The best home cooks of all time

culinary iconsIt can be easy to forget that culinary icons like Julia Child and James Beard were once just home cooks like the rest of us. Epicurious hasn't forgotten, and celebrates these giants along with 98 other great home cooks. Their listing of the 100 best home cooks of all time includes chefs, cookbook writers, and other food-obsessed individuals who shaped the way we cook at home. 

Short profiles of little-known food enthusiasts like Helen Nearing, who promoted vegetarianism before it was cool, are interspersed with longer essays about people who have profoundly influenced home cooking, like Ina Garten and Martin Yan. The list is skewed toward those whose main work was in the United States, but many of these gifted individuals - Paula Wolfert for example - inspired people across the globe. 

While most avid food lovers will recognize the majority of names on the list, there are several you might be introduced to for the first time. Malitta Jensen and Mildred Day, for instance, aren't household names. Yet these two employees of Kellogg's created a treat that everyone knows and loves. The pair invented Rice Krispie treats as part of a company promotional stunt in 1939, and the rest is sweet history. 

Block off some time before you head over to the Epicurious site to view the list because it's a rabbit hole that requires some time to consume. My only gripe about it is that I'd love to read even more about many people on the list who only got a paragraph mention. 


  • Jenny  on  6/12/2017 at 9:13 PM

    We are not on this list - obviously it is flawed.

  • lgroom  on  6/12/2017 at 9:25 PM

    Jenny --- I have to agree with you.

  • Potterhill  on  6/15/2017 at 11:15 AM

    A lot of the people on the list are not home cooks. They have chef training. Not a good list in my mind. I gave up about halfway through.

  • eliza  on  6/23/2017 at 7:47 PM

    I didn't care for this list either, and it did say in the headnote that they were looking at American cooks only. I don't know how many actual "home cooks" there are in this list; and as it turns out, many of my favourite cookbook authors are British.

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