Starred Review. This exhaustive collection of essays, anecdotes, and recipes spans three centuries of American food writing, from Meriwether Lewis's account of killing "two bucks and two buffaloe" during his famous trek across the continent, to Michael Pollan's up-to-the-minute account of the politics of organic food. In between are countless gems: Alice B. Toklas's baroque recipe for lobster, Richard Olney's meditation on paté and Edna Lewis's poignant description of killing hogs on her family farm. Ably organized and edited by the former host of the PBS series Great Food, this collection features numerous accounts of foodways long since vanished in this country; take, for instance, Charlie Ranhofer's thorough analysis of the thirteen-course society dinner, complete with "removes or solid joints," "iced punch or sherbet," and "hot sweet entremets"; or Maria Sermolino's memories of the Italian meals served at her father's Greenwich Village restaurant back when spaghetti was still a novelty. Famous food writers are well represented here (James Beard and Calvin Trillin, M.F.K. Fisher and James Villas), but perhaps even more rewarding are the wonderful but lesser-known players on the American food scene; either Elizabeth Robins Pennell's discussion of the spring chicken or Eugene Walter's tale of gumbo alone would make this volume a treasure. With so many wonderful ingredients, this rich, delectable treat is a must-have for American foodies.
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In this comprehensive anthology from the Library of America, veteran food journalist O'Neill brings together some of the most significant short food writing from across the whole spectrum of American culinary history. From the eighteenth century, Joel Barlow offers a poem celebrating a breakfast specialty. A brief account of cooking at the outset of the nineteenth century comes from Henry Adams' renowned history. James Beard, Julia Child, Craig Claiborne, and other contemporary icons record the great American food revolution of recent decades. Excerpts and articles from other writers bring the anthology up to date with concerns about food origins and sound nutrition. Good food writing being an effective tonic to arouse one's appetite, O'Neill has peppered the text with historical and modern recipes beyond those that appear within the texts themselves. A valuable subject index expedites locating topics efficiently within this very diverse set of readings. Knoblauch, Mark
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