Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Food of a Younger Land

Ever since I changed my diet to vegetarian, I follow closely any books about our food, how it's grown, distributed, and consumed. Two of my favorite books along these lines is Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser and The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan.

In fact, there is a documentary done by Eric Schlosser and Michael Pollan released on DVD called Food Inc. that I intend to buy. Here's the trailer:

I am a supporter of our local Farmers Market and the entire movement to buy locally grown produce, where it is picked at the peak of its freshness, picked within a few hours of when you buy it, and local growers reap the profit--not some anonymous middle man.

The thing that attracted me to this book was its subtitle: "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".

This book takes us back to the food habits of a younger America, before the interstate highway system brought us all closer together, before chain restaurants erased geographical boundaries and brought a uniformity and diminishing of quality, and before refrigeration led us to frozen food in mass quantity.

In the 30's during the depression Roosevelt created the Federal Writers' Project under the Works Progress Administration. They dispatched writers across the country to report on the eating habits, traditions, and struggles of local people. The project was called "America Eats", but it was abandoned in the early 40's because of the war. Kurlansky has unearthed this forgotten treasure and brings it to life in this book. The book contains many recipes and Kurlansky does have a keen eye for odd facts and natural details. In the section "The South Eats" there is a recipe for Kentucky Ham Bone Soup (a plantation recipe) and Kentucky Burgoo.

This book is a fascinating read about a bygone era when Americans had never heard of fast food and grocery superstores were unimaginable.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


We have just added your latest post "Reader's Corner: The Food of a Younger Land" to our Food Directory . You can check the inclusion of the post here . We are delighted to invite you to submit all your future posts to the directory for getting a huge base of visitors to your website and gaining a valuable backlink to your site.

Warm Regards Team

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...