Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America

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Overview


The history of food and drink in America is an exciting tale of unexpected twists and turns that are even more amusing than the oft-repeated myths. It is a story filled with hot-shot inventors, high-flying promoters, risk-taking growers, efficiency-conscious processors, hard-hitting advertisers, and lip-smacking consumers--all of whom have contributed to transforming lowly American food into a worldwide culinary delight.

In 800 intriguing articles (from over 200 contributors), the Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America covers the significant events, inventions, and social movements in American history that have affected the way Americans view, prepare, and consume food and drink. In an A-Z format, this two-volume set details the regions, people, ingredients, foods, drinks, publications, advertising, companies, historical periods, and political and economic aspects pertinent to American cuisine. With contributions from academia, industry, and the culinary world, the Encyclopedia provides a far-ranging yet cohesive account of American history and culture from a gastronomic perspective.

From the extravagant feasts of Diamond Jim Brady in the Gilded Age to the fad diets and the health consciousness of today, the status and cultural significance of American food and rink has transformed throughout the years. With interesting anecdotes, informative sidebars, and generous bibliographies, the Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America will captivate readers--from scholars and food lovers everywhere--in this journey through American culinary history.

"Home cooks and gourmets, chefs and restaurateurs, epicures, and simple food lovers of all stripes will delight in this smorgasbord of the history and culture of food and drink. Professor of Culinary History Andrew Smith and nearly 200 authors bring together in 770 entries the scholarship on wide-ranging topics from airline and funeral food to fad diets and fast food; drinks like lemonade, Kool-Aid, and Tang; foodstuffs like Jell-O, Twinkies, and Spam; and Dagwood, hoagie, and Sloppy Joe sandwiches."--"Reference that rocks," American Libraries, May 2005.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Nothing will satisfy the foodie more than the two volumes of The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America, which takes the reader from Anadama bread, which originated on Boston's North Shore, to an 1845 dinner at the White House," --The Boston Globe

"Fascinating, informative, these two volumes are a wealth of information on every aspect of American food and drink....Truly an invaluable resource."--Washington Post

"Essential....Anyone who can put it down is unburdened by curiosity about anything." --The New Yorker

"Whether readers make a living studying culinary traditions or just enjoy eating, they'll find this book a marvel. A trove of in-depth information on every aspect of American food and drink--such as holiday food traditions, the Slow Food movement and vegetarianism--the book strives to place its subject into historical and cultural context and succeeds brilliantly....Readers will be hooked upon opening either volume (the entire work is split in two) and flipping to any page....For food lovers of all stripes, this work inspires, enlightens and entertains."--Publishers Weekly STARRED REVIEW

"An authoritative resource that brings together 'the best scholarship on the history of American food'.... With entries ranging from "Bialy" to "Borden" (complete with a sidebar on "Elsie the Cow"), and "Vegetarianism" to "Vienna Sausage," this is an encyclopedic smorgasbord where readers can either casually graze multiple offerings or choose a single topic and dig in." -- School Library Journal STARRED REVIEW

"How did the mock apple pie originate? What's the difference between a frappe and a milkshake? Who introduced the first frozen TV dinner? Answers to queries such as these can be found in this highly entertaining set...Essential. Highly recommended for all libraries." -- Choice

Publishers Weekly
Whether readers make a living studying culinary traditions or just enjoy eating, they'll find this book a marvel. A trove of in-depth information on every aspect of American food and drink-such as holiday food traditions, the Slow Food movement and vegetarianism-the book strives to place its subject in historical and cultural context and succeeds brilliantly. Smith, who teaches culinary history at the New School University, compiles 800 articles and 400 illustrations in a colossal package, resembling Schott's Food & Drink Miscellany in the same way that the kitchen at the Four Seasons resembles the galley of a Manhattan apartment. Under "C," we find "Chickpeas," "Child, Julia," "Clambake," "Cola Wars," "Community-Supported Agriculture" and "Cooperatives"; while "T" offers entries on "Taco Bell," "Tea," "Thanksgiving," "Transportation of Food" and "Tupperware." Readers will be hooked upon opening either of the work's two volumes and flipping to any page. Among the offerings are a Nation article from 1879 that delights in fathers who'd mortify their daughters in social situations by joking about the "frivolousness of napkins"; an entry on the french dip sandwich crediting a Los Angeles sandwich shop owner with inventing the item in 1918 (he accidentally dropped a roll into the roast drippings as he prepared a beef sandwich for a customer); a piece on Rastus, the fictional chef whose image has appeared on Cream of Wheat packages since 1896; and a fascinating exploration of Southern regional cookery. For food lovers of all stripes, this work inspires, enlightens and entertains. B&w illus. (Nov.) Forecast: With the right media coverage, this could see booming bookstore, library and cooking school sales. Oxford kicked things off with a symposium and reception at the Institute of Culinary Education in October. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-An authoritative resource that brings together "the best scholarship on the history of American food." Considering the subject from varied perspectives, the 770 articles discuss food and drink within the context of politics; geography; commerce; technology; medicine; class structure; agriculture; and symbolic, spiritual, and ethical values. The alphabetically arranged entries include chronological overviews of events and trends ("Cooking Schools," "Myths and Folklore"); specific foods and drinks ("Po'boy Sandwich," "Coca-Cola"); ethnic, religious, cultural, and racial contributions ("Native American Foods," "Thanksgiving"); biographies ("Lagasse, Emeril," "Pullman, George"); and political and social movements ("Temperance," "Pure Food and Drug Act"). Each entry includes a briefly annotated bibliography and cross references to related articles. Black-and-white illustrations add interest; most of them are historical reproductions with brief identifying captions. The writing is clear, the coverage is thorough, and the index is comprehensive. With entries ranging from "Bialy" to "Borden" (complete with a sidebar on "Elsie the Cow"), and "Vegetarianism" to "Vienna Sausage," this is an encyclopedic smorgasbord where readers can either casually graze multiple offerings or choose a single topic and dig in.-Joyce Adams Burner, Hillcrest Library, Prairie Village, KS Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195154375
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 12/9/2004
  • Pages: 1584
  • Product dimensions: 11.90 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 4.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Andrew F. Smith teaches culinary history at The New School University in Manhattan and is the General Editor for the University of Illinois Press' Food Series. He has written several food-related books, including The Tomato in America, Pure Ketchup, Popped Culture, and Souper Tomatoes. A consultant to several food television productions (airing on the History Channel and the Food Network), Mr. Smith resides in New York.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2006

