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The American History Cookbook by Mark H.…

The American History Cookbook

by Mark H. Zanger

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I checked this book out because I was interested in the first chapter, which includes several very detailed descriptions and recipes for the types of food Native Americans were preparing when the first Europeans arrived.

Unlike many of the other cookbooks I looked at, this relies heavily on written records rather than oral tradition or current practices. The quotes from early journals and other eyewitness accounts make it clear that those are not great sources for anyone interested in preparing such food themselves, so he also consulted local cookbooks and other Native Cookbooks to try to get back to the most basic preparations and ingredients that would have been historically accurate.

Many of the preparations are so accurate they're likely to be intimidating to a contemporary home cook, but he does include some updated substitutions. I tried a recipe that he noted doesn't always work and I didn't have much luck with it, but at least the instructions noted the possible result (corn-bean bread, boiled from a mash of hominy and canned beans - mine was probably still too wet, since it dissolved quickly). ( )
  TheKitchenTourist | Dec 31, 2009 |
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This book uses historical commentary and recipes to trace the history of American cooking from the first European contact with Native Americans to the 1970s. Each of 50 chronologically arranged topical chapters contain 500-1,000 words of general commentary followed by descriptions and clear, step-by-step instructions for 3-4 recipes. Annotation. The historic recipes in this volume are foods that were common in the US from the earliest pilgrims through the 1970s. The chapters, divided chronologically, address broad themes and motifs, including patriotic cakes, early American meals for each of the four seasons, traditional dishes of American slaves, Civil War dishes in the north and south, the Great Depression, WWII, and the Vietnam War. The food history of the period introduces each chapter. The recipes are given in a historic version and adapted to modern kitchens.… (more)

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