Cynthia Bertelsen

An avid cook and cookbook collector, Cynthia D. Bertelsen is a food historian, photographer, and compulsive writer now settled in Gainesville, Florida. Her latest book, *"A Hastiness of Cooks": A Practical Handbook for Use in Deciphering the Mysteries of Historic Recipes and Cookbooks, For Living-History Reenactors, Historians, Writers, Chefs, Archaeologists, and, of Course, Cooks* appeared in April 2019. She lived and worked long-term in Mexico, Paraguay, Honduras, Haiti, Morocco and Burkina Faso. Her book, Mushroom: A Global History, appeared in 2013, published by Reaktion Books UK. Cynthia’s articles and book reviews have appeared in several well-known food-studies encyclopedias, journals, and newspapers, including Gastronomica and The Oxford Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink (2nd edition). In 2011, she won a Julia Child Independent Scholar grant from the International Association of Culinary Professionals to study the impact of France’s colonial heritage on the future of French cuisine. For more of Cynthia’s writing, read her blog “Gherkins and Tomatoes” (, brimming with in-depth analyses of cooking, cookbooks, and food history. Cynthia earned advanced degrees in history, human nutrition and foods, and library science. She also attended a few classes at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris.

Special subjects

History of food, drink, and cooking - mostly American and European, but also African.

Languages spoken

French, Spanish, some Haitian Creole, read Italian and Portuguese

Regular work

Retired - worked as a nutritionist, project manager for international aid projects, Peace Corps trainer, and others.

Advisory boards / Awards

IACP Julia Child Independent Scholar award 2011

Commercial interests