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Northern Hospitality: Cooking by the Book in New England Hardcover – March 29, 2011

4.0 out of 5 stars 8 ratings

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Editorial Reviews


This is an elegantly written, well conceived, and compelling work... a delight to read.

(Robert S. Cox, author of Body and Soul: A Sympathetic History of American Spiritualism)

In this unexpected gem in the ocean of works on food, librarians Stavely and Fitzgerald have crafted a 'richly contextualized critical anthology' of New England's food heritage. The first section is a short social history of food in America, which provides helpful context for the historical recipes. The heart of the book is the recipes, from the original cookbooks ranging from the 17th to the early 20th centuries, complete with original wording, spelling, and grammar and 'commentaries to aid in historical understanding.' Reading the original cook's recipe and the authors' explanation of it adds much to readers' understanding and appreciation of the topic. The authors also do an excellent job at portraying the depth and variety of New England food history, which is much richer than one would expect. With a few illustrations and a handy index, the work is well documented with endnotes and a lengthy bibliography. Verdict: Well done and highly recommended for foodies and historians.

(Library Journal)

Northern Hospitality is a big book... filled with information and recipes that will enlighten and enthrall anyone interested in food, cooking, or social history.


Stavely and Fitzgerald have provided a lively, well-researched follow up to their classic tome on New England cuisine, America's Founding Food.... A must have for New England public and academic libraries and large libraries with substantial American history and culinary collections.... Highly recommended.


Our favorite book of the year may be Northern Hospitality: Cooking by the Book in New England. In it Keith Stavely and Kathleen Fitzgerald address 'the complex, colorful, sometimes controversial story of New England cooking' through an unorthodox approach. Northern Hospitality profiles most of the more influential Yankee cookbook authors from the first three centuries of European settlement, then the remaining two thirds of the book reproduces their recipes with trenchant and often amused commentary. Our brief description here cannot convey the startling clarity of the prose. If you give away only one book this year, make it this one and hope that somebody returns the favor.

(British Food in America)

In this innovative study, part recipe anthology and part analytical investigation, Keith Stavely and Kathleen Fitzgerald attempt to unravel the process by which New England domestic cooks developed a distinctive and varied cuisine out of the initial encounter between cookery books brought from the old country and the ingredients found on the North Eastern coast of America.

(The London Times Literary Supplement)

The book [Northern Hospitality] serves up a fascinating main course in pre- and post-colonial history with an equally intriguing side dish of archaic recipes, and modern day adaptations with step-by-step instructions.

(Cambridge Cooks)

Northern Hospitality: Cooking by the Book in New England digs into the antecedents of what we think of as traditional New England cookery, and what they uncover may come as a surprise to those who think of the region's classic dishes as bland and uninspired.

(The Boston Globe)

While it can function as a cookbook, Northern Hospitality also would make an excellent textbook in food studies and American Studies classrooms. More importantly, it is significant beyond New England cultural history in that it shows how a regional food culture develops over time and in relationship to wider national history.

(Gastronomica: The Journal of Food and Culture)

This book collects almost 400 New England recipes from the 17th to early 20th century, but this big book by the husband-wife team of Keith Stavely and Kathleen Fitzgerald is also rich in regional food history and humorously explained cooking lore.

(CBS Boston)

About the Author

Keith Stavely served as director of the Fall River Public Library. Kathleen Fitzgerald is a librarian at the Newport Public Library. Their previous book, America's Founding Food: The Story of New England Cooking, was published in 2004 to widespread acclaim. Visit their website at: http://www.stavelyandfitzgerald.com.

Product details

  • Hardcover : 488 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 1558498605
  • ISBN-13 : 978-1558498600
  • Item Weight : 1.87 pounds
  • Publisher : University of Massachusetts Press (March 29, 2011)
  • Product Dimensions : 5.98 x 1.25 x 9.02 inches
  • Language: : English
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.0 out of 5 stars 8 ratings