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    Post #1 - May 24th, 2018, 2:02 pm
    Post #1 - May 24th, 2018, 2:02 pm Post #1 - May 24th, 2018, 2:02 pm
    Hiya! A friend was asking for the best books on food history. Recommendations? Thanks!
    I want to have a good body, but not as much as I want dessert. ~ Jason Love
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  • Post #2 - May 24th, 2018, 2:50 pm
    Post #2 - May 24th, 2018, 2:50 pm Post #2 - May 24th, 2018, 2:50 pm
    Hi,

    If they are Chicagoans, the Food Biography of Chicago has a very nice narrative style. The Chicago Food Encyclopedia is chuck full of numerous topics on a wide range of foods, cooks and restaurants.

    If want to boast you know the author, then Cynthia Clampitt's book on Corn will be great. This fall her book on Pork will come out.

    If it is an ongoing interest, suggest they contact (me at) Culinary Historians of Chicago and Greater Midwest Foodways. At least twice a month, we host meetings on food and culture.

    Regards,
    Cathy2
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #3 - May 24th, 2018, 4:39 pm
    Post #3 - May 24th, 2018, 4:39 pm Post #3 - May 24th, 2018, 4:39 pm
    Since Beer is food, there's always Bob Skilnik's Beer, A History of Brewing in Chicago.
  • Post #4 - May 24th, 2018, 6:13 pm
    Post #4 - May 24th, 2018, 6:13 pm Post #4 - May 24th, 2018, 6:13 pm
    Midwest Maize: How Corn Shaped the U.S. Heartland (to be followed this fall by Pigs, Pork, and Heartland Hogs: From Wild Boar to Baconfest). My mother will assure you that these are great books. :)

    Among food history books I didn't write, I think Near a Thousand Tables is my favorite along with anything by Mark Kurlansky. (That said, I have many shelves of food history books, and most of them are loved for one reason or another. But if you are limited in the number you can buy, I'd say Near a Thousand Tables and either Cod or Salt by Kurlansky.)
    "All great change in America begins at the dinner table." Ronald Reagan

    http://midwestmaize.wordpress.com
  • Post #5 - May 24th, 2018, 6:19 pm
    Post #5 - May 24th, 2018, 6:19 pm Post #5 - May 24th, 2018, 6:19 pm
    Near a Thousand Tables is a definite must. Food, The History of Taste is another. Add to that From the Wilder Shores of Gastronomy.
    Being gauche rocks, stun the bourgeoisie
  • Post #6 - May 25th, 2018, 10:31 am
    Post #6 - May 25th, 2018, 10:31 am Post #6 - May 25th, 2018, 10:31 am
    Cynthia wrote:Midwest Maize: How Corn Shaped the U.S. Heartland (to be followed this fall by Pigs, Pork, and Heartland Hogs: From Wild Boar to Baconfest). My mother will assure you that these are great books. :)

    Among food history books I didn't write, I think Near a Thousand Tables is my favorite along with anything by Mark Kurlansky. (That said, I have many shelves of food history books, and most of them are loved for one reason or another. But if you are limited in the number you can buy, I'd say Near a Thousand Tables and either Cod or Salt by Kurlansky.)


    Kurlansky never skimps on the history. The Big Oyster is as much about early New York as it is about the abundant supply of oysters that helped fuel its economy (along with interesting tidbits like all East Coast oysters from Maine to the Gulf are genetically identical but with appreciable variations due to water temp, salinity, food supply and other factors). Cod also addresses the huge role that cod had in international trade (including the various "discoveries" of North America). It also fueled the Caribbean slave populations that worked the cane fields that produced the molasses that New Englanders turned into rum).
  • Post #7 - May 25th, 2018, 10:33 am
    Post #7 - May 25th, 2018, 10:33 am Post #7 - May 25th, 2018, 10:33 am
    Cynthia wrote:Midwest Maize: How Corn Shaped the U.S. Heartland (to be followed this fall by Pigs, Pork, and Heartland Hogs: From Wild Boar to Baconfest). My mother will assure you that these are great books. :)

    Among food history books I didn't write, I think Near a Thousand Tables is my favorite along with anything by Mark Kurlansky. (That said, I have many shelves of food history books, and most of them are loved for one reason or another. But if you are limited in the number you can buy, I'd say Near a Thousand Tables and either Cod or Salt by Kurlansky.)


