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The Food of a Younger Land: A Portrait of American Food--Before the National Highway System, Before Chain Restaurants, and Before Frozen Food, When the Nation's Food Was Seasonal (2009)

por Mark Kurlansky, Works Progress Administration

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Using long-forgotten WPA files archived in the Library of Congress, bestselling author Mark Kurlansky paints a detailed picture of Depression Era Americans through the food that they ate and the local traditions and customs they observed when planning and preparing meals.
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Mostrando 1-5 de 27 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
This book is an excellent social history of the eating and cooking habits of America in the period before and including the 1930s. Kurlansky didn't write this, he edited the raw manuscripts from the 1940 Federal Writers' Project of the WPA, rescued these essays, recipes, and poems on food, cooking, and eating, from their Library of Congress oblivion, and wrote the introductory material.

While the social history aspect is fascinating (there is not even a mention of wine until you get to the Southwest and the Mexican/Spanish population -- almost all of America drank coffee with all their meals), after getting the gist of it, I found the recipes and descriptions of the food somewhat boring.

The US has had, and in fact, among many people, still has the reputation for being a country that has no cuisine and that doesn't know how to cook -- a country that eats hot dogs and hamburgers, and maybe some pie that is worth notice. And the truth is, this book, doesn't dispel that myth to any great degree. If people were eating and cooking the way described by the WPA writers (and there is no reason to believe they were not) than it's a good thing Julia Child came back from Europe to save the country.

( )
  dvoratreis | May 22, 2024 |
3.5 An enjoyable, if uneven, collection. This is a book culled, not made, so difficult to review comprehensively. Considerably redundant and more recipe based than was necessary. Worth it for sheer variance and moments of joy. ( )
  Eoin | Jun 3, 2019 |
This was more of a 2 1/2 - some bits were interesting, but there's only so many meat barbecues I'm interested in reading about. Also the library wanted it back - I mostly skimmed the last 1/2 of it. There were some interesting stories about native American foods. The whole time capsule feel of some of the pieces was fascinating, but somehow it came across more as a pile of essays rather than something that hung together. ( )
  cindywho | May 27, 2019 |
An interesting compilation of lost regional/state culinary essays and interviews written by authors employed by the Works Progress Administration during The Great Depression. A treasure trove for food historians and anyone curious about the roots of American cuisine. ( )
  dele2451 | Oct 29, 2017 |
A portrait of American food - before the national highway system, before chain restaurants, and before frozen food, when the nation's food was seasonal, regional, and traditional - from the lost WPA files
  jhawn | Jul 31, 2017 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 27 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
In The Food of a Younger Land, Kurlansky has selected some of the most interesting rough copy — including eating rituals, recipes, and even poems about food — and grouped them according to the proposed America Eats plan in five broad regional categories. He's also supplied short commentaries about the entries and some of their lesser-known authors. All together, the pieces Kurlansky has collected here constitute a marvelous goulash of gastronomical oddities and antiques; a remembrance of tastes and customs past.
adicionada por John_Vaughan | editarNPR, MAUREEN CORRIGAN (Apr 15, 2012)
 

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Never play cards with a man called Doc. Never eat at a place called Mom's. Never sleep with a woman whose troubles are greater than your own.

—NELSON ALGREN, A Walk on the Wild Side, 1956
Never play cards with a man called Doc. Never eat at a place called Mom's. Never sleep with a woman whose troubles are greater than your own. -- Nelson Algren, A Walk on the Wild Side, 1956.
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To the memory of Studs Terkel, one of the last of them, who talked, listened, mixed a martini, told a story, cracked a joke, thought through an issue, and fought the good fight better than most anyone else. Studs, you left just as I began to hope you would live forever. Maybe you will.
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This book is not an attempt to produce what America Eats might have been if it had been edited and pieces selected.
When someone says to me, "I went to Chicago last week" or "I went down to Virginia this summer," a question always come into my mind, though I often resist asking it: "What did you eat? Anything interesting?"
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Using long-forgotten WPA files archived in the Library of Congress, bestselling author Mark Kurlansky paints a detailed picture of Depression Era Americans through the food that they ate and the local traditions and customs they observed when planning and preparing meals.

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