Depression-era food essay collection shows similar problems with how “America Eats”

It’s always twilight…when it comes to American food“: In 1939, the Federal Writers’ Project editor Katherine Kellock “hatched a new idea: a book, to be entitled “America Eats,” about “American cookery and the part it has played in the national life.” Writers hit the road to document foodways, and a new “higgledy-piggledy assortment” of this food writing has been collected and published in “The Food of a Younger Land: A Portrait of American Food–Before the National Highway System, Before Chain Restaurants, and Before Frozen Food, When the Nation’s Food Was Seasonal” (Riverhead, $27.95). The essays show how much America, and its food, has changed in the last seven decades — but also how much it hasn’t: even back then, ‘American standardization’ was being denounced, and the death knells of home canning and cooking sounded. (New York Times)

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