Tuesday, June 30, 2009
As part of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal response to the Great Depression, he created the Federal Writers Project, sending writers to various parts of the land to write on various topics – including food. The project, called “America Eats”, was abandoned in the early 1940′s because of World War II and never completed. Instead the files were archived in the Library of Congress.
Food historian Mark Kurlansky joins us to discuss the book he wrote based on these lost files. “The Food of a Younger Land” brought the unassembled materials to light and created this version of the guide that never was.
Kurlansky’s book captures the stories of the time and combines them with recipes, anecdotes, photys and his own. The provide a portrait of American food – before teh national highway system, before chain restaurants, and before frozen food, when the nation’s food was seasonal regional and traditional.
From New York automats to Georgia Coca-Cola parties, from Arkansas possum eating clubs to Puget Sound salmon bakes, from Choctaw funerals to South Carolina barbecues, there’s enoromous diversity, depth and impact to these narratives.