There’s a new book out that promises to be fascinating reading for foodies of all generations. It also looks like it will make a great gift for our parents or grandparents .. anyone who grew up during the Great Depression and World War II. Author Mark Kurlansky uncovered and wove together previously unpublished depression-era manuscripts from the Federal Writers Project, America Eats, and edited them into a captivating new book, The Food of A Younger Land.
The America Eats project gave jobs to thousands of writers during the Great Depression, who were charged with describing the regional and traditional culinary traditions in America. However, when World War II broke out, the project was scuttled and the mountain of unedited pieces stored away .. until now.
Unfortunately, most of the writers who contributed to the project are long gone, so they won’t be able to see what became of their labors. Their essays, however, paint a vivid portrait of regional American cooking in the 1940s, a time, as the cover proclaims, before chain restaurants and frozen food.
With contributions from literary greats such as Zora Neale Hurston and Eudora Welty, The Food of a Younger Land presents everything from Arkansas ash cakes and Arizona menudo patties to Vermont sugaring and Wisconsin sourdough pancakes. There are also entries for Mississippi molasses pie, Montana fried beaver tail, Long Island rabbit stew and Nebraska pig fries. The book is a delectable slice of culinary anthropology, and it sounds like a copy belongs on every foodie’s bookshelf, right next to the Joy of Cooking.
The book retails for $27.95, but it available online for about $10 less.