America Eats

Nelson Algren, Author, David E. Schoonover, Editor, Louis I. Szathmary, Foreword by University of Iowa Press $25.95 (123p) ISBN 978-0-87745-361-1
This early attempt to combine the disciplines of gastronomy and social history in ``an account of midwesternsic foodways, customs,sic and lore'' was in fulfillment of an assignment for which author Algren ( The Man with the Golden Arm ) himself had little esteem (``I did it because I needed the money''): a 1930s Illinois Writers Project enterprise called ``America Eats.'' A half century on the shelf, Algren's manuscript has been eclipsed by the work of many others in the service of cuisine, and his informal anthropology seems, today, somewhat dowdy and imprecise. It is also apparent that his 33 recipes, mere sketches, are obviously not the work of a practiced cook (chef Louis Szathmary, who purchased the manuscript from Algren in 1975), provides tested, corrected and clarified versions of each recipe, in an added section). Nevertheless, the main text is attractive. Algren's sense that pioneer traditions were fragile and that knowledge of them would be important to posterity was prescient, and his presentation has considerable ease and polish. Beginning with a look at native peoples, he moves on to the settlers' groping for means of sustenance, finally considering, separately, culinary rites from each of several immigrant groups: ``lutefisk,'' the strange dried cod cult of Lakes States Norwegians; and Serbian barbecued lamb, ``waging a losing fight,'' even then, with the American hot dog at Serbian festivals. (May)
Reviewed on: 07/31/2000
Release date: 08/01/2000
Show other formats
FORMATS
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.