Clementine Paddleford Have you heard of this woman?
“Never grow a wishbone daughter, where your backbone ought to be.”
She said that. Well, her mother said it and she repeated it.
This has been in my female-power-quote treasure box for years. Sitting next to inspirations from Maya, Georgia, and Gloria. Standing out among them as one of my favorites. So one day, I decided to answer the question – who was Clementine Paddleford? Why did she make it into this box?
She coined the term “hero” for an Italian submarine sandwich.
She’s been described as “ambitious and nosy”.
She changed the food commentary game, long before Barbara Kingsolver, Anthony Bourdain, and Michael Pollan were even born.
She described shrimp as pink commas.
She was diagnosed with laryngeal cancer as a 33- year old, which left her with half a larynx, a hole in her throat, and the inability to speak without pressing a button on the side of her neck.
She wore a black choker (to hide her throat hole) before they were fashionable.
She had a pilot’s license.
She also said, “Every other person is a bundle of longing for the simplicities of good taste once enjoyed on the farm or the hometown they left behind.”…Which pretty much sums up our current generation’s appetite to sit around a table set by our ancestors. Or is that just me?
She is my Italian submarine sandwich, aka my hero. Reminding us to be strong, passionate, and inquisitive.
I urge anyone who is interested to learn more about this amazing woman to read her biography Hometown Appetites: The Story of Clementine Paddleford, the Forgotten Food Writer who Chronicled How America Ate by Kelly Alexander and Cynthia Harris.