American food writing An anthology with classic recipes

Book - 2007

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Location Call Number   Status
2nd Floor 641.013/American Checked In
New York, NY : Library of America c2007.
Other Authors
Molly O'Neill (-)
Physical Description
xxiii, 753 p. : ill. ; 23 cm
Includes bibliographical references (p. 729-742) and index.
  • Travels into North American / Pehr Kalm (essay)
  • Ice cream / Thomas Jefferson (recipe)
  • The Hasty Pudding / Joel Barlow (essay)
  • Johny cake, or Hoe cake / Amelia Simmons (recipe)
  • The journals of Lewis & Clark / Meriwether Lewis (essay)
  • Letters to his daughter, 1819-32 / John Pintard (essay)
  • A Virginia barbecue / John M. Duncan (essay)
  • Exploit of the professor / Jean Anthelme Vrillat-Savarin (essay)
  • To make a chowder / Lydia Maria Child (recipe)
  • A diary in America / Frederick Marryat (essay)
  • Potted lobster / Eliza Leslie (recipe)
  • This day's food / Nathaniel Hawthorne (essay)
  • Above all other birds / James M. Sanderson (essay)
  • To dress macaroni a la sauce blanche / Sarah Rutledge (recipe)
  • The eating-houses / George G. Foster (essay)
  • To make corn bread - Tunis G. Campbell (recipe)
  • Chowder / Herman Melville (essay)
  • Peach leather / Annabella P. Hill (recipe)
  • Bread / Henry David Thoreau (essay)
  • Watermelons / Henry David Thoreau (essay)
  • Irish potato pudding / Esther Levy (recipe)
  • My bondage and my freedom / Frederick Douglass (essay)
  • The lay of the one fish-ball / George Martin Lane (essay)
  • Tomato catsup / Marion Harland (Mary Virginia Terhune) (recipe)
  • Apple-pie / Henry Ward Beecher (essay)
  • Michigan receipt for making shortcake in camp / National Cookery Book (recipe)
  • A great treat of ice cream / Walt Whitman (essay)
  • Hayes cake and Tilden cake / Estelle Woods Wilcox, Comp. (recipe)
  • Cookery / Harriet Beecher Stowe (essay)
  • Mother's rice pudding / Elizabeth Stansbury Kirkland (recipe)
  • The philosophy of frying / Randolph Harrison (essay)
  • Meat-flavoring / Marion Cabell Tyree (recipe)
  • The tyranny of pie / George Augustus Sala (essay)
  • Black cake / Emily Dickenson (essay)
  • Zuni Breadstuff / Frank Hamilton Cushing (essay)
  • Chicken croquettes / Abby Fisher (recipe)
  • My sugar-making days / John Burroughs (essay)
  • Chicken chartreuse / Mary Lincoln (recipe)
  • Success in entertaining / Ward McAllister (essay)
  • Roman punch no. 1 and no. 2 / Mrs. F. L. Gillette & Hugo Ziemann (recipe)
  • History of the United States / Henry Adams (essay)
  • Bran jelly / Mrs. E.E. Kellogg (recipe)
  • The epicurean / Charles Ranhofer (essay)
  • Lobster a la newberg or delmonico / Charles Ranhofer (recipe)
  • Spring chicken / Elizabeth Robins Pennell (essay)
  • Eggs a la goldenrod / Rannie Merritt Farmer (recipe)
  • Bill of fare on the plains / Annie D. Tallent (essay)
  • I go a-marketing / Henrietta Sowle (essay)
  • Hamburg steak / Sarah Tyson Rorer (recipe)
  • Calas / The Picayune's Creole cook book (essay)
  • Cranberry Sauce / The Picayune's Creole Cook Book (recipe)
  • Possum / Paul Laurence Dunbar (essay)
