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The American Cider Book: The Story of America's Natural Beverage Paperback – August, 1995

4.2 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Vrest Orton (1897-1986) was the founder of The Vermont Country Store, a specialized goods outlet modeled after his father's and grandfather's emporium. Today, the store has expanded greatly, and its catalog, Voice of the Mountains, is mailed tri-annually to customers around the world. The American Cider Book is sure to find a place in every natural-food kitchen as a companion volume to Mr. Orton's wife's book, Cooking with Wholegrains.

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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: North Point Pr (August 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0865474842
  • ISBN-13: 978-0865474840
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,203,442 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Maxwell Goss on November 9, 2004
Format: Paperback
Few things in life give more satisfaction than a cool glass of unpasteurized cider, a mug of hot spiced cider, or a bottle of English hard cider. What a pleasure, then, to run across this little book by Vrest Orton, a lifelong Vermonter who spent two years researching the methods of New England cider makers.

The American Cider Book begins with a delightful history of apple cider in England and America, noting, among other things, that John Adams drank a tankard of it every morning and that the humble cider barrel was a symbol of William Henry Harrison's presidential campaign. It goes on to outline the traditional and modern methods for making cider in New England, then devotes a brief chapter to making it in the home. The book concludes with several dozen recipes for cooking with cider and some concluding reflections by the author.

Orton's strong opinions and quirky anecdotes make for an entertaining read. At one point he refuses to reveal the name or whereabouts of one cider maker, fearing that "vast conglomerates that know nothing about cider, vinegar, or even food would vie to buy him out, change his product, destroy its quality, and replace one of the best cider makers I have ever known." At another he notes that he likes to make cider with his wife, since "one of the great and noble functions of womanhood is to stand by and hand things to men to work with."

I should mention that, while the book does walk the reader through the various processes used to make sweet and hard cider, it often lacks in detail. In other words, the book gives you the basics, but you'll also need to use some creativity and common sense to see your cider through from the tree to the glass. This is no doubt what Orton intended, as experimenting is half the fun, but the meticulous reader may want to supplement the American Cider Book with a more specific how-to book. However, do not fail to read Orton's wonderful book first.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Even if you are not interested in making cider, and more seem to be all of the time, this is a good read and an excellent resource. It is a gem that was overlooked for far too long and I regularly gift cooks and brewer's with for the historic information and his dried apple pie recipe.

If you are planning to make cider, there are other books that I would recommend you have as well; I rely on Annie Proulx's excellent work.

For perspective and interesting uses, you need Vrest's volume.
I also recommend his other little books and the Vermont Country Store which he founded.

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Format: Paperback
This book is an excellent concise reference for cider making and enjoyment. It begins with a short article on the history of cider, particularly in North America and New England. This is followed by a substantial chapter on methods of making cider in the past and in the present. This section also describes tools and machinery, as well as bottling and preserving cider. There is also a shorter chapter on methods and tools needed for small-scale home cider production. The last part of the book consists of a collection of various recipes that call for cider, from soup to main dishes, to pie. The book is amply illustrated with high-quality black-and-white drawings and photographs. End material includes a short appendix of suppliers for cider making equipment and an index.

This book is fun to read as well as informative. Certainly, the quality of the historical research is excellent, and the facts are presently very coherently. A wide variety of information is included, from types of apples to use for cider making, to characteristics of the ideal pomace, to bottling and preservation methods for both sweet cider and hard cider, and even methods for making apple cider vinegar. Orton bases his comments not only on his historical research, but also on his own experience, growing up and making cider on a traditional family farm. On certain topics, he has some very firm opinions, which he shares with readers. For example, he observes, "One of the most outlandish, and to me shocking, habits of the times we live in is that of swilling down drinks from up-lifted bottles. No civilized person guzzles from a bottle if a glass or mug is available.
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