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The American Century Cookbook Hardcover – November 11, 1997

4.8 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews

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My Halal Kitchen: Global Recipes, Cooking Tips, and Lifestyle Inspiration by Yvonne Maffei
"My Halal Kitchen: Global Recipes, Cooking Tips, and Lifestyle Inspiration" by Yvonne Maffei
Explore this bestselling cookbook filled with more than 100 diverse, popular, international recipes made with halal foods or halal substitutes along with tips on how to source them. Learn more
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Thank goodness Jean Anderson's The American Century Cookbook is as much a culinary page-turner as a call to the kitchen, because most of the 20th century's favorites are killers according to modern nutritional standards. Try to be satisfied learning that chocolate brownies and meatloaf, as we know it, were born back when most cooks relied on a wood-burning stove, and resist the urge to whip up a Grasshopper Pie or batch of Cherry Winks. Be assured, though, all 500-plus recipes work to perfection, including the one for Perfection Salad, the gelatin mold that started it all back in 1905. Charting trends along with the origins of specific dishes, Jean Anderson shares the significance of landmark cookbooks, from The Fannie Farmer Cookbook, to Craig Claiborne's The New York Times Cook Book, and Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Sea changes cited are the acceptance of foreign cuisines and the idea that cooking can be a pastime as well as a necessity. A few landmark recipes include Clam Dip, Gazpacho, Guacamole, Sloppy Joes, New York-Style Cheesecake, and Banana-Nut Bread. Find your favorites set in context by Anderson's painstaking research.

From Library Journal

Anderson, a well-known food writer and cookbook author, has put together a fascinating collection of recipes, anecdotes, and historical tidbits about America's favorite foods since the turn of the century. Many recipes come from old cookbooks and magazines; others are from chefs and cooking teachers; and lots come from the test kitchens of food companies (remember Mock Apple Pie from Ritz crackers?). Most readers will discover forgotten old favorites here, although at times the preponderance of back-of-the-box-type recipes is a rueful comment on American tastes?but, then, how could Lipton's onion soup dip not be included? Recipes are organized by category, but the headnotes and a time line running through the book set them in historical context. There are also boxes on topics from Wheaties to the Joy of Cooking and 300 illustrations (not seen) scattered throughout. Fun to read or just to dip into, this is a unique cultural history; highly recommended.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Clarkson Potter; 1 edition (November 11, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0517705761
  • ISBN-13: 978-0517705766
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 1.7 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,203,883 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I recently received a copy of The American Century Cookbook. My wife and I have several dust covered recipe books that are largely ignored when it is time to cook up something new. After one quick shuffle through this book however, we found ourself sitting together and going through the book as if it were, well what it is, an intriguing history book that accents its "flavor" with numerous recipes, pictures and facts. Several of my friends, including my parents and my in-laws will be receiving their own copy of this wonderful historical treasure. I may even have to buy myself another copy because my wife likes to dogear pages that she wants to come back to. In this case it would have been easier to dogear those that she did not want to return to.
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Format: Hardcover
When I started cooking about three years ago, I had absolutely NO experience to draw from (except for grilling and pancakes--the two CAMPING dishes I learned from my Dad). Because I did not want to give half my salary to fast food restaurants and eat from stryofoam for the rest of my life, I decided I ought learned how to cook. That is when I started collecting cookbooks. I started with Cooking For Dummies and went on from there. I quickly found that I had a knack for cooking and soon came to enjoy it. As my cookbook collection grew, I quickly discovered that there were two types of cookbooks: Those you cook from and those you read. This is the first cookbook that I have found is good for both. The recipes included are fabulous and it is a great book to browse. The recipes come on all levels so the cooking klutzes and the Julia Childs alike will be able to use it. When you buy this book, and you certainly SHOULD buy this book, go directly to the recipe for blondies. I had never heard of them before but they are cheap and easily made. After I made the first batch, I made a double batch to take to work where I had just started. Let's just say it made breaking the ice in a large office a lot easier. Thanks, Ms. Anderson!
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Format: Hardcover
If your looking for it it's in this book and a whole lot more. My favorite recipes from childhood like grasshopper pie and wafer cakes even that strange perfection salad is there. There are recipes for mystery cakes, heavenly hash, oh just tons of recipes each with a preface which talks about the recipe's history. If you like history and you like food this is a treasure. There is a timeline of food happenings and section on the international influences on the American palette.
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By A Customer on January 19, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This book is exceptionally broad in both history and recipes. From Appetizers and snacks to soups, main dishes, casseroles, vegetables, salads, breads, desserts and more! Old "tried and true" recipes are given. Along with the recipes are wonderful stories, mini history lessons, and facts on a century of events in the food industry. For example, in 1929 7up went on sale or1963 "The French Chef" with Julia Child comes to public television. The only drawback to the book, as far as I am concerned, is that with the wonderfully historic photos and drawings throughout the book there are no captions about the pictures, telling the reader about the picture. That would have added greatly to the historical point of the book. But, an excellent book, one worth having.
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Format: Hardcover
I was very surprised to see no reviews for this marvelous cookbook. I have the older, 1997, edition and it is full of reliable good recipes, including the _best_ zucchini bread recipe I have ever tried. I make it every summer. In addition to good reliable recipes -- something I do not find in too many cookbooks -- she has an easy friendly chatting style that I personally enjoy reading. Try this cookbook, you'll be glad you did.
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Format: Hardcover
As others have pointed out, this book is interesting as a history of popular cooking in the U.S. in the last hundred years or so. The illustrations are delightful and the text is informative.

But I must differ from the other reviewers and make a point for those of us who like authentic recipes. Many of the recipes here are introduced with the words "adapted from" or "version of" - which is a way of saying that the original recipe has been altered in unspecified ways and for unknown reasons. The result is that many of the bowdlerized recipes are only vaguely similar to the original, and invariably to their detriment.

I vastly prefer the recipes to be given in their original form so that, if we choose to, we can make them as we remember them. If I want to de-fat and de-sugar recipes where these elements are vital to the taste and texture, I can make that "adaptation" on my own. I think it's rather dishonest to portray the contents as "the recipes our mothers and grandmothers loved" when, in fact, they are frequently pale imitations with all the goodness removed. Be sure to preserve and treasure those clippings grandma left you; with a world full of "editors" carefully excising the politically incorrect ingredients, they're the only unadulterated record of how grandma really cooked.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is a treasury of true American cooking, with the recipes our mothers and grandmothers loved,and that make fond memories for us. Some are still favorites for family and entertaining (Pineapple Upside-Down Cake, Stroganoff Casserole), others beg to be rediscovered (Imagine! Coca-Cola Salad), all provide fascinating reading, with their accompanying histories, orginal ads and illustrations. "American Century" has rapidly become one of my favorite cookbooks, both for browsing and for adding to my collection of recipes that please and amaze.
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