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Marion Cunningham, home cooking icon, was 90

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The one-time homemaker who overcame agoraphobia and in her 50s embarked on a career that would gain her fame as perhaps the best-known advocate of home cooking, died this morning at a hospital in Walnut Creek, where she lived for decades. She was 90 and had Alzheimer’s disease.

Cunningham’s late start in the kitchen—professionally speaking—was kicked-started after she took a cooking class with James Beard in Oregon. She later became his assistant, and over the years became friends with, or mentor to, a host of important chefs.

From the New York Times:

Like many others, Ruth Reichl, the author and former restaurant critic for The New York Times, came to regard Mrs. Cunningham as a mother figure.

“She was the glue that held the nascent food movement together,” Ms. Reichl said, “the touchstone, the person you checked in with to find out who was doing what all over the country.”

Image: Diablo magazine

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