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America's Kitchens Paperback – December 1, 2008


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America's Kitchens + The 1950s American Home (Shire General)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 197 pages
  • Publisher: Tilbury House Publishers; First Edition edition (December 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0884483088
  • ISBN-13: 978-0884483083
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 8.2 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #344,838 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"...'America's Kitchens' makes use of case histories and interviews to animate its text. Equally compelling are the numerous old photos, posters and advertising art that bolster the narrative...A rare hybrid...is equal parts scholarly research and coffee table book - in short, serious fun." --Maine Sunday Telegram, December 14, 2008

"BUY THIS BOOK. On a 1 to 10 scale, this book is an 11. Of the hundreds of books I have listed and reviewed here on FoodReference.com since I began in 1999, this is among the BEST. Suffice it to say that on the day I received a copy, I could not help but to stop working and spend several hours reading and enjoying the incredibly rich visual content and text of America's Kitchens. America's Kitchens is interesting, informative, and entertaining. Lavishly illustrated with drawings, paintings, period posters, newspaper and magazine advertisements, color and black & white photos of people, kitchens, and equipment. America's Kitchens is a treasure trove of cultural information that tells the story of this room that is central to our lives in so many ways. If you enjoy FoodReference.com, you will love this fascinating book. The photos and illustrations alone make this a must have book for anyone interested in culinary history. Kudos to the authors, the book designers and Historic New England for producing a truly wonderful book." --FoodReference.com, December 2008

"......Innovatively designed and lavishly illustrated with historic drawings, photographs and a fascinating array of ephemera from Historic New England's diverse collections, America's Kitchens describes what it was like to live with and work in kitchens that had none of the conveniences we take for granted. At the same time, the book analyzes the profound place of the kitchen in our own lives today." --Kennebec Journal, January 11,2009

"...Innovatively designed and lavishly illustrated with historic drawings, photographs, and a fascinating array of ephemera from Historic New England's diverse collections, "America's Kitchens' describes what it was like to live with and work in kitchens that had none of the conveniences we take for granted. At the same time, the book analyzes the profound place of the kitchen in our own lives today..." --Antiques Journal, March 2009

"...a compelling homage to the beloved room within the home that is central to our lives in so many respects...richly embellished with paintings, photographs and historic drawings..." --Culinary History Enthusiasts of Wisconsin, March 23,2009

"...It's the kitchen that's the most evocative room in the American household. The authors of America's Kitchens reaffirm that fact of national life in this fascinating compilation of words and images that trace the room's evolution from the "hearth way of life" in the colonies all the way to the granite-topped, open-plan kitchen extravaganzas of today...." --The Culinary Times, Spring 2009

"...a thoroughly and thoughtful look at the evolution of the kitchen (or what has served that purpose) across the country from America's earliest inhabitants to the present day....scholarly enough for research-but lively and appealing to the casual reader. Or one can simply browse through the photographs, engravings, advertisements and sketches...to enjoy a pictorial evolutionary history of the kitchen. It is indeed an evolution, in social and technological terms..." --Women's Quarterly/Kennebec Journal, July 22, 2009

Review

...The variety of illustrations in Kitchens produces an engaging panorama ranging from period photography, written documents, drawings, and advertisements to genre paintings. The span of illustrative material runs parallel to and complements the book's highly satisfactory essays on kitchens, and cooking traditions, making it an outstanding resource for house restorers...."

"...a text that delves into the social history of the space and its inhabitants....subjects such as regional foodstuffs, domestic servants, home economics, and advertising are well covered....Excerpts from household manuals and diaries, quotations from notable figures, and recipes interspersed throughout the book are a charming addition to the text...Myriad illustrations are included, mostly of paintings, prints, and archival photographs that capture very well the activity of the kitchen..."

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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The pictures and sidebars are full of interesting information.
Deana Tollerton
I checked this out from my fantastic local library, but I'm very definitely going to purchase it, as it belongs in my personal library.
Joanne K. Bouknight
While the book is written for adults and includes scholarly citations, the writing style is accessible enough for older children.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Price Watcher on December 5, 2010
Format: Paperback
This is a beautifully illustrated and well researched book that will appeal to many different audiences. I think it would be a great gift for a cook with too many cookbooks, or any fan of American history, particularly women's history. I also think it would be great for a school library, since kids just love to write papers and projects on topics like these (e.g. what did the colonists really eat?). While the book is written for adults and includes scholarly citations, the writing style is accessible enough for older children.

The book has seven chapters:
1) The kitchen in American life
2) The New England hearth 1720-1840
3) Kitchens in the plantation south 1830-1860
4) Cookstoves and servants 1850-1890
5) Kitchens along the Rio Grande 1821-1912
6) Towards the modern kitchen 1890-1945
7) The Postwar kitchen 1945-present

Thus the book moves through time and place in a very engaging way. The book is fully illustrated; a picture on nearly every page. It's the kind of book you could read cover-to-cover or just flip through and read a page here and there, and enjoy it both ways.

As a food fan myself, this book made me reflect. A lot of us foodies are so enthusiastic nowadays about "slow" and authentic food, and so against processed and prepared foods. Yet this book showed how preparing, cooking, and preserving food often dominated literally every minute of women's lives. For example, "by some estimates, women may have spent as much as six to eight hours a day grinding corn and another two or three hours making tortillas" (p. 111). Wow. Even the most dedicated foodie doesn't want to spend 10 hours a day making the same thing, every single day. Made me appreciate technology in and out of the kitchen much more.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Kate Johnson on January 11, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
and the book exceeded them! A delightful book suitable to the casual kitchen person or serious academic.
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Format: Paperback
I've written about kitchens for Taunton Press and I'm always on the lookout for books about the history of kitchen design. I checked this out from my fantastic local library, but I'm very definitely going to purchase it, as it belongs in my personal library. This book contains a nice mix of academic research and original sources. It is stuffed full of photos, illustrations and quotes from original texts from all eras. And it has an incredible, huge bibliography, including a reference to some fascinating and comprehensive online sources. History buffs, designers, and cooks of all ages should enjoy seeing what Americans have considered ideal for kitchen design over our 200-plus year history.
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