    Kurlansky never skimps on the history. The Big Oyster is as much about early New York as it is about the abundant supply of oysters that helped fuel its economy (along with interesting tidbits like all East Coast oysters from Maine to the Gulf are genetically identical but with appreciable variations due to water temp, salinity, food supply and other factors). Cod also addresses the huge role that cod had in international trade (including the various "discoveries" of North America). It also fueled the Caribbean slave populations that worked the cane fields that produced the molasses that New Englanders turned into rum*).

    *when they weren't drowning IN molasses: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Molasses_Flood
  • Post #8 - May 25th, 2018, 11:15 am
    Post #8 - May 25th, 2018, 11:15 am Post #8 - May 25th, 2018, 11:15 am
    Prairie Avenue Cookbook: Recipes and Recollections from Prominent 19th Century Chicago Families, by Carol Callahan, is an interesting look into the world of Chicago's upper crust in the late 1800s, plus recipes. And I'd recommend it even if it didn't include references to my great-grandparents.
  • Post #9 - May 26th, 2018, 12:44 pm
    Post #9 - May 26th, 2018, 12:44 pm Post #9 - May 26th, 2018, 12:44 pm
    In addition to Cynthia's book (and I'm *really* looking forward to your piggie book, Cynthia!) I like Rachel Lauden's food/cultural history:

    https://www.amazon.com/Cuisine-Empire-Cooking-History-California/dp/0520286316/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1527356501&sr=8-1&keywords=rachel+laudan

    Geo
    Sooo, you like wine and are looking for something good to read? Maybe *this* will do the trick! :)
  • Post #10 - May 27th, 2018, 9:55 am
    Post #10 - May 27th, 2018, 9:55 am Post #10 - May 27th, 2018, 9:55 am
    Funny you should inquire,
    this happens to be a newly acquired area of inquiry for me.

    These are some of the books I've enjoyed reading.

    "The Book of Spice: from Anise to Zedoary" by John O'Connell
    a very well researched book on how spices came to be popular,
    their Medicinal place in History, and the routes they travelled.
    I especially liked reading about the Portuguese explorer- Vasco de Gama-
    and what a mean, vile person he was-
    especially in his interactions w/Indians, Perisans, & Phoenician traders and travelers , and the cultures that had already travelled the routes (by other means) that he'd "discovered".

    "For All The Tea in China"- by Sarah Rose, is a fascinating account of the largest theft of Intellectual Property- by the British, of China's methodology to cultivate and process really good teas.

    Gary Paul Nabhan's book called- Cumin, Camels and Caravans: A Spice Odyssey
    is a great book- so well researched- and "fun" to read.

    Cuisine and Empire- Cooking in World History, by Rachel Laudan is another great book on Global Food History.

    and of course- my 1st cookbook that opened my eyes to how Food and Cultures intersect- A classic tome on Sephardic Cooking by Copeland Marks-
    covering how Jewish Food- moved from the results of
    The Spanish Inquisition of 1492- and the resulting Diaspora-
    moving Jews, to Nations like Italy & The Mahgreb on the West-
    to Uzbekistan and India to the West-
    and "literally" every country in between.

    Such a great way- IMHO- to learn more of a contextual sense of History.
    I just wish- when I was in High School and College- that History- had been taught this way- cause, I sure woulda paid better attention-
    as opposed to memorizing dates of Wars,
    and names of Kings and Queens, etc.
  • Post #11 - May 27th, 2018, 9:41 pm
    Post #11 - May 27th, 2018, 9:41 pm Post #11 - May 27th, 2018, 9:41 pm
    Geo wrote:In addition to Cynthia's book (and I'm *really* looking forward to your piggie book, Cynthia!) I like Rachel Lauden's food/cultural history:

    https://www.amazon.com/Cuisine-Empire-Cooking-History-California/dp/0520286316/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1527356501&sr=8-1&keywords=rachel+laudan

    Geo


    Thanks Geo.

