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Lisa Jervis

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Lisa Jervis's official bio makes her sound far more official than she actually is. She is the founding editor and publisher of Bitch: Feminist Response to Pop Culture, the founding board chair of Women in Media and News, a member of the advisory board of outLoud Radio, and the current finance and operations director at the Center for Media Justice.

In addition to her many writings for Bitch, her work has appeared in Ms., the San Francisco Chronicle, Utne, Mother Jones, the Women's Review of Books, Bust, the late and much-lamented Hues, Salon, the late but not-so-lamented Girlfriends, the late and also-lamented Punk Planet, the late and lamented-by-the-few-people-who've-heard-of-it LiP: Informed Revolt, Body Outlaws (Seal Press), The Bust Guide to the New Girl Order (Penguin), Tipping the Sacred Cow (AK Press), and Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World Without Rape (Seal Press). She is the co-editor of Young Wives' Tales: New Adventures in Love and Partnership (Seal Press) and Bitchfest: Ten Years of Cultural Criticism from the Pages of Bitch Magazine (Farrar, Straus & Giroux).

She was born in Boston and partially raised in Los Angeles; she moved to New York City at age 8 and so considers herself a New Yorker by both chronology and temperament, though the transplant to Oakland, California, has worked out remarkably well.

In her spare time, she squeezes fruit at farmer's markets, bikes around Oakland, and resists adopting more cats.

A few of her favorite things are Buffy, Shortbus, cheese onion curry bread, Weeds, Alison Bechdel, Jane Austen, roasted brussels sprouts, Ben Lee, Ben Kweller, liar's dice, knitting, tattoos, Dexter, salacious memoirs, contemporary mystery novels about female PIs and investigative reporters, hammocks, vodka smoothies, The Philadelphia Story, terry-cloth hoodies, Liz Phair (yes, even the later "bad" stuff), sweet potatoes, Michael Pollan, bell hooks, Susan Faludi, and zine libraries.

Purchasing Links

Cook FoodCook Food:A Manualfesto for Easy, Healthy, Local Eating
By Lisa Jervis
ISBN: 978-1-60486-073-3
Published Sept. 2009
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 136 Pages
Size: 8 by 5.5
Subjects: Cookbook, Vegetarian


More than just a rousing food manifesto and a nifty set of tools, Cook Food makes preparing tasty, wholesome meals simple and accessible for those hungry for both change and scrumptious fare. If you’re used to getting your meals from a package—or the delivery guy—or if you think you don’t know how to cook, this is the book for you.

If you want to eat healthier but aren’t sure where to start, or if you’ve been reading about food politics but don’t know how to bring sustainable eating practices into your everyday life, Cook Food will give you the scoop on how, while keeping your taste buds satisfied. With a conversational, do-it-yourself vibe, a practical approach to everyday cooking on a budget, and a whole bunch of animal-free recipes, Cook Food will have you cooking up a storm, tasting the difference, thinking globally and eating locally.

“Overwhelmed by all the politics on your plate? Paralyzed by guilt every time you shop for food? In this swift and delectable guide, Lisa Jervis shows not just how easy it can be to eat with your conscience and with the planet, but also how cheap and how delightful it is to feel at home in the kitchen.”
—Raj Patel, author of Stuffed and Starved

“Thanks to Lisa Jervis for not only distilling such important information into digestible bites, but for putting the theory into practice with excellent and inspiring recipes. Potluck at my place, please!”
—Michelle Tea, author of
Rose of No Man’s Land and Rent Girl
“Want an opportunity to make the world better several times a day? Learn to feed yourself using the rational, witty, simple, and ethical guidelines in Lisa Jervis’s manual, Cook Food.”
—Jennifer Baumgardner, co-author of
Manifesta: Young Women, Feminism, and the Future


For a calendar of speaking events, please click here

Latest Blog Entries


What others are saying...


Review: Cook Food by Lisa Jervis
National Women's History Project blog

Cook Food is for you if: you love feminist pop culture, you love food, you want to learn more about sustainable eating, you’re on a budget, you’re vegan-curious, or you just need some cheap, easy, and healthy recipes.

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Lisa Jervis's New Cookbook: A Manualfesto for Easy, Healthy, Local Eating

Other cookbooks are written as if people who don’t already know how to cook must not really want to know how to cook. These cookbooks seem to think that people should just be happy to combine processed foods in innumerable ways to create “quick and easy meals”.

That’s where this new book comes in. Cook Food – which is earning rave reviews – can teach people how to cook simple, tasty, nourishing, whole foods quickly, cheaply, and above all, intelligently.

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Cook Food
By Meave

Cook Food is a little, no-frills book that is crammed full of useful information. It’s written by a (seemingly) very practical person for the very pragmatic cooks among us, by which I mean she takes a very “do the best you can with what you have” approach, with her recipes functioning more as inspiration than rules to strictly follow. This, I dig; often I want to make dish but cannot find one of the ingredients, and do not have the opportunity and/or inclination to go get it. It’s rare to find a cookbook author who encourages you to wing it. This is all right.

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Books We Like: Cook Food by Lisa Jervis
By Mark
Organic Nation

Salt early and taste for adjustments along the way. Use separate cutting boards for meat and vegetables. Cut vegetables evenly so they cook evenly. These instructions could probably be found in the Culinary Institute of America standard-issue textbook The Professional Chef, but I pulled them from a different source, Lisa Jervis’ Cook Food: A Manualfesto for easy, healthy, local eating. The skinny, 130-page “manualfesto” is a training manual for beginning home cooks with an an organic and activist bent.

