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One young food writer's search for America's lost wild foods, from New Orleans croakers to Illinois prairie hens, with Mark Twain as his guide.
In 1879, Mark Twain paused during a European tour to compose a fantasy menu of the American dishes he missed the most. A true love letter to American food, the menu included some eighty specialties, from Mississippi black bass to Philadelphia terrapin. Andrew Beahrs chooses eight of these regionally distinctive foods, retracing Twain's footsteps as he sets out to discover whether they can still be found on American tables. Weaving together passages from Twain's famous works and Beahrs's own adventures, this travelogue-cum-culinary-history takes us back to a bygone era when wild foods were at the heart of American cooking.
|Publisher:||Penguin Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||8.26(w) x 5.50(h) x 0.71(d)|
|Age Range:||18 Years|
About the Author
Andrew Beahrs is the author of two novels, and his work has appeared in The New York Times, Gastronomica, The Virginia Quarterly Review, and The Writer's Chronicle, among other publications. He lives in California with his family.
Read an Excerpt
Diamondback terrapin hatchling, Neavitt, Maryland
"Yesterday I had many things to do, but Bixby and I got with the pilots of two other boats and went off dissipating on a ten dollar dinner at a French restaurantbreathe it not unto Ma!where we ate Sheep-head-fish with mushrooms, shrimps and oystersbirdscoffee with burnt brandy in it, &c &c, ate, drank & smoked from 1 PM until 5 o'clock, and thenthenthe day was too far gone to do anything."
Mark Twain, New Orleans, 1860.
Creole mixed grill of sheepshead, shrimp, and lump crab: winning entry, 2009 Great American Seafood Cook-Off, New Orleans.
To Make Cranberry Tarts
To one pound of flour three quarters of a pound of butter, then stew your cranberry's to a jelly, putting good brown sugar in to sweeten them, strain the cranberry's and then put them in your patty pans for baking in a moderate oven for half an hour.
Hannah Glass, The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy, 1805.
Cranberry harvest, Cranberry Hill Farms, Plymouth, Massachusetts
Saucing raccoon, Arkansas
"I know the taste of maple sap, and when to gather it, and how to arrange the troughs and the delivery tubes, and how to boil down the juice, and how to hook the sugar after it is made, also how much better hooked sugar tastes than and that is honestly come by, let bigots say what they will."
Mark Twain, Autobiography.
Burning the tallgrass, Missouri