Popovers and Candlelight: Patricia Murphy and the Rise and Fall of a Restaurant Empire
Recounts the true story of an entrepreneurial woman who succeeded in a male-dominated industry in the twentieth century.
What would you do with your last sixty dollars? If you were Patricia Murphy you d turn it into a fortune by buying a rundown Brooklyn diner. On the cusp of the Great Depression, the diner became an overnight sensation, the first of nine popular Patricia Murphy s Candlelight Restaurants that opened over the course of four decades in New York and Florida. Popovers and Candlelight recounts how Murphy bucked Mad Men erasexism in a male-dominated field and created remarkable dining experiences with solid American fare, a talented staff, and eye-popping décor. Dripping in diamonds, she transcended ethnic prejudices to become a socialite and built a brand that sold fragrance as well as food. Mutinous siblings, a desperate manager, and a typhoid outbreak brought it all to an operatic end, but Marcia Biederman restores Murphy and her contributions to their proper place in women s and culinary history. This book will delight readers with its rags-to-riches story and fascinating view of class, gender, ethnicity, and food culture during much of the twentieth century.
An impressive accomplishment on many counts: Biederman describes an important but forgotten chapter in mid-century restaurant history, portrays an outsize, Mildred Pierce like personality, and gives a memorable sense of postwar, populuxe suburbia. Paul Freedman, author of Ten Restaurants That Changed America
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