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How to Cook Food
By Jessica Wesiberg
The New Yorker blog

For those of us who want to eat locally, but maybe don’t have the time to grow our own vegetables, nor the salaries to buy everything at the farmers’ market, Lisa Jervis’s “Cook Food” is a fantastic how-to guide. Jervis, the founder of Bitch magazine, dubs this tiny volume a “manualfesto.” The “festo” part comes at the beginning, when Jervis briefly parses some of the political and environmental issues that face us at the dinner table: how far most ingredients travel, the petroleum and chemicals used in food processing, the mistreatment of animals.

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Book Review: Cook Food
By Lindsay
Happy Herbivore

Cook Food by Lisa Jervis self-describes itself as a manualfesto for easy, healthy, local eating. If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed by the politics on your plate — this book is for you. Jervis takes the best information and insight from books like Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food and The Omnivore’s Dilemma plus the many works by Eric Schlosser, Marion Nestle and Raj Patel and puts it all together in a nutshell. Jervis also answers questions we’ve all had: what’s healthy? what food is the most eco-friendly? can I really eat organic vegan food without breaking the bank? Then Jervis goes one step farther and teaches kitchen basics so anyone can feel comfortable in their kitchen. Complete with a guides to spices, ingredients, pots, pans and easy recipes, this book is literally a one-stop-shop for everything you need to know about being a little more health and earth conscious.

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CliffsNotes to the Food Revolution: The co-founder of Bitch magazine talks about living the Michael Pollan way and the gender politics of the kitchen
By Jaclyn Friedman

Aug. 31, 2009 | Mention the name Lisa Jervis in certain feminist circles, and you'll be met with the kind of breathlessness and swooning more often lavished on the Jonas Brothers. Jervis is the co-founder and former editor of Bitch magazine, for many the defining publication of a new generation of feminist critique...

"Cook Food" is what you would get if you combined CliffsNotes of Michael Pollan's foodie insta-classic "The Omnivore's Dilemma" with the vegan parts of Mark Bittman's "The Minimalist" cooking column in the New York Times, added a healthy pour of DIY attitude and ran it all through a blender. The book's subtitle calls it a "manualfesto," and that's just about right -- it's a nitty-gritty how-to with a political agenda: to give those of us with good intentions but limited budgets, skills, confidence or time a chance to participate in the burgeoning local food revolution...

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Back to the Kitchen: The founder of Bitch magazine brings her feminist sensibility to a new cookbook
By Rachel Swan
East Bay Express

In 1996 Lisa Jervis became an It Girl in the publishing world, after she and Andi Zeisler co-founded the hip quarterly magazine Bitch: A Feminist Response to Pop Culture. Jervis, who graduated from Oberlin College in 1994 with degrees in English and creative writing, had a fresh, imaginative style that outstripped her more doctrinaire peers. She and Zeisler were omnivorous consumers of media: They could provide knowledgeable critiques of reality TV, pop music, and fashion trends because they loved most of the stuff they talked about. Moreover, they were feminine feminists who liked to knit, bake, and read Jane Austen novels in their spare time. They made it seem okay to champion women's empowerment without going to Andrea Dworkin-ish extremes. (No surprise that Bitch received a steady stream of fan mail from straight guys who'd picked up their girlfriends' magazines — I know because I interned at the magazine in 2003.) Even after resigning from her post in 2006, Jervis remained somewhat iconic, known for writing incisively (and wittily) about sex, politics, single girlhood and media representations of women. (She used to publish a blog called "Delightfully Cranky.") But for her first single-author book — recently released on PM Press — Jervis took a surprising turn: She published a cooking manual.

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Eat Food, Cook Food, and Don't Forget the Salt
By Sarah Henry
Lettuce eat Kale

Perhaps the best thing about Cook Food: a manualfesto for easy, healthy, local eating by Lisa Jervis is that it’s a slim little volume.

That’s not some snarky reviewer comment. Writer Jervis, founding editor and publisher of the feminist mag Bitch, aims to demystify how to eat well and cook real, simple food by keeping her book brief. She includes some 20 recipes of the beans, greens, grains, tofu, and tempeh variety. Well seasoned, as Jervis advocates, these ingredients can form the basis of a decent recipe repertoire for the eco-conscious (both environmental and financial).

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Author Portfolio


The End of Feminism's Third Wave: The cofounder of Bitch magazine says goodbye to the generational divide
By Lisa Jervis., This article originally appeared in Ms. Magazine.

Are you in the third wave?

When did the third wave start?

What's the most important issue to third wavers?

I get asked this a lot — at campus lectures, during radio interviews, at publishing conferences. I hate these questions. There are so many ways to answer, none of them entirely satisfactory.

I always want to pepper my interlocutor with questions instead:

Do you want to know how I identify, or how others would label me? Are you asking when the term was coined? When the first feminists who are considered part of the third wave became politicized? When the first riot grrl zine was published? What makes you think it’s possible to elevate one issue over all others? Which definition of the third wave are we talking about here, the chronological or the ideological?

If Women Ruled the World, Nothing Would Be Different

By Lisa Jervis
LiP Magazine

The biggest problem with American feminism today is its obsession with women.

Yes, you heard me: It’s time for those of us who care deeply about eliminating sexism within the context of social justice struggles to stop caring so damn much about what women, as a group, are doing. Because a useful, idealistic, transformative progressive feminism is not about women. It’s about gender, and all the legal and cultural rules that govern it, and power—who has it and what they do with it...

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