience—and a solution for that problem, as Howard introduces her readers to a global network of incredible women chefs, baristas, cheesemakers, and more. Plenty is much more than just a puff (pastry) piece, however. Like a great meal, Plenty also has subtle bitter and sour notes, as Howard lays bare her own personal challenges working in the industry. A must read for anyone who loves food, restaurants, and feminism.” —Hugh Ryan, author of When Brooklyn Was Queer
“Reading Hannah Howard’s work is like spending time with a good friend whose honesty and warmth reawaken us to the vivid colors of life—to friendship, heartache, and love, and to life’s many sensual pleasures, not least among them food. We come to the end of Plenty ready to face the day, whatever it brings.” —Clifford Thompson, author of What It Is: Race, Family, and One Thinking Black Man’s Blues
“Hannah Howard’s food writing is always so delicious, joyful, and a delight to read. In Plenty she also writes beautifully about women she admires, who work in all different aspects of the food world, from a hip Brooklyn coffee house to a Vermont goat farm, to a French barge. These tales of friendship and great meals are woven together with the story of her own journey towards motherhood. It’s a reminder to all of us that true nourishment, and fulfillment, comes when women support one another, and empower each other to take up all the space we need in the world.” —Virginia Sole-Smith, author of The Eating Instinct
“Reading Hannah Howard is like a visit with the best kind of old friend—one with a heartfelt and charming story to tell.” —Robert Kolker, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Hidden Valley Road
“A celebration of food, women, and their unique contributions to the food world, Plenty details Hannah’s journey through pregnancy, motherhood, and life in New York intertwined with her passion for food in an honest and relatable way, with both heart-warming and heart-aching stories. She weaves in tales of other women’s career paths in the food industry, whether in Spain, Norway, or NYC, highlighting the steps taken to achieve their dreams. Their stories of success and the countless challenges they faced are inspiring and helpful for anyone who is considering a career in food.” —Yasmin Fahr, author of Keeping It Simple
Praise for Hannah Howard
“From places as far-flung as Norway and as near as New Jersey, Hannah Howard celebrates romance, family, good work and good food, growing up, and making a home in a voice that is hopeful and generous and true. Plenty is a book for lovers and friends, husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, daughters and sons. It will fill you up and give you reason to carry on.” —Dinah Lenney, author of The Object Parade
“What’s clear in Plenty is Hannah’s love of all things food, not only gigantic alpine wheels and the sizzle of a knob of butter in a hot pan, but her passion for storytelling around food and her respect for the many women warriors pioneering in what has long been a male-dominated industry. Plenty is an important book—a long-overdue tribute to the inspiring tribes of women in the food world. It’s also a deeply personal book. For Hannah, food is not only an obsession but a darker compulsion. As she says herself, her love for food is profound and profoundly complicated. In Plenty, Hannah writes with vulnerability, generosity, and unhindered emotion as readers bear witness to the ups and downs of her journey toward motherhood—from recovering from an eating disorder to the anticipation of finding a partner in New York, from the harrowing experience of miscarriage to the birth of her daughter in the middle of a global pandemic. This memoir made my heart swell.” —Natasha Scripture, author of Man Fast
“Hannah Howard writes with exceptional candor, insight, and intelligence.” —Rosie Schaap, author of Drinking with Men
“Hannah Howard brilliantly captures the complicated relationships so many of us have with food, love, sex, and ourselves in lyrical prose that will make you hungry for more.” —Kimberly Rae Miller, author of Beautiful Bodies