Hot dog, this book was fun! It uses documents from the Federal Writer's Program(part of the WPA) to document regional American cooking after canning wHot dog, this book was fun! It uses documents from the Federal Writer's Program(part of the WPA) to document regional American cooking after canning was introduced, but before fast food and frozen tv dinners became a way of life. I wish this book has been published before my father died. The first sections after the introduction are about Vermont and my father was born in Bennington in 1929. This is the food he grew up with. I remember him describing butternuts and stopped at elderly ladies' homes who sold Victorian style dinners from their living rooms. He said one winter night, on Valentine Street, when it was snowing, he say a man in a sleigh pulled by a horse. That was a rare sight, but it still happened.
Several of the dishes were really interesting and I would like to know how to cook them in modern kitchens. The Vermont picked pumpkin and pickled butternut recipes looked especially appealing. I wish I knew how the "Spanish" of the Southwest cooked their dried vegetables(esp pumpkin and cucumber). Lastly, I would like to know how to make the sourdough pancakes that show up over and over again.
There were all sorts of lost flavors I would like to try. I have never tasted a native persimmon and have only seen the Asian varieties for sale. My father used to hunt pheasant in Pennsylvania, which apparently was popular in Nebraska, but I have never tasted it.
There were plenty of other things that I am glad we have left behind, or are trying to. The extreme racism in the Southern sections turned my stomach. There was also a condescension and hostility towards outsiders epitomized in Eudora Welty's essay that I disliked. Men seemed to work very hard at proving they were men(see the multiple entries about `oysters').
There were long descriptions of Native American food traditions and the America of days gone by had a lot more seafood. New England ate more vegetables than I imagined. There were several dinners and suppers listed that were either vegetarian or used very little meat. ...more
I have loved Tony Horwitz ever since I read "Baghdad without a Map." Even thought I thought I found early American history boring, I decided to give tI have loved Tony Horwitz ever since I read "Baghdad without a Map." Even thought I thought I found early American history boring, I decided to give the book a chance. The cool cover didn't hurt.
My only complaint was that it did not cover Champlain's journey. I learned so much reading this book, and so much of it was depressing. From learning about de Soto's march of death that destroyed glorious civilizations to finding out the French colonized Florida, this book shook my view of America. His interviews with living Americans(the lady who called St. Augustine "the Devil's land") are as surprising and unsettling(but not as tragic) as the history. Afterwords, I read through his Notes and found plenty of books to add to my "to read" queue. As always, it is the native American history that drew me in....more
I wish this were a genre of book. Charles Mann tries to summarize what we now know of the history of the Americas before contact. It is hard, however,I wish this were a genre of book. Charles Mann tries to summarize what we now know of the history of the Americas before contact. It is hard, however, to cover an entire hemisphere in one book, so he is forced to make choices. Instead of focusing on a region, he decided to focus on questions, like "How many people were there in the Americas when Columbus arrived?" These simple questions have long, complicated, and ambiguous answers, written by someone who actually understands the science referenced. I learned so much and it has changed the way I look at our world. The book stays and stays with me....more
Beautiful illustrations and a fast read. I was very happy reading this book and looking at the pictures. Monongya led a tough life and would probablyBeautiful illustrations and a fast read. I was very happy reading this book and looking at the pictures. Monongya led a tough life and would probably be dead now if it were not for the intervention of Barry Goldwater. Personally, I preferred the earlier work....more
What a fantastic book! I should not have liked it; it is a fantasy about subjects that would normally turn me off, liminality and the importance of coWhat a fantastic book! I should not have liked it; it is a fantasy about subjects that would normally turn me off, liminality and the importance of color. I remember thinking how pompous all the talk about liminality was when I was in English class in high school, and the color business can drive me insane. In addition, I do not immediately identify with fifty year old women who have spent their lives hiding their lights under baskets. But I loved, loved, loved this book. It flew by. ...more
This book was in the science fiction section of the library, which testifies to the current sad state of affairs, as it is a book about religion, notThis book was in the science fiction section of the library, which testifies to the current sad state of affairs, as it is a book about religion, not fantasy. There is no evidence of anything paranormal; the narrator himself is constantly full of doubt. I find it sad that a novel about doubt and faith is labeled "science fiction" if it is not about Jesus.
The narrator in the book is sent to jail for manslaughter, and while in jail comes up with a new way to pray. Complications ensue. Something I liked about this book is that just when the reader starts to forget that Wardlin killed and spent ten years in jail, the author reminds us. That sort of experience is never going to be wiped away.
Another theme that got me thinking was on the nature of divinity. Wardlin has coffee with a University of Michigan professor who talks to him about how unlikeable many divinities are; they may be paternalistic, but he sure would not want one as a father. This rang true for me....more