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The Great American Cookbook: 500 Time-Testes Recipes: Favorite Food from Every State Hardcover – October 11, 2011
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"Paddleford was clearly ahead of her time, and her reporting is a pleasure to read. This title’s historic and ethnographic significance will appeal to researchers, and anyone who loves good food writing will enjoy the stories accompanying some of America’s best-known dishes." ~Library Journal
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Top Customer Reviews
However, I _hate_ the format of this edition, which is not designed to be helpful to cooks. It weighs a ton, has unnecessary and distracting design and typographic features, and worst, it's bound like a paperback notwithstanding its heavy paper and cover--glued at the spine so tightly that you can hardly open the book. It certainly won't stay open for a second if you lay it down, which you conceivably might want to do in order to cook from it or just to rest your arm.
I think it was designed to be big and heavy like this to position it in the same category as other recent New York Times-derived cookbooks, say, Amanda Hesser's "Essential New York Times Cookbook" or Molly O'Neill's "One Big Table." By contrast with the Paddleford update, however, both these great big books are original works crammed with the authors' research and recipe testing, and you feel that every page is worth the added weight. There's are good reasons for their heft: Hesser's historical perspective and her selection of NYTimes recipes; and O'Neill's interesting personal stories, pictures, and unique home cooking. Both books--like the original "America Eats"--reflect the authors' years of first-hand experience at the Times and elsewhere.
(I should mention here an old favorite, Jean Hewitt's "New York Times Heritage Cookbook," published in 1972 and, like those of Paddleford, O'Neill, and Hesser, based on the author's original research.Read more ›
At the time home economics majors touted what should be healthy eating, corporations published recipes using their boxed and packaged products and gourmet cooks insisted that american food was dreadful and promoted their recipes. But these were agendas, not necessarily what Americans were eating. Paddleford travelled around the country trying out foods and gathering the recipes.
Missing the point that this is an important work in the history of American cuisine, the editors of "Great American Cookbook" gutted the collection, removing dessert recipes because sweets aren't healthy in "obese America" and removing gelatin desserts or recipes that called for cream of chicken soup or processed cheese. Then the editors rewrote the remaining recipes, despite the fact that they were kitchen tested, presumably so women today would know to pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Historically speaking, "How America Eats" is a great collection of food recipes collected across America in the early part of the twentieth century by a pioneer spirit. The editors have turned it to mush. It is a shame that the copies of "How America Eats" are becoming so rare that they are almost too expensive to own because "The Great American Cookbook" does not replace it.
So the fact that there's great "American Food" isn't exactly news anymore. I mean, the fact that you're reading this says that you already know that. I think American food got good in the 90's, and the rest of the world, more or less, recognized that only recently.
But before it was even new news, that's when these recipes are from.
I have tried the following things from this cookbook:
-Souffled Mac & Cheese
-Black Chocolate Cake
-Black bean soup
My favorite thing about this book is that it's organized by region rather than by recipe type, so it really feels like it's American.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great cookbook! Very big and full of various recipes for each state. Definitely what I was looking for.Published 7 months ago by Shawna Dunham
Magnificent - an American treasure of down to earth recipes.Published 19 months ago by mary schneider
This is a great cookbook, lots of good recipes and information.Published 23 months ago by Molly Pastorello
Awesome regional information. Fun to read about the author too. Informative, updated for today's kitchen. Great recipes. I will recommend this to others.Published on October 21, 2013 by Wendy T.
Paddleford has a weird writing style, recipes mostly sweets. Concentrates on about five states and mostly desserts. Not a fan.Published on July 20, 2013 by Judi Uvick
This cookbook came well packaged, in a timely manner, no damage. Its a large book with alot of recipes, but I only found a couple that I was actually interested in trying. Read morePublished on June 4, 2013 by Margie Willey
This book is a well-done updated reissue of Paddleford's original 1967 cookbook. It's chock full of great American recipes with some vintage Americana flavor. Read morePublished on February 21, 2012 by A. Dauria