  • Matzos pudding / Lizzie Kander (recipe)
  • The great pancake record / Owen Johnson (essay)
  • Old-fashioned hickory nut cake / Hester Price (recipe)
  • Maymeys from Cuba / Edna Ferber (essay)
  • Perfection Salad / Mrs. John E. Cooke (recipe)
  • The promised land / Mary Antin (essay)
  • Baked bananas, Porto Rican fashion / Rufus Estes (recipe)
  • Around little Italy / Clarence E. Edwords (essay)
  • My Antonia / Willa Cather (essay)
  • Bucks County apple butter / Edith M. Thomas (recipe)
  • The home of the crab / H. L. Mencken (essay)
  • Hot dogs / H. L. Mencken (essay)
  • Puree of peanuts number two (extra fine) / George Washington Carver (recipe)
  • Eating American / Sheila Hibben (essay)
  • Cape cod turkey (stuffed codfish) / Sheila Hibben (recipe)
  • Of time and the river / Thomas Wolfe (essay)
  • Nut loaf / Isabel Ely Lord (recipe)
  • American food and American houses / Gertrude Stein (essay)
  • Chop Suey / Beverly Hills Woman's Club (recipe)
  • Breakfast / John Steinbeck (essay)
  • Down-east Ambrosia / Kenneth Roberts (essay)
  • Planked porterhouse steak / Rex Stout (recipe)
  • Mr. Barbee's terrapin / Joseph Mitchell (essay)
  • America eats / Nelson Algren (essay)
  • A lusty bit of nourishment / M. F. K. Fisher (essay)
  • Define this word / M. F. K. Fisher (essay)
  • Cross Creek cookery / Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (essay)
  • Clementine in the kitchen / Samuel Chamberlain (essay)
  • Mount Allegro / Jerre Mangione (essay)
  • Avodcado, or the future of eating / S. J. Perelman (essay)
  • That infernal machine, the pressure cooker / Betty McDonald (essay)
  • Fried scallion cake / Buwei Yang Chao (recipe)
  • The strange case of Mr. Palliser's palate / Ogden Nash (essay)
  • Fifth Chinese daughter / Jade Snow Wong (essay)
  • A walker in the city / Alfred Kazin (essay)
  • Papa's table d'hotel / Maria Sermolino (essay)
  • Almond cake or torte / Irma Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker (recipe)
  • Invisible man / Ralph Ellison (essay)
  • Gazpacho / Helen Evans Brown (recipe)
  • Food in the United States in 1934 and 1935 / Alce B. Toklas (essay)
  • Pineapple pie / Carey D. Miller, Katherine Bazore, Mary Bartow (recipe)
  • Sukiyaki on the Kona coast / May Sarton (essay)
  • A flower for my mother / Clementine Paddleford (essay)
  • Good cooksmanship, or how to talk a good fight / Peg Bracken (essay)
  • Toward fried chicken / John Berry (essay)
  • Southern fried chicken (with giblet gravy) / William Styron (essay)
  • Pancakes / Evan Hunter (essay)
  • The modest threshold / A. J. Liebling (essay)
  • How to cook a carp / Euell Gibbons (essay)
  • Dinner at the pavillon / Joseph Wechsberg (essay)
  • The gumbo cult / Eugene Walter (essay)
  • Baked beans / John Gould (recipe)
  • Delights and prejudices / James Beard (essay)
  • Beef stroganoff / James Beard (recipe)
  • Soul food / Langston Hughes (essay)
  • Vichyssoise / Michael Field (recipe)
  • Soul food / LeRoi Jones (essay)
  • Tunnel of fudge cake / Ella Rita Helfrich (recipe)
  • Oranges / John McPhee (essay)
