The American Century Cookbook

Jean Anderson, Author
Jean Anderson, Author Clarkson N Potter Publishers $35 (560p) ISBN 978-0-517-70576-6
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Tuna-Noodle Casserole, Jell-O molds and Lipton California Dip are among the vintage recipes gathered in this culinary history. Anderson (The Doubleday Cookbook; The Food of Portugal) looks at the evolution of American cookery through food trends (convenience foods; dips; Tex-Mex), personalities (Clarence Birdseye to James Beard) and such brand names as Campbell Soup, Hershey Chocolate and Nabisco. A year-by-year time line begins in 1900 with such notations as ""Jell-O goes mainstream"" and ""Hershey manufactures a milk chocolate bar."" In 1936, ""Cyclamate is approved as an artificial sweetener""; 1971, ""The salad bar arrives (in Chicago)""; 1997, ""astronaut Shannon Lucid prepares Jell-O in drinking bags for the Cosmonauts aboard Mir,"" thereby bringing Jell-O a full--certainly undreamed of--circle. The origin of the Reuben sandwich and the observation that Grapes with Sour Cream and Brown Sugar emerged from the Ladies' Home Journal test kitchens circa the late '50s or early '60s are among Anderson's many anecdotes. Recipes are organized by course (""Appetizers & Snacks""), dish (""Casseroles""; ""Cakes & Frostings"") and ingredients (""Meats, Fish & Fowl""). Some old favorites are accompanied by updated versions (a traditional Risotto and Barbara Kafka's Fabulous Microwave Risotto). This chock-full volume works equally well as a reading cookbook, a recipe collection and a reference. (Nov.)
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