Reviews in 200 Words

The Food of a Younger Land: The WPA’s Portrait of Food in Pre-World War II America by Mark Kurlansky

In Non-Fiction on July 7, 2009 at 2:41 am


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Food is weird and sexy, elaborate and efficient. It’s regional, traditional, necessary: worthy of worship. Florida’s grits & grunts, conch & hoe cakes; Mississippi’s corn bread & crabs, hush puppies & fried fish, molasses pie; Vermont’s buttermilk pancakes & maple syrup, pickled lemons & watermelon; Virginia’s fried chicken & spoon bread; Kentucky’s chess pie, old fashioned & mint julep cocktails; Alabama’s cane & candy, eggnog & fruit cake; Nebraska’s popcorn, hot dogs and kraut, lamb & pig fries; Kansas’ potatoes & gravy, roasted ears of corn; Wisconsin’s sourdough pancakes, lutefisk & meatball suppers; Indiana’s pork-cakes, persimmon pudding, sweet corn on the cob; Oregon’s wild duck, barbequed, baked, dried, and smoked salmon; Washington’s gooey-duck clams, fried smelt, apple butter; Montana’s fried beaver-tail, choke-cherry wine, wild mushrooms. Get hungry: for food and the stories of hard times, getting by, learning what makes sense. Food makes us—it’s how we celebrate and survive. It’s how we meet and depart—it’s how we marry and mark livelihood. If ever there’s a thing to write about, to pass time by, let it be food.

  1. Hungry now. Great review.

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