"A Thousand Years Over A Hot Stove: a history of American women told through food, recipes, and remembrances," by Laura Schenone not exactly a cookbook, but i thought it was very interesting. ever since i was old enough to read American Girl books, i've liked history. not the boring names, dates, battles and wars and presidents kind of history, but the clothes, food, lifestyles, culture kind. growing up, Oregon Trail was my favorite computer game. and after i read about Pocahontas, i wished with all my might that i had been born an Indian princess. i've always loved learning how people lived, what kind of clothes they wore, what kind of food they ate, what kinds of houses they lived in, etc. this book was definitely my kind of history. it begins in the ancient days of America, describing how the natives ate, what their culture was like, how closely their food tied in to their religion. the author moved on through history, describing gender roles and how they related to food, how food had an influence in changing culture, how African slaves changed southern cuisine. the author compared and contrasted the lives of Native American women, who were given autonomy in their freedom to leave their tribes to gather food, with those of Colonial women, who were confined to their kitchens with very little freedom whatsoever. she explains how hunger was a major driving force behind many immigrants coming to America, and how they kept their own cultures alive through food. the kinds of meals families enjoyed during times of plenty, and what they survived on during the poverty of the industrial age and the depression. what women's lives looked like when they were solely homemakers, and how they adapted during the world wars, when they had to go to work but also cook for their families at home. throughout all the information in the book are scattered old photographs, excerpts from diaries and recipes passed down from generation to generation. it might sound like a dull read to you, but i enjoyed it. just wanted to share.
"We can be ashamed of our wars and flaws, our capacity for evil as human beings. But cooking and caring for one another - this is our bright side. In cooking, we find our creativity, ingenuity. And I believe women want to embrace this connection because of our special history with food. If men want to join us in the kitchen, I think that's great. We need all the hospitality and caring we can get." ~Laura Schenone