    And I agree about Rachel Lauden's book. Fascinating perspective, different from other food histories.
    "All great change in America begins at the dinner table." Ronald Reagan

    http://midwestmaize.wordpress.com
  • Post #12 - May 27th, 2018, 11:07 pm
    Post #12 - May 27th, 2018, 11:07 pm Post #12 - May 27th, 2018, 11:07 pm
    Hombre de Acero wrote
    Such a great way- IMHO- to learn more of a contextual sense of History.
    I just wish- when I was in High School and College- that History- had been taught this way- cause, I sure woulda paid better attention-
    as opposed to memorizing dates of Wars,
    and names of Kings and Queens, etc.


    I agree. What we call history as taught in schools should be called political history. If you're into that -- fine. But there are many ways to look at history -- art, music, science, philosophy, literature, economics, sports, food, etc. The list is endless.

    What's important is knowing they're all connected. It's like the mantra about ecology -- everything affects everything else. So when you study the history of any subject you will learn about what's happening in many other fields.
    Where there’s smoke, there may be salmon.
  • Post #13 - June 11th, 2018, 7:28 pm
    Post #13 - June 11th, 2018, 7:28 pm Post #13 - June 11th, 2018, 7:28 pm
    George R wrote:Hombre de Acero wrote
    Such a great way- IMHO- to learn more of a contextual sense of History.
    I just wish- when I was in High School and College- that History- had been taught this way- cause, I sure woulda paid better attention-
    as opposed to memorizing dates of Wars,
    and names of Kings and Queens, etc.


    I agree. What we call history as taught in schools should be called political history. If you're into that -- fine. But there are many ways to look at history -- art, music, science, philosophy, literature, economics, sports, food, etc. The list is endless.

    What's important is knowing they're all connected. It's like the mantra about ecology -- everything affects everything else. So when you study the history of any subject you will learn about what's happening in many other fields.


    Reminds me of one of my favorite Henry Ford quotes: “History as it is taught in the schools deals largely with…wars, major political controversies, territorial extensions and the like. When I went to our American history books to learn how our forefathers harrowed the land, I discovered that the historians knew nothing about harrows. Yet our country depended more on harrows than on guns or great speeches. I thought a history which excluded harrows and all the rest of daily life is bunk and I think so yet.”
    "All great change in America begins at the dinner table." Ronald Reagan

    http://midwestmaize.wordpress.com
  • Post #14 - June 17th, 2018, 12:34 pm
    Post #14 - June 17th, 2018, 12:34 pm Post #14 - June 17th, 2018, 12:34 pm
    The United States of Arugula offers wonderful insight into the history of the American food movement from the mid 20th century in particular. In fact, my own Home Cookin' series was inspired by the info on Craig Claiborne only taking his job w/the NY Times on the condition that he could write about food in general, not just hot restaurants. My kind of guy.
    "In pursuit of joys untasted"
    from Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata
  • Post #15 - June 17th, 2018, 1:37 pm
    Post #15 - June 17th, 2018, 1:37 pm Post #15 - June 17th, 2018, 1:37 pm
    You may then like Clementine Paddleford, too. She worked for a competing newspaper. It has been suggested he lifted passages from her articles early on in his career. She had a private pilot's license to conveniently visit people she wanted to interview.

    Regards,
    Cathy2
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #16 - June 17th, 2018, 4:34 pm
    Post #16 - June 17th, 2018, 4:34 pm Post #16 - June 17th, 2018, 4:34 pm
    Thanks, just did. Her books are pretty expensive on Amazon. Do you know which is the best?
    "In pursuit of joys untasted"
    from Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata
  • Post #17 - June 17th, 2018, 8:15 pm
    Post #17 - June 17th, 2018, 8:15 pm Post #17 - June 17th, 2018, 8:15 pm
    Hi,

    The book to get is: The Great American Cookbook: 500 Time-Tested Recipes: Favorite Food from Every State. It is her columns with a recipe(s) associated with it.

    I have several copies (in storage) of The Best in American Cooking, it has recipes and no narrative. I have never encountered How America Eats, which is recipes and her columns (mostly?) covered in the Great American Cookbook.

    I also have a copy of Hometown Appetites, though where it is now is a very good question.

    Her papers are at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas.

    Regards,
    Cathy2
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #18 - June 17th, 2018, 11:03 pm
    Post #18 - June 17th, 2018, 11:03 pm Post #18 - June 17th, 2018, 11:03 pm
    Thanks. Just got it.
    "In pursuit of joys untasted"
    from Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata

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