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.
From the New York Times bestselling author who "powerfully demonstrates the defining role food plays in history and culture" (Atlanta Journal-Constitution).
In the throes of the Great Depression, a make-work initiative for authors-called "America Eats"-was created by the WPA to chronicle the eating habits, traditions, and struggles of local Americans. Mark Kurlansky, author of Salt and Cod, unearths this forgotten literary treasure, chronicling a bygone era when Americans had never heard of fast food or grocery superstores. Kurlansky brings together the WPA contributions-featuring New York automats and Georgia Coca-Cola parties, Maine lobsters and Montana beaver tails-and brilliantly showcases them with authentic recipes, anecdotes, and photographs.
|Publisher:||Penguin Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||4.90(w) x 7.70(h) x 1.30(d)|
|Age Range:||18 Years|
About the Author
Hometown:New York, NY
Date of Birth:December 7, 1948
Place of Birth:Hartford, CT
Education:Butler University, B.A. in Theater, 1970
What People are Saying About This
"Vivid and playful dispatches from pre-interstate, pre-fast-food America, when food was local and cuisine regional.... Fun, illuminating, and provocative." -Booklist
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
It's a pleasure this exists, but the sections vary widely due to the nature of the book - these are essays, notes, and recipes compiled from professional writers & interviewers and much more amateur personnel. But if you're interested in the WPA/FWP, American history, food, or funny songs about Nebraskans eating wieners, you can't really go wrong here.
I was disappointed to learn that Kurlansky was only an editor of this book. While his powerful and exceptional writing style bursts forth in the introduction and within some of the connecting pieces within each section, the bulk of this title is actually a collection of essays, poems and lists from the last efforts of the Writers¿ Project within the WPA. Kurlansky does a good job explaining why whole sections are missing (being from Chicago, I was rather dismayed that nothing was ever written about the dining habits of the Windy City), but the works which are included run the gamut from interesting to pointless. Worthy of a heavy skim, particularly if interested in particular parts of the country, but overall, not a recommended read.