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The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America Hardcover – December 31, 2004

ISBN-13: 978-0195154375 ISBN-10: 0195154371

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 1584 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (December 31, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195154371
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195154375
  • Product Dimensions: 11.2 x 8.9 x 1.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #159,104 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Whether readers make a living studying culinary traditions or just enjoy eating, they'll find this book a marvel. A trove of in-depth information on every aspect of American food and drink—such as holiday food traditions, the Slow Food movement and vegetarianism—the book strives to place its subject in historical and cultural context and succeeds brilliantly. Smith, who teaches culinary history at the New School University, compiles 800 articles and 400 illustrations in a colossal package, resembling Schott's Food & Drink Miscellany in the same way that the kitchen at the Four Seasons resembles the galley of a Manhattan apartment. Under "C," we find "Chickpeas," "Child, Julia," "Clambake," "Cola Wars," "Community-Supported Agriculture" and "Cooperatives"; while "T" offers entries on "Taco Bell," "Tea," "Thanksgiving," "Transportation of Food" and "Tupperware." Readers will be hooked upon opening either of the work's two volumes and flipping to any page. Among the offerings are a Nation article from 1879 that delights in fathers who'd mortify their daughters in social situations by joking about the "frivolousness of napkins"; an entry on the french dip sandwich crediting a Los Angeles sandwich shop owner with inventing the item in 1918 (he accidentally dropped a roll into the roast drippings as he prepared a beef sandwich for a customer); a piece on Rastus, the fictional chef whose image has appeared on Cream of Wheat packages since 1896; and a fascinating exploration of Southern regional cookery. For food lovers of all stripes, this work inspires, enlightens and entertains. B&w illus.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 9 Up–An authoritative resource that brings together "the best scholarship on the history of American food." Considering the subject from varied perspectives, the 770 articles discuss food and drink within the context of politics; geography; commerce; technology; medicine; class structure; agriculture; and symbolic, spiritual, and ethical values. The alphabetically arranged entries include chronological overviews of events and trends ("Cooking Schools," "Myths and Folklore"); specific foods and drinks ("Po'boy Sandwich," "Coca-Cola"); ethnic, religious, cultural, and racial contributions ("Native American Foods," "Thanksgiving"); biographies ("Lagasse, Emeril," "Pullman, George"); and political and social movements ("Temperance," "Pure Food and Drug Act"). Each entry includes a briefly annotated bibliography and cross references to related articles. Black-and-white illustrations add interest; most of them are historical reproductions with brief identifying captions. The writing is clear, the coverage is thorough, and the index is comprehensive. With entries ranging from "Bialy" to "Borden" (complete with a sidebar on "Elsie the Cow"), and "Vegetarianism" to "Vienna Sausage," this is an encyclopedic smorgasbord where readers can either casually graze multiple offerings or choose a single topic and dig in.–Joyce Adams Burner, Hillcrest Library, Prairie Village, KS
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

More About the Author

I am a freelance writer and speaker on culinary matters. I teach culinary history and professional food writing at the New School in Manhattan, serve as the General Editor of the Food Series at the University of Illinois Press, and am the general editor for the Edible Series at Reaktion Press in the United Kingdom. I am also the editor-in-chief of the Oxford Encyclopedia on Food and Drink in America and the Oxford Companion to American Food and Drink.

I am a member of the Culinary Historians of New York, the Association for the Study of Food Society (ASFS), and the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP). I serve on the editorial board for the ASFS journal, Food, Culture and Society and is the Chairman of The Culinary Trust, the philanthropic arm of IACP.

I have delivered more than fifteen hundred presentations on various educational, historical, and international topics, and has organized seventy-three major conferences. I have been frequently interviewed by and quoted in newspapers, journals and magazines, such as the New York Times, New Yorker, Reader's Digest, Los Angeles Times, Atlanta Constitution, Chicago Tribune, Fortune Magazine and The Wall Street Journal. I have been regularly interviewed on radio and television, including National Public Radio and the Food Network. I have served as historical consultant to several television series and appeared in episodes of: the 'Food Essence,' developed by Charles Bishop Productions, Halifax, Canada; 'American Eats' and 'America Drinks,' documentaries regularly broadcast on the History Channel and A&E; 'A Century of Food,' produced by Greystone Communications, Inc., broadcast on the Food Network in January 2001; 'Follow that Food,' series by Gordon Elliot, broadcast on the Food Network; 'What We Eat,' hosted by Burt Wolf and produced by Acorn Productions, currently airing on PBS; 'Ever Wondered about Food' by the BBC; the Food Network's 'Top Five;' Burt Wolf's PBS program on 'Thanksgiving;' Tom Zapeicki's (WBGU) 'Ketchup: King of Condiments' on PBS; Meals in 1776, 1876 and the 1950s, Steve Gillion's History Center's program, 'Eating through American History,' which aired on May 21, 2006 on the History Channel; and Atlas Media's American Eats episodes on 'Salty Snacks,' 'Condiments,' 'Cookies,' 'Chocolate,' 'Canning,' 'Soft Drinks,' 'Holiday Food,' and 'Presidential Food,' which were released on History Channel during the Summer and Fall 2006.

