Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

From Hardtack to Home Fries: An Uncommon…

From Hardtack to Home Fries: An Uncommon History of American Cooks and…

by Barbara Haber

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
149380,266 (3.7)7

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 7 mentions

Showing 3 of 3
Engaging collection of food history essays. Haber draws on cookbooks, memoirs and other archival sources to tackle a number of topics, most of which I hadn't known or thought much about. (I most enjoyed learning about the Harvey Girls and the improvement of food along the railroads -- which also made me think, with a sigh, of Terry Pratchett's last book "Raising Steam.") I only wished the pieces weren't as short -- most of the subjects seem like they're worth a longer article or even a book of their own. ( )
  bostonian71 | Jun 24, 2015 |
Funky history of food in the U.S.- but not necessarily chronological. I enjoyed the discussion of the horrible food in the Roosevelt White House and how the Harvey girls came into being. ( )
  mmadamslibrarian | May 10, 2011 |
Haber selects different aspects of American life from which to analyze our relationship to food. Some of her choices are intriguing, such as the Irish Potato Famine, which sent floods of immigrants to the US, and sent at least one American reformer to Ireland to try to help feed people. Gently humorous--particularly in the chapter about food reformers--always interesting, this book combines cookery with sociology. ( )
  patience_crabstick | Jun 14, 2008 |
Showing 3 of 3
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0684842173, Hardcover)

Barbara Haber's fascinating From Hardtack to Home Fries bills itself as "An Uncommon History of American Cooks and Meals." More exactly, it locates the recurrent intersection of American women's history and culinary practice and shows how one shaped the other. In lively chapters like "Pretty Much of a Muchness: Civil War Nurses and Diet Kitchens" and "The Harvey Girls: Good Women and Good Food Civilize the American West," Haber focuses on the untold female contribution to 19th- and 20th-century food culture, an engrossing story. Readers not only encounter great anecdotes--Civil War nurses guarding barrels of whiskey from thieves, for example, or pioneer chain-restaurateur Fred Harvey's female service corps in action--but discover a hidden American history.

The vividness of the narratives results, largely, from Haber's excerpts of contemporary diaries and memoirs, like that of World War II POW Sarah Vaughan, who was held by the Japanese in Manila. ("There is a great rush for spinach juice," Vaughan reported, "on the days this is served.") In addition, Haber supplies pertinent recipes, like Ella Kellog's Savory Nut Loaf, a chilling example of 19th-century food-reformist fare, and Baked Fudge, the formula of Cleora Butler, whose unsung cookbooks first explored African American food in the Southwest. These documents tell truths as no others can. Haber's final and most personal chapter, "Growing Up with Cookbooks," explores the importance of cookbooks more explicitly, revealing their "intimate power to make connections between people"--to make culture itself. The authors of most of these recipes are women, a fact not lost on Haber, as the delightful Hardtack shows. --Arthur Boehm

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:34 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

No library descriptions found.

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
24 wanted

Popular covers


Average: (3.7)
3 8
3.5 1
4 12
4.5 1
5 1

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 115,195,384 books! | Top bar: Always visible