Born on September 27, 1898, at Stockdale, Kansas, to Solon and Jennie (Romick) Paddleford, Clementine Paddleford became one of the most widely read and best-known food editors in the world, charming her readers with her fanciful prose. By the age of 12, Paddleford had developed a curiosity of food. At the age of 15, she began her writing career, writing personals for the Daily Chronicle in Manhattan, Kansas. She graduated from Manhattan High School in 1917, and from Kansas State Agriculture College (KSAC) in 1921, with a degree in Industrial Journalism.
Paddleford's activities at KSAC included:
American College Quill Club
1921 Class Historian
The Brown Bull, Associate Editor
The Collegian, Associate Editor and Editor
KSAC - Emporia Debate
Kansas Author's Club
Alpha Delta Phi Sorority
Phi Kappa Phi
Theta Chi Gamma
Theta Sigma Phi
Zeta Kappa Psi
Women's Athletic Association
Junior-Senior Hockey Team
Senior Basketball Team
Women's Pan Hellenic Council Member
After graduation, Paddleford enrolled at the Columbia School of Journalism and attended night classes at New York University. In order to pay for her own expenses in New York, she did some special reviewing of business books for Administration, a magazine of business, and for the New York Sun. She also wrote special short women's features for the New York Sun and the New York Telegram.
In 1923, Paddleford accepted an invitation from a friend to summer in Chicago. She stayed on in the fall, when she found employment writing advertising copy for Montgomery Ward and an agricultural fair on the banks of the Des Plaines River. During this time, Paddleford married Lloyd Zimmerman, though they separated within a year and were divorced in 1932.
Paddleford worked as women's editor of Farm and Fireside in New York from 1924 to 1929. In the 1930s, Paddleford wrote articles for Christian Herald using the name Clementine Paddleford and C. P. Haskin when she wrote about the interior of the church. Paddleford also wrote articles under the name of Mrs. Clement Haskin, Clemence Haskin, and Clementine Haskin. In 1932, a malignant growth was removed from her larynx, along with her vocal cords, resulting in her breathing through a tube in her throat and relearning speech with a new set of muscles. While she avoided public speaking, Paddleford adapted to her handicap, not allowing it to interfer with her life or work.
Paddleford became a food editor for the New York Herald-Tribune from 1936 to 1966. From 1940 to her death in 1967, she contributed a weekly column on food to This Week magazine, a syndicated Sunday supplement available in many newspapers throughout the United States. From 1941 to 1953, Paddleford contributed a monthly column to Gourmet Magazine. Paddleford also wrote free lance features in many national publications such as The American Home, Design for Living, and House Beautiful. In 1949, the Saturday Evening Post wrote a feature article about her, and in 1953, Time magazine referred to her as the "best-known food editor in the United States."
In 1943, Paddleford opened her home to a deceased friend's daughter, Claire Duffe, whom she raised as her own. She learned to pilot a plane, completing her first solo flight on September 30, 1951. This allowed her to speed up her research, zigzagging across the United States and the Atlantic. Paddleford's career gave her the opportunity to explore a wide range of experiences, from a mess hall for lumberjacks in the Northwest woods and chili parlors in Texas, to a hobo camp in Kansas and dinners of state with kings.
Paddleford turned her vast experience in food writing to good use, publishing several cook books. In 1948, Recipes from Antoine's Kitchen was published. Her homage to her mother, A Flower for My Mother, was published in 1958. Her most important work, How America Eats, was published in 1960, and was the first book to really study the regional cuisine within the United States. In 1966, Clementine Paddleford's Cook Young Cookbook was published, with recipes culled from over 35,000 letters.
Clementine Haskin Paddleford died November 13, 1967 in New York. She is buried in the Grandview-Mill Creek-Stockdale Cemetery on Fairview Church Road, Riley, Kansas.