From her 19th Century island farmhouse home on Islesboro, Maine, prize-winning food historian, contemporary food essayist, and freelance writer Sandy Oliver writes a weekly newspaper column, contributes frequently to magazines, travels widely as a nationally sought-after speaker, panelist, and food expert, writes books, gardens organically, cooks, and lives sustainably.
DownEast Publishing has just released Maine Home Cooking, Sandy's fifth book, a beautifully illustrated cookbook, and a collection of wonderful and insightful recipes and anecdotes emanating from the close relationships she has developed over seven years with the readers of Tastebuds, her weekly Bangor Daily News column.
Since 1971, when she developed a fireplace cooking program in an 1830s house for Mystic Seaport Museum, she has established her niche as a recognized authority on American food history and the world of home cooks, particularly as they relate to an understanding of New England home cooking and its impact on American life.
Winner of a Julia Child Cookbook Award, the Jane Grigson Award for Distinguished Scholarship, she has authoredfour other books: Saltwater Foodways: New Englanders and Their Foods at Sea and Ashore in the 19th Century; Saltwater Foodways Companion Cookbook; Food in Colonial and Federal America; Giving Thanks: Thanksgiving History and Recipes (coauthored with Kathleen Curtin of Plimoth Plantation).
Sandy has contributed to the Oxford Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink, The Oxford Companion to American Food and Drink, and many other regional and American encyclopedias and compendia.
She is the founding editor of Food History News, a quarterly newsletter which she published for twenty years. After its last issue the internationally respected Petits Propos Culinaires said, "It has always been impressive stuff, subjecting food history to detailed, rigorous investigation; no claim is left unsourced. One salutes the passing of an inspiring companion."
Her insightful and perceptive intelligence, charismatic sense of humor and personal connection with her interests and her audiences have seen Sandy speaking to culinary historians, symposiasts at Thomas Jefferson's Monticello, the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian, in Washington, DC, Wilson Library at the University Of North Carolina, and at the Gastronomy Program at Boston University's Metropolitan College.