  • How to make stew in the Pinacate Desert: recipe for Locke & Drum / Gary Snyder (essay)
  • About the television series / Julia Child (essay)
  • Coq au Vin / Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle, Simone Beck (recipe)
  • The food establishment: life in the land of the rising souffle (or is it the rising meringue?) / Nora Ephron (essay)
  • Lessons in humility and chutzpah / Gael Greene (essay)
  • Zucchini quiche / Anna Thomas (recipe)
  • The techniques of the kitchen-the making of a cook / Roy Andries de Groot (essay)
  • Moong dal / Madhur Jaffrey (recipe)
  • Simple French food / Richard Olney (essay)
  • Chicken tagine with chick-peas / Paula Wolfert (recipe)
  • The traveling man's burden / Calvin Trillin (essay)
  • Risotto Alla Parmigiana / Marcella Hazan (recipie)
  • Just a quiet dinner for two in Paris: 31 dishes, nine wines, a $4,000 check / Craig Claiborne (essay)
  • Francs and beans / Russell Baker (essay)
  • Grinding it out: the making of McDonald's / Ray Kroc (essay)
  • Morning-after-hog-butchering breakfast / Edna Lewis (essay)
  • An original old-fashioned Yankee clambake / Raymond Sokolov (essay)
  • The anthropology of table manners from Geophagy onward / Guy Davenport (essay)
  • Blessed are we who serve / James Villas (essay)
  • Chicken Marbella / Julee Rosso & Sheila Lukins (recipe)
  • Eating together: recipes and recollections / Lillian Hellman & Peter Feibleman (essay)
  • Billotte's / Waverley Root (essay)
  • Kitchen horrors / Laurie Colwin (essay)
  • Meatless days / Sara Suleri (essay)
  • Manifold destiny / Chris Maynard & Bill Scheller (essay)
  • Pleasures of eating / Wendell Berry (essay)
  • The farm-restaurant connection / Alice Waters (essay)
  • Where is the grease of yesteryear? / Daniel Pinkwater (essay)
  • Philadelphia pepperpot soup / Sheila Ferguson (recipe)
  • Primal bread / Jeffrey Steingarten (essay)
  • Mama Menudo / Ray Gonzalez (essay)
  • Enough jam for a lifetime / Maxine Kumin (essay)
  • Yellowfin tuna burgers with ginger-mustard glaze / Danny Meyer & Michael Romano (recipe)
  • Do women like to cook? / Laura Shapiro (essay)
  • Recipe of memory / Victor M. Valle & Mary Lau Valle (essay)
  • The toll house cookie / John Thorne (essay)
  • Boiled chicken feet and hundred-year-old-eggs: poor Chinese feasting (essay)
  • Creole gumbo / Howard Mitcham (recipe)
  • Adultery / Judith Moore (essay)
  • My kitchen wars / Betty Fussell (essay)
  • Dinner rites / Rick Bragg (essay)
  • Steamed pork loaf with salted duck eggs / Ken Hom (recipe)
  • The breath of a wok / Grace Young (essay)
  • Kitchen Confidential / Anthony Bourdain (essay)
  • Today's special / David Sedaris (essay)
  • Indian takeout / Jhumpa Lahiri (essay)
  • Hersheyettes / Patricia Volk (essay)
  • Fast food nation / Eric Schlosser (essay)
  • Cheese: Cindy and David Major, Vermong / Corby Kummer (essay)
  • Coming home to eat / Gary Paul Nabhan (essay)
  • Celebrations of Thanksgiving: Cuban seasonings / Ana Menendez (essay)
  • Lady Bird Johnson's pedernales chili / Robb Walsh (recipe)
  • Looking for Umani / Ruth Reichl (essay)
  • My organic industrial meal / Michael Pollan (essay).
