Eating in America by Wavery Root and Richard de Rochemont
Find out how early Americans ate and how it compares to your daily fare.


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Jessica Tagliaferro is a freelance writer in Brooklyn, NY.


July 2005


Product Reviews / Best Reads / Food History, Philosophy & Reference

Eating in America: A History

By Wavery Rootand Richard de Rochemont

This engrossing history explores how a multitude of factors—economic, medical, social, agricultural, environmental, and technological—have shaped American eating habits and attitudes over the past four centuries. I especially enjoyed the early part of this work, which in a writing style as engaging as a Ken Burns documentary, the authors uncover forgotten foods, oftentimes very unappetizing in nature. The authors are conscious of the accusations made throughout the world about American cuisine and gustatory vice for sweets and alcohol—that we have an uneducated palate, our restaurants have been sub-par, etc. But again and again they show how American home chefs did remarkably well, “making do” with what was available. They were highly inventive, while the restaurant industry did not fare well until the influx of immigrants influenced menus and staffing of this now world-class industry.

  • 512 pages
  • Ecco Press
  • 1976, 1994

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