In addition to being a lawyer, I am a longtime foodie. So my attention was definitely grabbed this morning when I was listening to NPR and there were segments on two food-related books that I defintely will be reading soon. The first is Watching What We Eat, by Kathleen Collins. It is a history of cooking shows, from its beginning on radio, to its current near-ubiquity on television, like on the Food Network. Here’s a link to the author’s fun blog. www.watchingwhatweeat.com/
The other book that merited a segment on NPR is 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 by Mark Kurlansky, who also brought us a fascinating history of a fish: Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World. Here is an except from the new book’s description on Amazon:
In the 1930s, with the country gripped by the Great Depression and millions of Americans struggling to get by, FDR created the Federal Writers’ Project under the New Deal as a make-work program for artists and authors. A number of writers, including Zora Neale Hurston, Eudora Welty, and Nelson Algren, were dispatched all across America to chronicle the eating habits, traditions, and struggles of local people. The project, called “America Eats,” was abandoned in the early 1940s because of the World War and never completed.
The Food of a Younger Land unearths this forgotten literary and historical treasure and brings it to exuberant life. Mark Kurlansky’s brilliant book captures these remarkable stories, and combined with authentic recipes, anecdotes, photos, and his own musings and analysis, evokes a bygone era when Americans had never heard of fast food and the grocery superstore was a thing of the future. Kurlansky serves as a guide to this hearty and poignant look at the country’s roots.
I have not read Kurlansky’s latest yet, but I have read a great book that covers the same territory, and does so really well. It’s called: America Eats!: On the Road with the WPA – the Fish Fries, Box Supper Socials, and Chitlin Feasts That Define Real American Food, and its author is Pat Willard. I highly recommend reading it. (Did I mention that I have over 100 cookbooks?)
For an excerpt from Kathleen Collin’s book, copied from the NPR website, please click on the Continued Reading link.Continue Reading Before Food Was Fast: Some Looks Back to a Time when Food was Local, Slow, and Safe