Review by New York Times Review

SHALL we begin with a little amusegueule? Thoreau on watermelon? Or, better, the remarkably sinless selection from Nathaniel Hawthorne, in which he tells of catching little bream from a stream that was dismayingly muddy (uh-oh) and of how savory (ah!) these small panfish were for breakfast, "directly ... from beneficent Nature." Followed by a sushi appetizer via Ruth Reichl: "The abalone was ... more like some exotic mushroom than something from the ocean, with a slightly musky flavor that made me think of ferns. Beside it the geoduck was pure ocean - crisp and briny and incredibly clean. ... Next to the pure austerity of these two, the Japanese clam seemed lush and almost baroque in its sensuality." Reichl then picks up a tiny crab with her chopsticks: "They had been deep-fried, and they crunched and crackled in my mouth like some extraordinary popcorn of the sea." No, this isn't going to work. Convenient as it might seem to review this book in menu form, there is too much here to digest in one banquet or bill of fare. Oh, I could list Calvin Trillin's remarks on the generic "Continental cuisine" at "La Maison de la Casa House" as the introduction to Wendell Berry's after-dinner speech in appreciation of real food's loamy, oinky provenance: "Eating ends the annual drama of the food economy that begins with planting and birth. Most eaters, however, are no longer aware that this is true." I might slip in Nora Ephron's account of "Food Establishment" backbiting as the juicy talk at one table; and, at another, Judith Moore's confessional "Adultery" (before ruining her life, it brought out the exultant cook in her); and, at yet another, Guy Davenport holding forth on "The Anthropology of Table Manners From Geophagy Onward": "There are dinner parties in Africa where the butter for your stewed calabash will be be milked from your hostess's hair. And you dare not refuse." If this imaginary menu were a DVD, the commentary extras might include James Villas's account of working as a waiter at Le Perroquet in Chicago and rushing up to Tennessee Williams's table: "I see that the drooping head of the guest sitting in front of the playwright is practically touching his salmon steak." But how would I squeeze in Edna Lewis's "Morning-After-Hog-Butchering Breakfast"? In this recollection from Lewis's childhood in late-1920s rural Virginia, several black families would gather to render pork at its freshest: "The hogs looked beautiful. They were glistening white inside with their lining of fat, and their skin was almost translucent after the scraping." More than a meal in itself, this piece is a saga: the peeling off of fine-textured "leaf lard," to be kept and used for biscuits and pie crust; and the carving of the meat, and the smoking of it, and uses found for all the trimmings. And "the taste of fresh bacon, sliced thin from the middling as soon as the meat was cold enough to carve," and also puffy sunny-side-up eggs (fresh from the hen, and each with a dash of rooster), and black raspberries with cream. And the consigning of one organ to the kids: "We would blow the bladders up with straws cut from reeds and hang them in the house to dry. By Christmas they would have turned transparent like beautiful balloons. We always handled them with care and made them part of our Christmas decorations." James Beard is one of the many luminaries anthologized in "American Food Writing." All this and more on one menu would overwhelm. In another of Molly O'Neill's inspired selections, M.F.K. Fisher tells of a repast urged upon her in wave after wave by "a young servant in northern Burgundy who was almost fanatical about food, like a medieval woman possessed by the devil. Her obsession engulfed even my appreciation of the dishes she served, until I grew uncomfortable." Eventually, Fisher turns dreamy, the many courses having each been so exquisite, but "I felt surprise to be alive still." Fisher's palate has at last earned the epicurean servant's approval, but the redoubtable diner is all but foundered, bodily, mentally and spiritually. And she has yet to earn the respect of the jaded (or down-to-earth) resident cat. Since I can't review this book in stages, every Sunday for the next several months, how may I serve it to you adequately without growing testy? I ask this in mind of the tartly comic selection from "Eating Together: Recipes and Recollections," in which Lillian Hellman and Peter Feibleman jointly portray Hellman's six days of tergiversatory preparation for a Martha's Vineyard dinner party. At length Hellman is reduced to outspoken resentment of the guests of honor, who hadn't wanted to socialize in the first place. To avert exhaustion, I might quibble. Avoid the S. J. Perelman piece, I might suggest, because it isn't primo Perelman. I can't forbear to point out that Thomas Jefferson's verbatim recipe for ice cream includes an "it's" that ought to be an "its." And I do believe more attention should have been paid to Southern barbecue. Or I might focus on theme. The introduction by O'Neill - a former food columnist