Raw, adjective: 2. not having undergone processes of preparing, dressing, finishing, refining, or manufacture

Last night I went to an author reading down the hill at Books, Inc., a great local indie bookstore.  Mark Kurlansky was reading from his newest book, Food of a Younger Land, which hits on all of those hot foodie topics: social history, the politics of food, regionalism, seasonality, the onslaught of fast food culture, etc.

Here's a blurb from the Publisher's Note:
Award-winning New York Times-bestselling author Mark Kurlansky takes us back to the food and eating habits of a younger America: Before the national highway system brought the country closer together; before chain restaurants imposed uniformity and low quality; and before the Frigidaire meant frozen food in mass quantities, the nation's food was seasonal, regional, and traditional. It helped form the distinct character, attitudes, and customs of those who ate it.

In the 1930s, with the country gripped by the Great Depression and millions of Americans struggling to get by, FDR created the Federal Writers' Project under the New Deal as a make-work program for artists and authors. A number of writers, including Zora Neale Hurston, Eudora Welty, and Nelson Algren, were dispatched all across America to chronicle the eating habits, traditions, and struggles of local people. The project, called 'America Eats,' was abandoned in the early 1940s because of the World War and never completed.
Kurlansky spent a lot of dusty hours in the Library of Congress digging into the many abandoned writings that had been commissioned for the 'America Eats' Writers' Project.  His work here gathers his gleanings from those lost pieces.  His spiel was an interesting one - including a laughing mention of some poem or other about "Nebraskans and Their Weiners."  (?!)  I imagine the book contains even more, uh, "questionable" foodie poetry.

Pick it up.


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