In the wake of Caroline Walker Bynum’s essential studies on the crucial role food played in the lives of medieval religious women, significant attention has been given to the connection between premodern women’s spiritual practices and eating practices. However, the relationship between religious women and food is not limited to body manipulation, inedia or eucharistic frenzy. Indeed, recent critical work has provided accessible translations and critical apparatus necessary for an exploration of food and women’s religiosity that builds on Bynum’s rich foundation and examines the many ways in which women expressed themselves through food, both material and metaphoric. This approach not only allows students to engage with women’s writing through the familiarity and universality of food, but moreover reminds them of the real, living, breathing women behind the texts, thus opening the door to a feminist rereading of texts—not as proto-feminist themselves, but rather in the re-valuing of the substantial contributions of their female authors, who had subtle social awareness, public professional pursuits, and complex and varied relationships with God.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited