The Food of a Younger Land: The WPA's Portrait of Food in Pre-World War II America by Mark Kurlansky
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The Food of a Younger Land is a look at pre-WWII regional food in the United States. Kurlansky took a series of articles and recipes written under the Works Progress Administration's (WPA) Federal Writers’ Project (FWP) and compiled them into this gem of a book. These were articles and recipes intended for a project called America Eats but was abandoned around the time World War II broke out. The book is regionalized into the Northeast, South, Middle West, Far West, and Southwest areas of the US and has stories gathered through oral history as well as some old recipes you won't find in modern cookbooks like Nebraska Lamb and Pig Fries, Georgia Possum and Taters, and Montana Fried Beaver Tail. What you end up with is a wonderful look at life in the 30s and 40s, as well as details around the writers of the FWP, many who went on to have successful writing careers, like Eudora Welty and Zora Neale Hurston.
I particularly enjoyed the Introduction to the book that goes into details about the Works Progress Administration and the FWP. Kurlansky does a wonderful job of giving detailed background into the program and how he came upon the collection of writings. He also introduces each section to give you an idea of how the regional foods have changed over the years and what may still be used today.
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