Coinciding with the fiftieth anniversary of the trailblazing restaurant Mother Courage of New York City, Ingredients for Revolution: A History of American Feminist Restaurants, Cafes, and Coffeehouses is the first history of the more than 230 feminist and lesbian-feminist restaurants, cafes, and coffeehouses that existed in the United States from 1972 to the present. As key sites of cultural and political significance, this volume shows the essential role these institutions served for multiple social justice movements including women’s liberation, LGBTQ equality, and food justice, as well as for training women workers and entrepreneurs.
This systematic study outlines the crucial steps it took to establish these businesses during eras when sexism was so institutionalized it was difficult for unmarried women to obtain a bank loan, while also showing the continuities and influences of past businesses on contemporary places. Through an examination of important establishments across America, Alex D. Ketchum first examines the foundational principles behind these businesses, noting key differences between cooperative, for-profit, and non-profit models. She then looks to issues of financing, labour, pay, food sourcing, and cultural programming to understand how these organizations reconciled feminist beliefs with capitalism and how they strove for more equitable and sustainable business practices.
Brimming with illuminating archival research, interviews with influential restaurateurs, and illustrated with photographs, menus, posters, and calendars, Ingredients for Revolution is a fundamental work of women’s history, food history, and cultural history.