Sunday, November 30, 2014

Library of America Story of the Week Read-Along 253: Sheila Hibben, Eating American (#253) (Catching up)

Sheila Hibben, "Eating American" (1932) from American Food Writing: An Anthology With Classic Recipes:

Sheila Hibben was both food consultant to the Roosevelt White House (before the First Lady and Hibben parted ways) and a restaurant/food writer for the New Yorker. She was also (the LoA headnote tells us) an early proponent of local cuisine.

In this essay, "local" means American regional. As she says (paraphrased), we get all het up about the extinction of the grizzly but not about that other American classic: South Carolina Hoppin' John. She also takes aim at food corporatization, or at least at one radio skit advertising a non-bake pie.

It's a lot of fun to read this short and vivid essay, since Hibben really doesn't pull any punches or sugar-coat her feelings that, as Americans, we need to celebrate our American food. What a tragedy it would be to lose dumplings, she says, since this country was founded on and fueled by them.

As for the final page, a recipe for codfish cooked over salt pork, I don't really know what to say.

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