What Women Ate
In this hilarious online show, a nerdy food writer and an outrageous comedian make and eat a meal enjoyed (or detested) by a famous historical woman.
Hilarious, informative, and subversive, WHAT WOMEN ATE is a new digital show hosted by Megan Giller, a food writer and history nerd, who looks at history from the perspective of the kitchen and the people who have always made meals happen: Women. Along with a female comedian guest, Megan invites viewers into her modern-day kitchen, where the audience sees the comedic duo rewrite culinary history through a feminist lens.
Each three-to-five-minute, scripted episode centers on one historical woman and what she ate: Virginia Woolf’s favorite fish, Queen Elizabeth’s beloved dessert, a 17th-century witch’s chocolate love spell, and more. As Megan and her guest use historically accurate recipes to cook and eat the very meal the featured woman ate, we learn how this woman and this dish shaped world herstory. It’s Drunk History meets Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee — but with women!
We begin in the kitchen, and after introducing the lady of the hour, the two discuss the significance of what’s being created as well as how it speaks to women today. Sometimes the recipes are as ridiculous as the cultural norms of the era.
The show weaves light-hearted original illustrations into the narrative as well as historical photos that have been bolstered with original animations for educational comic relief. It also uses voiceover and close-up shots of cooking sequences in order to illustrate how much work it is to cook and to keep the action moving forward. Bouncy music featuring female voices keeps the energy high.
Once the dish is finished, we taste-test it to decide if it’s delicious or — as is often the case — detestable.
The show uses the female body in subversive ways. For example, in the episode about a 17th-century witch, Megan makes a love spell recipe that includes chocolate, burned bird’s hearts, and pubic hair.
In an episode about Queen Elizabeth, Nell Casey (Gothamist, SecretFormula) and Megan make molds of their breasts in order to create Elizabethan boob-shaped desserts called Spanish Paps. We aim to showcase how the female body has been reified and exploited, and we’re not afraid of breaking cultural taboos to do so.
WHAT WOMEN ATE uses humor to showcase how women’s roles in society and their physical bodies have been restricted even as they are exploited, and it gives voice to the women who have challenged those abuses. We are reframing history so it’s not about what white men conquered but what women of all different races, creeds, and cultures cooked and ate. The goal is to show how history impacts modern women’s everyday lives.
Food is an integral part of pop culture, but the format for food television is incredibly tired. Thousands of people are turning out the same programs over and again, without much creativity. We want to innovate and disrupt that format in order to engage our audience in new and thought-provoking ways.
Megan Giller (executive producer, co-writer, host)
Megan Giller is a food writer and the author of Bean-to-Bar Chocolate: America’s Craft Chocolate Revolution. Her work has been published in The New York Times, Slate, and Zagat, and her book has garnered features in Bon Appetit, America’s Test Kitchen, and Smithsonian magazine. She hosts luxury chocolate-tasting events, teaches classes at the Institute of Culinary Education and other locales, and judges at chocolate competitions. Follow her on Instagram at @chocolatenoise.
Katherine Knowles (producer, co-writer)
Katherine Knowles is best known for writing Sky TV’s Mile High, which was the number 1 show in Australia, as well as Newsjack (BBC Radio 4) and The National Lampoon’s Final Edition (I Heart Radio). She is currently developing work for Whoop! Inc. Katherine writes recipes and features for Food52 and The Village Voice. She trained at Cordon Bleu, then majored in English at Oxford — so writing about food is her personal sweet spot.
Amy Peters (editor)
Amy Peters is an Emmy award winning editor and producer of non-fiction and reality TV and documentary film with a solid background in production management and scripted narratives. She has produced projects that include the feature documentary No Cross, No Crown (2009) and the award-winning animated shorts Jack Quack (The Path) (2005) and Corporate Whore (2007). Recently she was an editor on Netflix’s reboot of Queer Eye (2018) and produced and edited Las Vegas Law (2016) for Discovery ID and The Watch (2015) for Nat Geo.
Julia Evanczuk (animations)
Julia Evanczuk is a motion-graphics designer and animator. She has worked in-house and freelance for a range of creative and corporate projects since 2010, and she currently works as a Developer and Multimedia Editor for Hark, a full-service digital marketing agency. She studied marketing and film producing at New York University and is an alum of NYU ITP Camp, a crash-course, hands-on exploration of art, media, and technology.
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