Beatrix Potter wove one of her most malicious tales around the roly-poly pudding. Colette counted the nuts she would pick before falling asleep in the French countryside. Dorothy Wordsworth noted her pie-making sessions in her diary and Anne Frank observed the eating habits of her companions in hiding. Food is a constant in our lives, and it has always been a basic ingredient of women's writing - in household books, cookbooks, diaries, letters and fiction. In this, the first anthology to concentrate on international food writing by women, you can go on a picnic with Monica Ali, learn about Frida Kahlo's wedding feast and indulge your appetites with Edwidge Danticat and Barbara Pym. Try making Elisabeth Luard's Afghan Betrothal Custard, Martha Washington's marzipan birds or Nigella Lawson's favourite comfort food. And why not sneak into the literary kitchens of Banana Yoshimoto, Emily Bronte and Angela Carter? Something's cooking. . .