for The New York Times and the author of cookbooks and a memoir - begins with reference to having been caught up in the "food revolution" beginning more or less in the '60s. That freshness-and-purity boom, she has come to realize, was just one more twitch in the "long and continuous history" of the "essential tension in the American appetite," which "mirrors a central conflict in American culture," "between the civilized and the wild." For more of such perspective, see the introduction, which is sound and lively. Winston Churchill would have been wrong to find fault with this anthology, as he is supposed to have done with an overelaborate dessert, by saying, "This pudding has no theme." Theme is nothing, however, unless sufficiently grounded in pudding. Alfred Kazin's recollection of Jewish mothers' force-feeding of their families in Brooklyn between the world wars thrums with cultural tension: "Eat! Eat! May you be destroyed if you don't eat! What sin have I committed that God should punish me with you! Eat! What will become of you if you don't eat! Imp of darkness, may you sink 10 fathoms into the earth if you don't eat! Eat!" But there is more exuberance than stress in Kazin's recalling of richly various delicatessens and celery tonic and the "warm and sticky ooze of chocolate ... through everything we touched." In his parody of SoHo restaurant fare, David Sedaris no doubt represents what O'Neill calls the American "populist counterpull" against sophisticated cuisine, but that posture is a hook for elegant fancy: "This is where the world's brightest young talents come to ... offer up their famous knuckle of flash-seared crappie served with a collar of chided ginger and cornered by a tribe of kiln-roasted Chilean toadstools, teased with a warm spray of clarified musk oil." In Corby Kummer's tribute to the Vermont cheesemakers Cindy and David Major, the banner of global-minded artisanalism is on high, but the pudding's proof is plain enough: "Oh my gosh," Ms. Major says of her first mouthful of the first batch of their cheese that they deem worthy of the annual conference of the American Cheese Society. "It tasted so rich, creamy and sweet. I just knew we'd finally figured it out." That cheese won a blue ribbon. So should this book. 'The hogs looked beautiful. They were glistening white with their lining of fat, and their skin was almost translucent.' Roy Blount Jr.'s latest book is "Long Time Leaving: Dispatches From Up South."

Copyright (c) The New York Times Company [October 27, 2009]
Review by Booklist Review

In this comprehensive anthology from the Library of America, veteran food journalist O'Neill brings together some of the most significant short food writing from across the whole spectrum of American culinary history. From the eighteenth century, Joel Barlow offers a poem celebrating a breakfast specialty. A brief account of cooking at the outset of the nineteenth century comes from Henry Adams' renowned history. James Beard, Julia Child, Craig Claiborne, and other contemporary icons record the great American food revolution of recent decades. Excerpts and articles from other writers bring the anthology up to date with concerns about food origins and sound nutrition. Good food writing being an effective tonic to arouse one's appetite, O'Neill has peppered the text with historical and modern recipes beyond those that appear within the texts themselves. A valuable subject index expedites locating topics efficiently within this very diverse set of readings.--Knoblauch, Mark Copyright 2007 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

This exhaustive collection of essays, anecdotes, and recipes spans three centuries of American food writing, from Meriwether Lewis?s account of killing "two bucks and two buffaloe" during his famous trek across the continent, to Michael Pollan?s up-to-the-minute account of the politics of organic food. In between are countless gems: Alice B. Toklas?s baroque recipe for lobster, Richard Olney?s meditation on pate and Edna Lewis?s poignant description of killing hogs on her family farm. Ably organized and edited by the former host of the PBS series Great Food, this collection features numerous accounts of foodways long since vanished in this country; take, for instance, Charlie Ranhofer?s thorough analysis of the thirteen-course society dinner, complete with "removes or solid joints," "iced punch or sherbet," and "hot sweet entremets"; or Maria Sermolino?s memories of the Italian meals served at her father?s Greenwich Village restaurant back when spaghetti was still a novelty. Famous food writers are well represented here (James Beard and Calvin Trillin, M.F.K. Fisher and James Villas), but perhaps even more rewarding are the wonderful but lesser-known players on the American food scene; either Elizabeth Robins Pennell?s discussion of the spring chicken or Eugene Walter?s tale of gumbo alone would make this volume a treasure. With so many wonderful ingredients, this rich, delectable treat is a must-have for American foodies. (May) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.