Marion Cunningham (author)

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Marion Cunningham
BornMarion Enwright
(1922-02-11)February 11, 1922
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Died July 11, 2012(2012-07-11) (aged 90)
Walnut Creek, California, U.S.
Nationality American
Occupation Food writer
Years active 19792012
Notable work The Fannie Farmer Cookbook , 12th and 13th editions; Fannie Farmer Baking Book; The Breakfast Book; The Supper Book
Television Cunningham & Company
Spouse(s) Robert Cunningham (m. 1942-1988; his death)
Children 2

Marion Cunningham (née Enwright; February 7, 1922 [1] – July 11, 2012 [2] [3] ) was an American food writer.

United States Federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.


Cunningham was responsible for the 1979 and 1990 revisions of the Fannie Farmer Cookbook , and was the author of The Breakfast Book, The Supper Book, and Cooking with Children, among several others. She frequently traveled throughout America giving cooking demonstrations (some with James Beard); contributed articles to Bon Appetit , Food & Wine , and Gourmet magazines; wrote a regular column for the San Francisco Chronicle and the Los Angeles Times ; and hosted a television series, Cunningham & Company, on the Food Network. [ citation needed ]

James Beard American chef

James Andrews Beard was an American cook, cookbook author, teacher and television personality. Beard was a champion of American cuisine who taught and mentored generations of professional chefs and food enthusiasts. His legacy lives on in twenty books, other writings and his foundation's annual James Beard awards in a number of culinary genres.

<i>Food & Wine</i> magazine

Food & Wine is a monthly magazine published by Meredith Corporation. It was founded in 1978 by Ariane and Michael Batterberry. It features recipes, cooking tips, travel information, restaurant reviews, chefs, wine pairings and seasonal/holiday content and has been credited by The New York Times with introducing the dining public to "Perrier, the purple Peruvian potato and Patagonian toothfish".

Gourmet magazine was a monthly publication of Condé Nast and the first U.S. magazine devoted to food and wine. Founded by Earle R. MacAusland (1890–1980), Gourmet, first published in January 1941, also covered "good living" on a wider scale.

In 1993, Cunningham received the Grand Dame award from Les Dames d'Escoffier "in recognition and appreciation of her extraordinary achievement and contribution to the culinary arts." In 1994, she was named Scholar-in-Residence by the International Association of Culinary Professionals. [4] [5]

Les Dames d'Escoffier is a society of professional women involved in the food, wine, and hospitality industries.

Early life

She was born February 11, 1922 in Los Angeles, California to Joseph and Maryann (née Spelta) Enwright. Her mother was frail. Her father later became an invalid and an alcoholic. [6] She graduated from high school in Los Angeles. [7] After her 1942 marriage to Robert Cunningham, they moved to San Diego, where he served in the US Marine Corps. Robert became a medical malpractice lawyer and the couple settled in Walnut Creek, California. [8]

Walnut Creek, California City in California, United States

Walnut Creek is a city in Contra Costa County, California, United States, located in the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area, about 16 miles east of the city of Oakland. With a total estimated population of 69,122, Walnut Creek serves as a hub for its neighboring cities because of its location at the junction of the highways from Sacramento and San Jose (I-680) and San Francisco/Oakland (SR-24) and its accessibility by BART. Its active downtown neighborhood features hundred-year-old buildings and extensive high-end retail establishments, restaurants and entertainment venues.


Before 1972, she spent most of her time as a homemaker and mother. She said of her husband's food sense, "He doesn't like homemade bread and he doesn't like vegetables. The only green thing he says he likes is money." [7] They had two children, Mark and Catherine. She was afflicted with agoraphobia. She also overcame a drinking problem and then avoided alcohol entirely. [8]

Agoraphobia phobic disorder involving the specific anxiety about being in a place or situation where escape is difficult or embarrassing or where help may be unavailable.

Agoraphobia is an anxiety disorder characterized by symptoms of anxiety in situations where the person perceives their environment to be unsafe with no easy way to escape. These situations can include open spaces, public transit, shopping centers, or simply being outside their home. Being in these situations may result in a panic attack. The symptoms occur nearly every time the situation is encountered and last for more than six months. Those affected will go to great lengths to avoid these situations. In severe cases people may become completely unable to leave their homes.


In 1972, when she was about 50 years old, she started on the path that would make her famous in the cooking world. She took a cooking class from James Beard. For the next 11 years, she became his assistant and she helped him establish cooking classes in the Bay Area. Upon Beard's recommendation, she was hired to rewrite the classic Fannie Farmer Cookbook for modern audiences. Her revisions were published in 1979 and 1990, respectively. [7] [8]


Cunningham died of respiratory problems, a complication of her Alzheimer's disease, at John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek, California, at the age of 90. [2] [3]

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  1. Bauer, Michael (2012-02-07). "Honoring an icon: Marion Cunningham is 90 today". Inside Scoop SF.
  2. 1 2 Finz, Stacy (July 11, 2012). "American cooking legend Marion Cunningham dies at 90". San Francisco Chronicle.
  3. 1 2 Severson, Kim (July 11, 2012). "Marion Cunningham, an Advocate for Home Cooking, Dies at 90". New York Times.
  4. "Marion Cunningham (Author of The Fannie Farmer Cookbook)". Retrieved 2012-07-11.
  5. "Marion Cunningham biography". Retrieved 2012-07-11.
  6. Michael Bauer (July 13, 2012). "Marion Cunningham: food champion to many". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved July 14, 2012.
  7. 1 2 3 Mary Rourke (July 12, 2012). "Marion Cunningham dies at 90; icon of American cooking". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 14, 2012.
  8. 1 2 3 Kim Severson (July 11, 2012). "Marion Cunningham, Home Cooking Advocate, Dies at 90". New York Times. Retrieved July 14, 2012.