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A Thousand Years Over a Hot Stove: A History of American Women Told Through Food, Recipes, and Remembrances Hardcover – October 1, 2003


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; First Edition edition (October 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393016714
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393016710
  • Product Dimensions: 9.7 x 7.9 x 1.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #770,624 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

As the title implies, in her first book, freelance writer Schenone has attempted to cover more than a millennium in women's history, tossing in historically interesting recipes along the way. The results of this ambitious project, however, can't help but be broad, and the book is full of sweeping statements such as, "As cooks, Native American women lay the first claim to some of the greatest ingredients in the history of the world." A turgid introduction reaches even further back than 1,000 years to conjure a figure Schenone names "All Woman," whom she imagines as the first female on earth and imbues with all kinds of knowledge and curiosity. Later chapters are more fact-based and reliable. Indeed, when Schenone delves into the specific, her writing immediately improves. For example, a section in a chapter on the 19th century that details the development of urban peddlers and more specifically "hot corn women," is rich with description, evocative and offers information that is probably new to most readers. The author also does a commendable job of drawing the often-ignored connections among politics, women and food when describing events such as the 1917 food riots in New York City and lunch counter sit-ins in the 1960s. The book is chockablock with recipes (often for oddities such as Apple Crisp Pronto from 1943, a concoction of packaged bread, margarine, honey and apples meant to help Rosie the Riveter get dinner on the table), period illustrations and sidebars, including one on Sara Josepha Hale, who standardized the Thanksgiving holiday.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

For centuries, society has dictated that one of a woman's most important roles is feeding the family. The integral process of feeding the family often involved more than merely cooking meals. For many women, food preparation might have also included planting, gathering, foraging, storing, shopping, socializing, serving, and cleaning up. In America, as in most other countries, women have traditionally been perceived as natural nurturers responsible for providing both food and comfort in large quantities. Schenone interweaves more than 50 diverse recipes with a wealth of historical anecdotes, trivia, and illustrations. Drawing from a wide variety of backgrounds and recipes, this lively, loving tribute to the female culinary experience crosses cultural and socioeconomic divides in authentic American fashion. Fascinating social history with a heaping helping of home cooking thrown in for good measure. Margaret Flanagan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

From the very first words I read in this book I was captivated.
maria ramos-chertok
1-2007 I just want to add that I still love this book and refference it and bought a copy for my sister who loves it!
rural girl
On top of all this there are recipes scattered throughout the book that are related to each era.
Tracy Choma

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Tracy Choma on February 26, 2005
Format: Hardcover
After reading A Thousand Years Over a Hot Stove, I couldn't help but feel a little ashamed about my own everday interaction with food. For example, every week I buy all the needed ingrediants for a salad or to use in my juicer and sure enough, one week later I'm throwing everything out, pratically untouched. This book was a kick in the pants of how lucky we are today to have such conveniences as fresh fruit and vegetables and sliced bread. It also showed me how much I take these items for granted. There are personal recollections and stories passed on through generations in this book that are absolutely fascinating and tell how people got by back in the day when not everything was so readily available. It also takes you through key moments in history. For example, During WWI and WWII the importance of planting Liberty and Victory Gardens. Another story talks of how in one particular Chinese family it was more important to a father that his little girl knew how to wash rice properly, considered a principal accomplishment of any Chinese female, than to go get an education. Another theme came up over and over again was the power of women's voices as mothers and homemakers who demanded fair pricing, strict sanitary guidleines, government funded programs to feed the poor. On top of all this there are recipes scattered throughout the book that are related to each era. Some you'll want to try and others....not so much. Great pictures included as well! Hope you enjoy!
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By M. Alther on June 26, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you enjoy a coziness factor in your life, you'll benefit from reading this book. It's fun and useful and educational. You'll come away with a new respect for the everyday love offerings dished out by Mom and Grandma and the matriarchs of generations and milleniums past. Little by little they all contribute to the building of a civilization.
Wow! Inspiring reading about the over-looked contribution of everyday women and nurturers in our daily lives, and the food they give us. Very entertaining.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Millard on January 22, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I picked this up for my wife at Christmas but began reading it and decided I'd keep it for a while!
This is a beautiful book that offers so many images I haven't seen before, and the author's prose is so clean, and yet in many places so lyrical and personal.
A Thousand Years Over a Hot Stove weaves so many stories about how our mothers and grandmothers and their ancestors kept our cultures and traditions alive and yet also took part in the great events of our times and wrote a different kind of history in our nation. The author's own connection to and respect for her mother and grandmothers is given such warmth and life from the very beginning. When we see what women have done in the colonial days at Plymouth Rock to the Civil War and slavery, to the struggle to feed their families, through the worst of the industrial revolution to what nurses and volunteers did on the battlefields of the First World war, and on and on through the best and worst of the 20th century, Schenone makes such a powerful and honest impression.
Anyone who enjoys American history or just food and cooking will lose themselves for hours here. This presents a perspective on the women in our lives and the unfolding of American history that deserves so much more attention--and also lovely personal writing about the author's life and experiences. And the recipes and photos are presented beautifully."
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By rural girl on July 2, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love this book. I bought it last year and was reading it when we moved and I lost it, so I had to buy it again. I love cooking and I love history and this book perfectly explains history through food, trends in food because of historical and societal pressures. I read another review that someone else felt it was insulting to women and I absolutely disagree; I feel it gives an interesting perspective and I can hardly put the book down. I did not enjoy the prologue though, and felt it was too sentimental, but maybe prologues are meant to be that way and I might appreciate it in the future. The photos are wonderful as are the recipes. This book has gotten me to think intimately about living and cooking in the past, without the romanticism that I have often instilled into my own ideas of what life may have been like and how it might have been better ... this book allows one to fully appreciate our modern luxuries here in America but also learn fascinating historical facts and more often than not it is amazing to read what people ate and why! I love this book!
1-2007 I just want to add that I still love this book and refference it and bought a copy for my sister who loves it!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer A. Wickes on April 27, 2006
Format: Paperback
Food history of women in America. This was a massive project that has not been done before. Schenone did an excellent job, complete with historical photos, and was even recognized by the James Beard Foundation where this book won for the best book in Writing and Reference in 2004.

If you enjoy history and food, this is an excellent book.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By L. Baker on May 17, 2007
Format: Paperback
Laura Schenone hooked me early in the book proclaiming she had days when she could spend all day in the kitchen and others when she walked into the kitchen & never cared if she cooked a single thing again. I could identify with that and knew what followed would be honest. I loved the book so much, I ordered a copy for my sister. We are still talking about it! Even though I didn't know the women cited in the book, I felt such a connection to all the women who have come before me and felt the need to nurture.
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