Hometown Appetites: The Story of Clementine Paddleford, the Forgotten Food Writer Who Chronicled HowAmerica Ate

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Overview

"In Hometown Appetites, an award-winning food writer and a leading university archivist come together to revive the legacy of the most important food writer you have never heard of. Clementine Paddleford was a Kansas farm girl who grew up to chronicle America's culinary habits. Her weekly readership at the New York Herald Tribune topped 12 million during the 1950s and 1960s and she earned a salary of $250,000. Yet twenty years after "America's best-known food editor" passed away, she had been forgotten - until now." At a time when few women ...
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Hometown Appetites: The Story of Clementine Paddleford, the Forgotten Food Writer Who Chronicled HowAmerica Ate

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Overview

"In Hometown Appetites, an award-winning food writer and a leading university archivist come together to revive the legacy of the most important food writer you have never heard of. Clementine Paddleford was a Kansas farm girl who grew up to chronicle America's culinary habits. Her weekly readership at the New York Herald Tribune topped 12 million during the 1950s and 1960s and she earned a salary of $250,000. Yet twenty years after "America's best-known food editor" passed away, she had been forgotten - until now." At a time when few women worked outside the home, Paddleford flew her own Piper Cub to meet her readers and find out what was for dinner. Before Paddleford, newspaper food sections were dull primers on home economy. But she changed all of that, composing her own brand of sassy, unerringly authoritative prose designed to celebrate regional home cooking. Her magnum opus, a book called How America Eats, published in 1960, reveals an appetite for life that was insatiable. This book restores Paddleford's name where it belongs: in the pantheon alongside those of James Beard and Julia Child.
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Editorial Reviews

Belle Elving
In her prime, Paddleford had 12 million readers. When she died in 1967, her obituary ran in all of the country's major newspapers. Her reputation has faded ever since, eclipsed now by legions of more sophisticated food writers and celebrity chefs. This biography, by Kelly Alexander, a food writer and editor at Saveur magazine, and Cynthia Harris, an archivist at Kansas State University, is an energetic attempt to rescue Paddleford from obscurity. The story they have unearthed proves as illuminating of the era as it does of the woman herself. It also whets the appetite to go back and read the real thing.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly

At long last, an enthusiastic, significant rehabilitation of Paddleford's career as food writer from 1936 to 1966 at the New York Herald Tribune. Alexander, whose article on Paddleford for Saveur won the James Beard Journalism Award in 2002, and Harris, the archivist at Kansas State Univ., to which native Paddleford left her papers, happily resurrect Paddleford's work. An indefatigable journalist, Paddleford broke with the staid home-economics primers of the era. With humble Midwest beginnings and a degree in industrial journalism, Paddleford set out for New York City to make a name for herself, and found that her energy and sheer prodigiousness opened doors at popular publications like Farm & Fireside, Christian Herald and This Week, the Tribune 's Sunday magazine. Influenced by the peripatetic culinary adventures of salesman Duncan Hines, Paddleford launched, in 1948, a series of columns in This Week called "How America Eats," spotlighting regional cooks and their down-home specialties. With her trademark florid prose and historic touches, Paddleford became widely known, and her subsequent book, How America Eats(1960), became a bestseller. The authors make an upbeat case for reconsidering Paddleford's achievement in this enjoyable read, and include a slew of her comfort recipes. (Sept.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Reviews
Biography of the Kansas-born journalist who built an ahead-of-the curve career traveling the world to report on food and the people who cooked it. Before Clementine Paddleford (1898-1967), food writing lacked the joy, whimsy and sophistication we now associate with it, contend the authors. Former Saveur editor Alexander and Kansas State University archivist Harris, an authority on the school's Paddleford collection, believe that their subject's primary goal was to address American home cooks' concerns while enlivening the social history of the foods she tasted. To this end, she ventured onto a submarine and into Joan Crawford's apartment, as well as the kitchens of countless homemakers known to her through written correspondence. The authors emulate Paddleford's endeavor to connect cooking to the lives, traditions and personalities of real people. The biography doubles as a cookbook; it's peppered with recipes tested for publication just as they were in Paddleford's day, each tied to a moment in her career the same way she connected each recipe to a story. Alexander and Harris paint an affectionate portrait of the eccentric writer, an ebullient yet imposing individualist and charismatic adventurer. Undergoing a throat-cancer-induced tracheotomy at age 33, Paddleford covered the button she pressed to speak with a signature velvet choker necklace and decided to assume that her jarring voice was memorable rather than off-putting. In an era when far fewer women went to college or aspired to professional careers, the ingredients in her recipe for success were tireless enthusiasm, self-confidence, independence and ambition. She was completely herself with no apologies, rather than muffling herindividuality to become more marketable. The authors cite Julia Child and Rachael Ray as Paddleford's heirs. Rich, flavorful and spirited, like its subject and the cuisines she chronicled. Agent: Michael Psaltis/Regal Literary
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780594168713
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 9/1/2009
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Kelly Alexander is a food writer and was a longtime editor at Saveur magazine. She has won the James Beard Journalism Award. Cynthia Harris is the manuscript/collections archivist at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas, and the leading authority on the Paddleford archive.

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Table of Contents

Foreword: Why Clem Matters Colman Andrews Andrews, Colman

Prologue: The Getting-Aroundest Person

Ch. 1 Just Watch My Footprints 1

Ch. 2 My Own Boss Absolutely 37

Ch. 3 Rhapsody on a Kitchen Sink 65

Ch. 4 It's Always Interesting 97

Ch. 5 All the Sights and Smells of the Country 149

Ch. 6 What Men Eat on Submarines 209

Epilogue: A Bundle of Longing Kelly Alexander Alexander, Kelly 259

Our Story and Acknowledgments Kelly Alexander Alexander, Kelly Cynthia Harris Harris, Cynthia 273

A Note on the Recipes Andrea Reusing Reusing, Andrea 287

Notes 297

Index 307

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 24, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    Very interesting and enjoyable

    I surprised myself in how much I enjoyed this book since it is a biography rather than an autobiography -- it fits in nicely with all the other popular foodie memoirs. Clementine Paddleford was a woman ahead of her time, and pretty much "discovered" the joy of reporting on local foods and the local people making them. It was such an interesting book, and I very much enjoyed learning about the professional foodie life and journey of Clemetine Paddleford.

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