    FUN, INFORMATIVE, INDISPENSABLE

    How have we lived so long without this book? This is the first major work about American food that is written by Americans in American English. Most food history has been written by Europeans who revel in the glories of European food, then say, 'The Americans came. McDonald's. The end.' But wait ¿ there's more! 'Food is America's most important business and its largest export,' says editor Andrew F. Smith in the introduction. And this encyclopedia, almost 1600 pages, dishes it out, in more than 200 entries ranging from 'Adulterations and Advertising' to 'Zombie.' Fast food is here. So are Slow Food, Funeral Food, School Food, Prison Food, Meals on Wheels, Firehouse Cooking, Food Festivals, ethnic and regional foods like Southeast Asian American Food, Appalachian Food, and Creole Food. There is even Space Food, followed, in the alphabetical organization of this encyclopedia, by Spam. This book reclaims the history of Native American food and African-American food, in two lengthy essays. How Americans talk about food is covered in Literature and Food, Film and Food, Food Poetry, Food Songs, and Food Slang: 'Go bananas,' 'Name your poison,' and 'moo juice' (milk). This is also a political book and a history book. It explains American laws, from farm subsidies to the Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration, and food stamps. It also puts American food in the context of not just American history, but world history, with entries like Hors d'Oeuvres in History. The section on Southwestern Regional Cookery goes back to 1598 in Spanish colonial New Mexico. The history of food history and culinary organizations is covered, too. The illustrations alone are worth the price. Many are from the personal collection of editor Andrew Smith, like the cooking pamphlet issued when Gone With the Wind came out in 1939. Smith, one of the foremost food historians in the world, with books about tomatoes, ketchup, and popcorn, among others, wrote a staggering 91 of the entries himself. Buy this wonderful book. Go bananas.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 12, 2004

    ?

    I had guests over the day the Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in Amereica arrived. We must have spent an hour taking turns quoting from different entries and pointing out illustrations of everything from the first Aunt Jemima advertisements to modern reenactments of the first person who dared to eat a tomato. Did you know that Harvard students successfully petitioned for President Nathaniel Eaton¿s removal in 1639 for failing to maintain the students¿ beer supply? That White Castle was the first fast food chain and is also credited with popularizing the hamburger? That Benjamin Franklin thought the turkey would be a much more appropriate national symbol than the bald eagle? Every page offers some enlightening details about the history and cultural context of American food and drink that we take for granted or assume can¿t be that interesting. So far I have read about half the entries in no special order-- it's an encyclopedia after all-- but now I intend to read it from beginning to end. I highly recommend The Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America to foodies of all types, trivia buffs, chefs, weekend cooks, restauranteurs, and anyone who just wants a good read. It is a well documented reference work, but there are numerous illustrations and anecdotes which brings American culinary history alive. T.A. Kovachev

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2004

    An Outstanding Resource

    I sit here with my two newly acquired volumes of the Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America in absolute awe! With almost 200 contributors, almost 800 entries and nearly 400 illustrations, editor Andy Smith and Oxford University Press have done a magnificent job of putting together what is clearly the most comprehensive work on this immensely broad subject ever undertaken. Whether you are a food professional or interested amateur, a historian, sociologist or anthropologist, a student or scholar, these volumes will no doubt become your most important resource for information related in any way to the history of food and drink in America. The scope is astounding, spanning some five centuries and ranging from events and trends to products, from ethnic, religions and cultural influences to political and social movements in American history, and also includes dozens of biographical entries of important contributors and influences on the development of culinary life and gastronomy in America. Despite the enormity of this work, it is refreshingly approachable, set forth alphabetically, written in clear language, translated when needed, and annotated and supplemented with bibliographical information for those wishing to explore further. As a food professional-recipe developer, food writer and culinary educator-there is no doubt in my mind that these pages will soon be worn and this seminal work will remain among my most valued and cherished resources for as long as my interest in food and gastronomy is alive.

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