Customer Reviews

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I sit here with my two newly acquired volumes of the Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America in absolute awe!
Vicki J. Caparulo, CCP
This is an indispensible reference tool whether you are just fascinated by food and drink and all things related or need information for backgrounding purposes.
Janet Cabot
These quibbles aside, I am genuinely impressed by the overall quality of the writing in the thousands of articles in this work.
B. Marold

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By korova on May 24, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I picked up this set because I immensely enjoy reading the Oxford Companion to Food and refer to it often.

Unfortunately, while the scope of the OEFDA is wide and many of the articles are informative and interesting, the quality of the writing is not as high as in the OCF. Perhaps Oxford University Press thought it needed to make this book "accessible" to Americans by limiting the authors to writing at an 8th grade level.

There also are factual inconsistencies throughout the book. For example, Ruffles potato chips are said to have been launched during either the 1950's or the 1970's, depending on which article about snacks you happen to be reading. This sort of sloppy editing and fact-checking is inexcusable, especially from a university press.

Bottom line: the OEFDA is an admirable attempt at creating a comprehensive survey of American food history, but there are some glaring flaws. I recommend starting with the OCF.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By K. Fitzsimmons on November 1, 2004
Format: Hardcover
As a weekend gourmand, I found the entries in Food and Drink in America to be fascinating! From the origins of apple pie and baking soda to the lore of tomatoes, this is an amazing collection of historically-grounded, little-known stories about the food we eat. It is an indispensable reference book for anyone interested in food, cooking and American history - not to mention a comprehensive source for culinary trivia -- a great conversation piece!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jessica A. Bruso on November 10, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is great and it is helping me out a lot, I find it so useful. I write nutrition articles and it is a great resource for finding a fun fact or two to keep things interesting.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Janet Cabot on November 11, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is an indispensible reference tool whether you are just fascinated by food and drink and all things related or need information for backgrounding purposes. I have found it very useful. (Did you know that Dr. Pepper was created by a pharmacist from Waco, Texas in 1885?) The appendixes listing food websites, food museums, festivals etc. are quite helpful also. It's well worth the cost and a "must have" for your libary, especially if you work in or deal with the food and beverage world . . . and if you just love knowing random trivia you'll love having these volumes to thumb through!
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8 of 15 people found the following review helpful By B. Marold HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on January 9, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
`The Encyclopedia of Food and Wine in America' is a great 1500 page compilation of excellently written articles on virtually every aspect of the history, education, manufacture, marketing, personalities, and writing about food in America. Practically the only thing it does not include is recipes or cooking. Even sidebars whose label suggests a proper place for a recipe such as the sidebar on shoofly pie gives not one hint about how to make this delicious dessert. Given the size of the subject, it is not at all surprising that the editors have left these out, as both recipes and kitchen science can both be considered without nationality, plus the fact that there are thousands of good cookbooks and a score of books on food science available today, so why not focus on things which are not commonly covered in these books. This means that this volume can sit beside the `Larousse Gastronomique' with only a very small amount of overlap in material. These two giant books have two entirely different objectives. While both works will have articles on potatoes, Larousse will tell you how to cook them, but Oxford will tell us were they are grown, their commercial importance, nutritional importance, and their appearance in cartoons.

So, unlike Larousse, you are much more inclined to simply read the articles in these volumes for your own entertainment as much as for your need to know something. The articles are filled to the brim with interesting trivia about American food. One favorite item in the article about Spam is the fact that the word `Spam' became associated with junk e-mail on the strength of a Monty Python skit which did the same kind of number on Spam as the movie `Blazing Saddles' did on western films. Another discovery was the renaming of sauerkraut to `Liberty Cabbage' after World War I.
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