America Eats!: On the Road with the WPA - the Fish Fries, Box Supper Socials, and Chitlin Feasts That Define (Hardcover)

America Eats!: On the Road with the WPA - the Fish Fries, Box Supper Socials, and Chitlin Feasts That Define Cover Image
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September 2008 Indie Next List


“Pat Willard is a terrific food writer, and this book, which traces the WPA's 1935 documentation of American food traditions throughout the country, will have you itching to go on the road yourself to try and find the out-of-the-way diners, restaurants, and communities where food and its celebration take you to new gastronomic heights. If you love food, food writers, food junkies, food festivals, and food history, you must read America Eats!”
— Gayle Shanks, Changing Hands Bookstore, Tempe, AZ

October 2008 Indie Next List


“Pat Willard is a terrific food writer, and this book, which traces the WPA's 1935 documentation of American food traditions throughout the country, will have you itching to go on the road yourself to try and find the out-of-the-way diners, restaurants, and communities where food and its celebration take you to new gastronomic heights. If you love food, food writers, food junkies, food festivals, and food history, you must read America Eats!”
— Gayle Shanks, Changing Hands Bookstore, Tempe, AZ

Description


What the Sterns did for road food, Pat Willard does for festive American group eating in this exploration of our national cuisine, with a never-before-published WPA manuscript as her guide.
In America Eats Pat Willard takes readers on a journey into the regional nooks and crannies of American cuisine where WPA writers including Eudora Welty, Saul Bellow, Ralph Ellison, and Nelson Algren, among countless others were dispatched in 1935 to document the roots of our diverse culinary cuisine. With the unpublished WPA manuscript as her guide, Willard visits the sites of American food's past glory to rediscover the vibrant foundation of America's traditional cuisine. She visits a booyah cook-off in Minnesota, a political feast in Mississippi, a watermelon festival in Oklahoma, and a sheepherders ball in Idaho, to name a few. Featuring recipes and never-before-seen photos, including those from the WPA by Dorothea Lange, Ben Shahn, and Marion Post Wolcott, "America Eats " is a glowing celebration of American food, past and present.

About the Author


Pat Willard is the author of Pie Every Day, A Soothing Broth, and Secrets of Saffron, which was nominated for an IACP award for the best literary cookbook. She's written for Bon Appetit, Ladies Home Journal, American Heritage, and the Los Angeles Times. She lives in Brooklyn.

Praise For…


“Who but Pat Willard (A Pie Everyday, Secrets of Saffron) could find a tasty morsel in the Library of Congress? The morsel in question is a WPA project in which a number of authors, famous and unknown alike, were sent on the road to cover the communal culinary orgies to be found at the fairs, feasts and festivals so frequently held across the country, whether in the name of God, politics or pie. What Willard cooks up is an even tastier literary stew that includes (aside from squirrel as an ingredient) not only a lively anthology of the WPA work, but and even livelier narrative of revisits, re-samples, re-assessments, and recipes, all intriguingly spiced with cultural history, quirky local dialogue, and wonderful photographs by WPA greats like Dorthea Lange. One of a kind.”—Betsy Burton, The King’s English Bookshop, Salt Lake City, Utah

“[Willard’s] lovingly researched book, a tribute to regional cooking, is startling, funny and lip-smackingly good.”   —More magazine

“It's about time somebody wrote this…Willard blows the dust off, reprinting the original pieces along with her own revisits to the places and events from long ago. The result is new attention to an old project that gives a lively glimpse into how we eat together.”     —Charlotte Observer

 

“Engaging… Willard's enthusiasm is contagious, her project enviable.”   —Arizona Republic

 

“Wonderful descriptions and vignettes of American group eating - the food and its preparation, and the social life and customs surrounding it - written by members of the Federal Writers' Project in the late 1930s and early '40s. To this, the author has added her own thoughtful accounts as she travels across the land to discover present incarnations of those earlier feasts.”  —Boston Globe

 

“The spirit of camaraderie, and the determination to not let penury rob everyday existence of the companionable joys of food, are moving and instructive 70 years on.”   —Atlantic Monthly

 

“America Eats offers an unfettered view of the lives of ordinary folk, not unlike going out with good friends or long-lost relatives for a taste of country life.”  —Christian Science Monitor

 

Product Details
ISBN: 9781596913622
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publication Date: July 8th, 2008
Pages: 320