Nora Pouillon’s Memoir Reminds Us How Rotten DC Food Used to Be

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Media Outlet: The Washingtonian

Pouillon’s spare, clearly written memoir is built around two complementary narratives. One involves the culinary journey of a country where you can now buy organic sugar by the bag at your neighborhood grocery. The other involves her more personal journey from ingénue housewife to self-made restaurateur. While never as famous as Alice Waters of California’s Chez Panisse, Pouillon had as much influence on our local culinary landscape as, say, Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan had on our physical one. She was so ahead of her time that you feel she hasn’t gotten enough credit. Who knew that Pouillon was a driving force behind the Dupont Circle FreshFarm Market, which, unbelievably, some merchants at first resisted? Or that she was part of the political movement for national standards for organic certification?  


Liza Mundy is a senior fellow at New America, and the former director of the organization’s Breadwinning and Caregiving program. She is the author of Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II.