Betty Fussell enjoying a Pinot at Alma Rosa Tasting Room in Buellton, CA Photo by Amy Dickerson

Betty Fussell enjoying a Pinot at Alma Rosa Tasting Room in Buellton, CA

Photo by Amy Dickerson

For the past fifty years, Betty Fussell has been writing articles and books on movies, theater and food. Her most recent book is Raising Steaks: The Life &Times of American Beef (2008). In this book she takes up the historical epic she began in The Story of Corn (1992), which won the IACP’s Jane Grigson Award for Scholarship. In between she wrote a food memoir, My Kitchen Wars (1999), which was performed in Hollywood and New York as a one-woman show by actress Dorothy Lyman.

In 2007 she won a James Beard Foundation Award for Journalism for “American Prime” in Saveur's Steak Issue. She was recently celebrated, along with other winners of the Silver Spoon Award, by Food Arts Magazine, for which she has long been a Contributing Authority. Over the decades, her essays on food, travel, movies, theater and the arts have appeared in scholarly journals, popular national magazines and major newspapers including The New York Times, Los Angles Times, Travel + Leisure, Connoisseur, Journal of Gastronomy,  Country Journal, Food & Wine, Bon Appetit, Gourmet, Saveur, Redbook, Ladies Home Journal, More, Metropolitan Home, Edible Manhattan, Hudson Review. She’s also written on a variety of subjects related to women for Lear's, Cosmopolitan and Vogue. She has lectured at various places such as the Natural History Museum of the Smithsonian, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Princeton University Art Museum, New York Historical Society, Dartmouth College, New York University, French Culinary Institute, Culinary Institute of America, National Arts Club, 98th Street Y and Institute of Culinary Education.

Born in Southern California in 1927, Fussell grew up in Riverside, took her BA at Pomona College and an MA at Radcliffe College. After teaching English at Connecticut College and Douglass College, she finished her PhD at Rutgers University and taught there before moving to New York City, where she taught literature and film at the New School for Social Research and writing at Columbia University. In the 1980s she left teaching to write full time. Her first book, Mabel: Hollywood's First I Don't Care Girl (1982) was a biography of Mabel Normand, the silent movie comedienne. Since then, she has won fellowships to MacDowell Colony, Millay Colony for the Arts, Yaddo, Villa Montalvo, Hawthornden Castle International Retreat for Writers and Djerassi Resident Artists Program.

She lives in Santa Barbara, California.